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food journaling

How To Use Food Journaling To Smash Your Weight Loss Goals

Trainer-Tested Things You Should Track 

Last year I started food journaling (following an injury that restricted me from training as hard as I normally do). I had gained some weight and it was a real eye-opener as to how much I was actually eating!

Sneaky things like having a tablespoon of peanut butter on each piece of toast, instead of spreading a teaspoon of peanut butter on both. This mindless ‘want’ was costing me an extra 350 calories per week, and 3500 extra calories (that you don’t burn off) results in 1 lb of weight gain. Just this alone would have been made me gain 2 lbs over summer. That was just one sneaky thing that I discovered about my diet when I tracked it seriously!

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In this post I will share the things I did to get the weight off both myself, and that I also recommend to my weight loss clients. The key thing is to get tough with yourself. Write down everything in detail using the labels on the food, and measuring the food (instead of estimating the portions). It’s actually pretty exciting when you realize that it’s your choices that are causing weight gain, not anything else. Identifying the problem is the first step in identifying the solution. From there you can make a plan that will see you smashing your weight loss goals in no time! 

food journaling

Get into the habit of writing everything down

Education is an important part of your personal development towards becoming an empowered, knowledgeable eater. Buy a step counter (the FIT-BITS are good) and set yourself a daily step goal of 10,000. Use a calorie-tracking app (such as mynetdiary.com, fitday.com or the many other available) to learn more about nutrition science and the energy value that you are putting into your body.

Tracking the time that you ate it is important. Tracking times of consumption is a valuable way to increase personal awareness and make necessary changes.

Related: How To Exercise When You’re 100+ Pounds Overweight

food journaling

Smart watches can be really helpful

Activity And Sleep Tracking

Keep track of when you went to bed and when you woke up. Sleep plays an important role in your hunger. You’ll find that lack of sleep usually results in a couple of hundred more calories being eaten the next day. When you can see the direct relation and how it affects your food choices, you may feel more motivated to prioritize bedtime.

Exercise tracking is a really important factor. Not only what you did, but also the intensity that you did it at. Be sure that you don’t use working out as an excuse to eat more – workout to create a deficit in your calorie balance, not to justify extra treats!

food journaling

Use your computer, phone apps and old-school writing to plan and track your success

Daily and Weekly Goals

Set daily goals that you want to achieve, and break them down into smaller chunks that are achievable. For example, perhaps today your priority is to drink 3 liters of water. Break this down into drinking 3 cups before lunch. You will feel awesome when you will start to achieve small goals – as it will lead to bigger goals!

Every Sunday, look back on your week. Was it a good one? Did you make choices that you should be proud of?

If so, treat yourself well with small rewards – perhaps hiring a baby-sitter for the afternoon so that you can enjoy a long walk in the forest. Rewards play a vital role in positive reinforcement and they are best done when you help yourself!

Become aware of your day-to-day patterns and try to observe ways that you can improve, or repeat your good patterns the next week.

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Cat Smiley

Cat Smiley

Fitness Director at Whistler Fitness Vacations
Cat Smiley is a certified Life Coach, Master Trainer, Wilderness Guide and Sports Nutritionist (author of The Planet Friendly Diet). She has been named 3-time Canadian Trainer of the Year by the International Sports Science Association and is a former professional athlete. Follow her on Linkedin or Facebook - and of course, sign up for a fitness program with us to work with her in Whistler!
Cat Smiley
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