The Importance of Journaling

The Importance of Journaling

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

Our patients achieve a better understanding of their diet, exercise and weight loss goals when they journal.  Write it down…everything!  You wouldn’t leave your house and drive to Anchorage Alaska without a GPS or roadmap.  Know where you want to go and make a roadmap on how you will get there.

1.  To get started, write down your reasons for starting this journey.  Write a short note to yourself in your journal so that you can refer to it every morning as you begin the day.  Remind yourself why you started this journey.  When you feel like you’ve fallen off track, remind yourself where you started.  Log your weight once weekly and focus and your progress.  If you hit a plateau, remember a plateau is just a foundation to stand on to regroup and get started again.  If you gain, recalling where you started and your feelings about your weight may help motivate you to get started again.  Remember why you want to lose weight and improve your health and quality of life.

2.  Keep a daily food log.  It helps to utilize a nutritional reference such as Calorieking.com to help keep track of what we are eating.  It can be bother to write down what we are eating, but if we are slowing our eating habits, becoming more aware of what goes in our mouth, we can take a moment to jot a quick memo such as “chicken salad,” on a small spiral notepad so we can recall at the end of the day what we have eaten.  Remember, everything counts, even sugar-free gum (2-g carbs per serving!)

3.  Assess your goals:  Keep your goals realistic.  We hope to have our patients lose about 1 ½ – 2 pounds per week.  It is unlikely that someone may see a thirty pound weight loss in a month.

List the roadblocks you perceive may limit success:   i.e. physical limitations to exercise, too tired to exercise at the end of the day, too busy with the family, etc.  Then, after you identify your perceived limitations, list alternative solutions to the problem, such as using hand weights in lieu of walking on a treadmill if you cannot walk unassisted, or play Wii sports with the kids instead of watching television.

4.  Make a list of your favorite foods and ask for help incorporating those foods, or alternate choices into the program.  Ask for help in choosing the right foods.  Our nutrition staff is eager to help.

5.   Make a list of things that you hope will change after weight loss or things you hope to do that your weight limits. Then make a list of the people that you care about, those people who will benefit from a healthier, happier you (your spouse or significant other, children, grandchildren, or friends.)  List why you think attaining your goal will benefit you, as well as those you care about.

6.  Be aware, be accountable.  If you identify a problem you have encountered in your diet or exercise program, write down what could have been done differently and make notes on how to improve tomorrow.  If, after dinner, you eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, make note and think about it, were you physiologically hungry or were you bored, lonely, or anxious.  Be mindful of what happened and brainstorm ideas to prevent a reoccurrence, such as “I will not buy “Phish Food” anymore.”  “If I don’t have ice cream in the freezer, it’s unlikely I am going to drive to the grocery store at night to get some.”  Remember most of our stumbles begin in the grocery store.  If the temptation is not readily available, it is less likely we will go out of our way to get it and traveling to the store gives us a chance to reconsider what we are doing.

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