Every popular diet, from WeightWatchers to Keto, includes tracking your food intake and exercise. Fitness and health experts also support the benefits of tracking. But it can seem like a lot of work, so you may wonder, “is it worthwhile?” This article looks at why tracking your food and exercise helps you lose weight, and how to do it with ease.
How Logging Food and Exercise Helps You Lose Weight
Get a Starting Point.
You want to start logging your eating and physical activity before you even start your new diet and fitness regime. You’ll see what your typical routines and patterns are when you first start out.
Many of us believe we have a general idea of how many calories we take in and how many minutes we work out. But research has shown that people underestimate their calories and overestimate their activity. Logging helps you be realistic about your food and exercise.
Reinforce Good Habits.
It’s a reminder of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Simply check how much you have eaten that day and use that information to help you decide if you should have that bowl of ice cream or glass of wine.
That’s why it’s so important to be honest and log every bite of food–yes, even the littlest ones! Lick some cake batter off the spoon? Log in! Ate a free sample at the grocery store? Log it! Mindless eating is one of the biggest sources of hidden calorie intake. Keeping a record of everything you eat helps you stay in a mindful state about what you are putting into your body.
Understand How Feelings Affect You.
It’s helpful to make notes on how you feel each day. Have you been craving sugar? Did you enjoy or dread your workout? How good or bad you are feeling overall? This will help you find out if certain foods or exercises make you feel better or worse afterward. Then you can adjust accordingly.
Logging provides a concrete record of your progress. Looking back over your fitness and weight loss journey will give you powerful motivation to keep going, especially on days when you feel like slacking off.
Once you have a few weeks of data, your log becomes even more useful. You will be able to see what’s working for you and what isn’t, and tweak your program as needed.
How to Log Food and Exercise for Weight Loss
A Blank Notebook. It’s inexpensive, but can be intimidating, if you’re not sure how to organize it and what information to record.
Nutrition & Fitness Journals. Buy a journal that is specifically designed for tracking your diet and fitness. This allows you to fill in the blanks instead of organizing everything from scratch. They can also include helpful references like conversions, calorie counters, and charts.
Phone Apps. A notebook may be cumbersome to carry around. You also may not want everyone to know about your die. Consider a tracking phone application. Many apps are free, and most paid apps have a free trial so you can make sure it works for you before setting up a regular subscription. Popular apps like MyPlate or MyFitnessPal include automatic calorie calculations, which save you time and avoid miscalculations.
Wearable Tracking Device. Fitbits and other wearable fitness trackers can help you capture and track your exercise data. They often link to phone apps that record your steps or calories burned is automatic.
If you’re working to lose weight or get into better shape, logging your food and exercise will help a lot. Find a system that works for you and spend a week entering information without worrying too much about what it shows. Once you have real data, you can use it to make more informed choices to speed up your process of losing weight and getting healthy.
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