A successful fat loss, fitness and health strategy or program starts with what you shove in your mouth and how well and to what extent you move around. That’s about as simple, straightforward and meaningful a statement that you will hear on the topic of fat loss.
For some, this is all the knowledge they need to run with and forge their ideal bodies to proudly strut down the beach and turn heads. The reality is that most of us need a little more help to get us to our fat loss and fitness goals in a safe and sustainable manner.
That additional help you need may be as simple as keeping a food activity journal.
A Nifty Tool To Wage War On Unsightly Fat
Recording what you consume in a daily food journal or food diary is not a new or revolutionary tactic used in the war against unwanted excess fat. The only reason I am devoting time to writing about keeping a food activity journal is that quite simply it works for a lot of people when they decide to take action and exert control over their health and fitness.
Studies have shown that keeping a food journal does indeed help a lot of people drop more fat than those who don’t use one. I have witnessed and monitored this process with people and it does indeed work when diligent, honest effort is put forth.
Nutrition And Activity
When I refer to the term food journal, I am also a big believer in being aware of your activity levels on a daily basis. That’s why it is referred to in this article as a Food And Activity Journal.
For greater success in your fat loss efforts, your nutrition and movement activities need to be put into perspective like the two sides of a coin or the Yin to the other’s Yang. They are both very important to your fat loss and fitness success and attention should be paid to these two factors for optimal results.
The use of a fitness activity journal allows you to focus on the two main determining factors related to your fat loss success- your food choices /consumption and your activity levels.
Is A Food Journal Necessary For Everyone?
Not at all.
I don’t believe in absolutes and extremes which is why I say that this can work with a lot of people, not all people.
There are some people who can just wake up one day and decide they are unhappy with the excess fat they are carrying around along with how bad they move and feel. They finally get fed up with what stares back at them in the mirror every day and decide right then and there to take action and get fit and healthy.
They clean up their eating habits and adopt an exercise program all through sheer force of will and thoughtful research without a written plan or turning themselves over to a fitness professional. These people then create a sustainable program that they follow consistently and tweak over time when necessary to enjoy great fitness results and keep the fat at bay indefinitely.
Those are the types of people who don’t have to worry about keeping a food journal.
However, I will also point out that I can count on one hand how many people I have come across in my lifetime who are actually capable of self motivating themselves to this epic level.
Most of us don’t have the fanatical energy and drive to accomplish this feat through sheer force of will since we all seem to have these things called lives and jobs where circumstances, events and the people around us demand more and more of our attention and energies. Fitness and health usually get the short end of the stick in terms of where we devote our available energies and time so we need all the help we can get to stay on track with our fat loss and fitness goals.
A food activity journal can be a great tool to keep you focused and cut through the distractions that may be keeping you from realizing your health and fitness goals and improving the quality of your life.
What A Food Activity Journal Can Do For You:
A Food Activity Journal is a true visual tool that will show you what and how much junk food you are consuming. These are the calorie dense, nutrient deficient foods that will always throw a wrench into your fat loss, health and fitness progress efforts when you let too much of these empty calories creep into your eating plan
Will give you positive feedback concerning the beneficial food choices and activities you are engaging in and give you something to build upon on the road to success.
let’s you know where nutritional imbalances may be present in your eating habits
Keeps you accountable and holds you responsible for what you shove in your mouth
Allows you to monitor your eating and movement activities at a glance to maintain balance, focus and stay motivated
The food activity journal will shine a light on any deviations to your fat loss and fitness goals and enable you to get back on track. This alone is a truly supreme benefit of this tool that arms you with the information to regain control that will help re-focus your efforts and make the necessary changes to ensure continued success.
It can point out any digestive intolerances you may have by jotting down how you feel after eating certain foods. A food activity journal can reveal these issues and give you an idea of what causes you problems and what you may need to avoid consuming. Having this information will better prepare you to discuss these issues with your doctor or medical professional.
A Food Activity Journal keeps you rooted in reality regarding what you are eating and how much you are moving around.
