Even Successful Weight Loss Programs Usually Forget This

Call it what you want; trimming the fat, slimming down, dieting, taking off some pounds...whatever. One thing that all successful weight loss programs need to include is a journal. Unfortunately most of them gloss right over this step. If you can't easily find out where you are going wrong (or right) changing your habits is going to be very hard.

Each body gets it's extra weight from different sources. Before you can find the most successful weight loss programs to take it off, you have to know (from your journal) where it came from. Anything you can't find a way to measure, can't be improved.

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Weight loss is a one-step-at-a-time process. To get healthy results that are fast and long lasting, we need to go back to the basics. In other words, we need to find out what we are doing wrong before we can change.

Keeping a daily food journal is the first and smartest step to take. Your food journal is just what the name says, it's a record of your daily eating habits. It can be truly complex with tons of details or it can be clean and basic. Either method will work to help you stick to any successful weight loss programs you attempt.

Your food journal could record a wide variety of useful data. Most basic, just write down everything you eat every day. This quick and easy step will give you unexpected data - guaranteed. You'll soon start to see patterns in the way you eat. You'll discover - never before noticed - bad eating habits that you hadn't even considered.

It's our habits and daily patterns that make us succeed (or fail) in any aspect of our lives. We habitually do things without even noticing. Your good as well as your bad habits and patterns will quickly emerge once you begin writing everything down in your food journal. After your habits have been exposed, it's a simple matter to find the successful weight loss programs to counteract them.

Many food journals include portion sizes, protein, fiber, fat, calories and other nutrients. It IS a lot of work but it's valuable information and definitely worth the time and extra effort. It won't be long before humongous mistakes start to appear. What, why, when and how much you eat will start to take on a whole new meaning.

If you want to make it more of a diary type format, you could include your inner feelings about your weight loss efforts. How your program is affecting you on a daily basis. What triggers make you have cravings or make you want to eat for reasons other than hunger. The bottom line is, there are many formats you could follow, but keep in mind, the journal is yours and only for you. You can record anything YOU find useful.

No one else would have any reason to want to read your food journal - so it's not like a traditional diary kept under lock and key and hidden away. After all, it isn't exactly tabloid fodder to read a list of everything you ate in a day. (Unless you're famous, then you should hide your journal.)

Save your money, you don't have to go out and buy some fancy leather bound journal. Use whatever tools work best for you when creating your food journal. A pad of paper and a pen work just fine. You could make an Excel type spreadsheet on your computer - or any other type of word processing program. Keep the icon on your desktop for easy access and so you don't forget where it is in your computer.

Your food journal could be kept in a laptop, palm pilot, voice recorder or even a simple little notebook you slip into your purse or pocket. Whatever your lifestyle demands. The point is to DO IT and keep it up daily.

Keeping up with your journaling (and reviewing it every week) is the key to keeping track of your progress and finding the reasons for when you get off track. As a weight loss tool, your journal is far more valuable than your scale could ever be.

Hitting certain weight loss goals and plateaus deserves a reward. (No, not an ice cream bar.) Buy some of those little gold star stickers - the ones that first graders are so fond of. Award yourself one whenever you reach a goal. Seems dumb, but looking through your journal and seeing all those stickers can become pretty important to you. You deserve a big "ATTABOY" or "ATTAGIRL" and your journal will prove it! Set some sort of goal that can be attained every day. Soon your journal will be filled with - highly motivating - gold stars. Try it, it works.

Whenever you have a setback (and we all do) you can find out what went wrong by looking through your journal! Don't beat yourself up over it, just fix the problem and move on to your next gold star.

Take your journal with you when you go to the doctor. They can offer advice and double check to be sure that you are staying with a healthy and safe program. BTW - Never start an exercise or weight loss program without getting checked by a doctor.

True, it takes some effort, but for most people who keep one, a food journal works wonders. It is truly a major shortcut to losing weight. Start yours today.

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