Cold-turkey doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for Thanksgiving, and it doesn’t work for getting through all of those habits that are everything but health-conscious. Instead, I’m making a concerted effort to transition into a healthy mode of living through the slow but steady introduction of good habits. Each week, I’ll be “featuring” and writing about each new habit that I take on.
So…ready for this week’s? Here we go.
Healthy Habit #1: Daily Food Journal
Despite my writer’s calling, I have yet to successfully maintain a daily journal. I won’t get into the details of my excuses here, as we all have them, but the main point is that I am consistently hearing about the benefits. Magazines, trainers, and all the fitness programs I’ve ever seen on those late night infomercials while finishing my pint of Ben & Jerry’s proclaim the invaluable worth of keeping a daily journal of your progress.
WebMD features an article written by Miranda Hitti wherein she describes a 2008 study featured in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A group of more than 1,500 obese or overweight participants were encouraged to keep food diaries, which they shared at weekly meetings, as they pursued healthier eating and exercising habits. Hitti quotes Victor Stevens, PhD, a senior investigator involved in the study, when she writes that after six months, “the most powerful predictor of [the participants’] weight loss was how many days per week they kept their food diary.” She continues to acknowledge that upon evaluation of the results of the study, it was found that “those who kept food records six days a week… lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less.” Accountability is one of the major aspects here that Dr. Stevens stresses as crucial to the success. Go figure.
There’s something to that, then, right? So I’ll try it this time.
So I make my vow right here, right now, in the name of Chiquita Banana, to keep a daily food journal. I shall at the very least jot down a list of whatever “nourishment” – healthy or otherwise – that I consume. I vow that, come sickness or health, I will record all of this…and perhaps even my workout for the day, if I feel so inclined. And if I break this vow, then chocolate becomes strictly contraband for a week.
So here’s my journal: small, portable, and semi-decorated (complete with cheesy name), because I’m a craft nerd like that. Hey, if you’re going to carry something around with you all over the place, it might as well look a little spiffy, right?
If anyone is reading this and has any insights or experiences with keeping food or fitness journals, I’d love to hear from you. How has it helped you?