Very often when people start using a food activity journal the illusion of what you think you are eating and how much activity you think you are performing is revealed to be different from what you are actually doing. This is the solid type of data that you need at your fingertips to keep you progressing toward defeating that nasty fat for the long haul.
Who Won’t A Food Activity Journal Work For?
A food activity journal just won’t work for everyone, unfortunately. Why?
Because a food activity journal is merely a tool to aid you in your fat loss and fitness efforts. Any tool, even a perfect tool, is only as good as how it is used and applied to a situation.
The Food Activity Journal Won’t Work For People Who:
1. Put forth a “half-ass” effort in its undertaking and completion
2. Under or over exaggerate the entries and essentially “lie” to themselves
3. Are not consistent
4. Ignore the valuable feedback derived from the journal and neglect to make the necessary
corrections to keep them on a path of success.
Listen, we are all far from perfect in our endeavors and will hit bumps in the road on our fat loss and fitness journey, but we do need to exercise some degree of self discipline in order to realize success with this or any strategy you pursue.
Food Activity Journal Sample
Here is a Sample Food Activity Journal for you to use in your efforts to defeat fat and take control of your health and fitness.
Feel free to make copies and put it to immediate use! This is the format I use to keep on the right track in terms of my fitness and health.
How To Fill Out Your Food Activity Journal
Fill out the date and circle the day
Record what you eat and at what times of the day. Jot down any digestive issues and how you feel after eating a food that doesn’t agree with you.
Check off how much water you drink in terms of 8oz approximate servings.
List any supplements or vitamins you take. I am not a big advocate of taking most of these and prefer to get my nutrients from real, whole foods, but I realize some people swear by their consumption of these items which is why it is included.
Record how much sleep you got
Finally, record your daily activity.
Don’t worry if you don’t do the same activities as I do. There is no “best” way to stay active.
I have achieved success using Sandbags, Kettlebells, Joint Mobility Exercises, Body Weight Exercises and even Common Logs for a Robust Workout. Not only because they work, but I enjoy training with these tools as I can get great fitness results with them and I can create meaningful, short and intense workouts that can be performed anywhere without a big time commitment.
But feel free to explore my site for some ideas. I would recommend doing some form of resistance training 2-3 times per week and try to do some walking and joint mobility exercises daily.
Even if you don’t use the sample food activity journal provided, make sure you use one that at a minimum covers these categories. The bottom line is just take action and use a journal format you like and are most likely to use.
So How Should You Be Eating And Moving?
To really put yourself in a position of success, keep it uncomplicated and follow these basics:
Cut back and wean yourself off of sodas, sugary drinks, juices and foods, candies, breads and pastas
Go easy on the booze and caffeine
Most foods that come out of a box are probably not beneficial to your fat loss efforts
When in doubt, follow a great universal rule of thumb that fitness pioneer and legend Jack LaLanne always said that is so perfectly simple:
“If man made it – don’t eat it!”
Just getting out and walking or hiking some local park trails is a great ally to your fat loss efforts. Don’t underestimate how beneficial this simple movement is when you include this into your daily routine.
For resistance exercises, try to stay connected to these essential foundational movements for great success not only for your fat loss efforts, but for a radical improvement in your quality of strength, movement and life.
Write It Down And Kick That Nasty Fat To The Curb
Most people are very surprised at what their food activity journal reveals after only one week of committing to paper whatever goes in their mouth and how much activity they are doing.
A funny thing happens when you thoughtfully chronicle what you actually eat and your fitness activities – your commitment to your fat loss strengthens, your self responsibility increases and you finally take control of your fitness and health. I will argue that there are few greater feelings or accomplishments on earth than this!
So use a fitness activity journal diligently, consistently and honestly and you will enjoy a tighter, leaner and stronger body and like what stares back at you in the mirror!
Never rush to failure with your training, but strive to plan for sustainable and productive fitness success.
Mark Mellohusky – Mellow-Husky (mellow as in laid back and husky like the dog)
I Eat T-Bone Steaks, Lift Kettlebell Weights and Know What I Eat!
Seven Stars Fitness