When it comes to losing weight, many people struggle to stay motivated. It’s challenging to keep up with a workout plan or eat healthy when you’re busy working or raising a family. As sometimes happens, life gets in the way and your best efforts to lose weight and improve your health fall by the wayside. That’s where a weight loss journal can help. A weight loss journal is a notebook where you record everything you eat and the exercise you do so you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t along your weight loss journey. Let’s look at five compelling reasons you should keep one.
A Weight Loss Journal Is a Visualization Tool
Along with helping you stay accountable, keeping a weight loss journal can be an effective tool for visualizing your progress. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal when it comes to motivation and achieving goals.
There are two types of visualization: positive visualization and negative visualization. Let’s look at how they differ.
Positive visualization involves envisioning yourself as having already achieved the goal or outcome you want (and what that would feel like). For example: If you were 20 pounds lighter than you are today and just finished exercising for 30 minutes, how would your body feel? How would you feel mentally? Positive visualization helps you see what you want as already true (or nearly so) to boost motivation and excitement about achieving your goals.
Negative visualization is imagining failure at achieving your goal or outcome. The goal is to cultivate motivation around avoiding failure. For example: What might happen if you failed to lose weight? How would you feel? What are the downsides to such failure?
Visualization is important because it allows you to see goals as already being true and helps create motivation to achieve them. Additionally, visualization can help you avoid failure by imagining what might happen if you don’t succeed.
A Weight loss journal Helps You See What Works and What Doesn’t
By keeping a record of the foods you eat, it will be easier to see what works for your body and what doesn’t. If you notice that drinking water boost your mood and discourages you from snacking, then drink more water! If eating a snack between meals helps keep your blood sugar levels down and stops cravings, then have a healthy snack mid-morning.
When you write down observations like this, you become more aware. Seeing the positive effects of your actions on paper boosts your motivation. Plus, you gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. That kind of insight is essential for weight loss and weight control.
It’s also useful to analyze the trends that emerge from this data collection. For example: Do certain foods make you hungrier than others? Do particular snacks positively or negatively alter your mood? Do certain exercises make it harder for you to stick with your diet?
Writing in a Weight loss journal Can Help You Relieve Stress
Losing weight can be stressful, especially if you follow every tick on the scale. (Don’t do that!) When you write down the feelings that pop up while you’re losing weight, you get them out in the open where they have less of a hold over you. Plus, you’ll learn more about yourself. In addition, writing in a weight loss journal will help reduce stress eating, a contributor to weight gain.
It Helps You Celebrate Small Weight Loss Successes
A weight loss journal helps track of little successes along the way. You need reminders that will help you stay focused and motivated! A weight loss journal is a visual reminder of how far you have come in your journey towards losing weight (or maintaining it). Seeing all those positive numbers will help you stay motivated and keep making smart, healthy choices. It also gives a sense of accomplishment at reaching certain milestones along the way–like fitting into smaller pants sizes or hitting benchmarks like doing a set of deep squats for the first time.
A Weight loss journal Will Make You More Mindful
When you’re mindful of your eating habits, you’ll be more likely to make better decisions. You’ll notice when you’re hungry and full, and you’ll learn to stop eating before you feel full.
Weight loss journals improve mindfulness and awareness. “Mindful eating” means eating without distractions–without reading, watching Netflix, or working on your phone while eating. When you eat mindfully, you’re more aware of what you’re eating and how it affects your body and emotions. Journaling about food can also help raise your mindfulness level when it comes to food choices (and other things in life).
A weight loss journal can help you plan better too. Writing down all your meals and snacks will help you see where there are gaps in your diet, like skipping breakfast or going too long between meals. It also keeps track of the calories you consume, so you know if you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health. The result is greater awareness, so you lose weight in a healthy, sustainable manner.
Keeping a weight loss journal can be a helpful tool in your weight loss journey. It’s a straightforward way to keep track of all the important milestones, whether they’re big or small. And you can also use it as an outlet for frustrations, anger, sadness–whatever emotions come up as you go through this process, You’ll also find that being able to see what works and what doesn’t makes it easier to stay motivated along the way.
- Paixão C, Dias CM, Jorge R, Carraça EV, Yannakoulia M, de Zwaan M, Soini S, Hill JO, Teixeira PJ, Santos I. Successful weight loss maintenance: A systematic review of weight control registries. Obes Rev. 2020 May;21(5):e13003. doi: 10.1111/obr.13003. Epub 2020 Feb 12. PMID: 32048787; PMCID: PMC9105823.”The Psychology of Weight Loss | Psychology Today.” 28 Jun. 2019,
- “The Expert Guide to Keeping a Food Journal for Effective Weight Loss.” 06 Nov. 2019, https://www.eatthis.com/food-journal-guide/.
- “Why keep a food diary? – Harvard Health.” 31 Jan. 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-keep-a-food-diary-2019013115855.
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