How to Log Your Workouts and Food Intake

Nutrition FactsAfter you’ve chosen a method to log your workouts and food intake, it’s time to get started tracking your progress.

Keeping records is a vital part of being accountable to yourself and staying on track. You’ll see your progress every day, week, and month, so you can celebrate your accomplishments. If your program needs changes, or if you’re having trouble in a particular area, your log will alert you right away. The following tips will help you easily track your journey to a healthier you.

Have a realistic goal, and write it down.

Before you begin your program, set your goals in writing. One way to set effective goals is to use the acronym SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time framed. What is realistic and attainable for you? Maybe returning to your weight at age 16 isn’t realistic, but returning to your weight at age 25 is. If you’re just starting a health program and have been inactive for a while, a triathlon may not happen this year—but would be a realistic goal for next year.

When you’ve decided on a goal, log it on your tracking tool. The simple act of writing it down sets it in your mind.

Plan your meals and workouts, and log them.

Setting and keeping a workout schedule and meal plan help you stay on track. The rigidity of the schedule is up to you. You may wish to be very specific and write out a menu and exercise plan every week, or you may simply block out exercise time and decide that day which activity to do. You may want to experiment to see what works well for you.

When you log your workouts, be as specific as you can. Note which machines you used at the gym and for how long, how many reps you did at which weight, or how many miles you walked.

Record not just actions, but also feelings.

When you’re trying to exercise and eat right, your feelings play a major role in your motivation to stick to your program. If you stray from your plan, it’s often because of negative emotions. If you can track those feelings, you can identify when they are likely to occur and plan accordingly.

Use logs to motivate, not discourage.

It’s common to feel discouraged if the scale doesn’t budge or you don’t see any progress. Don’t let it discourage you. It’s common to hit the occasional plateau, which is your body’s way of getting ready to move to the next level of weight loss or to that next exercise goal. Keep going and recording everything, and you’ll hit that next target before you know it. Take pleasure in other numbers, such as your dress size and your blood pressure.

Remember that each day is just that: one day.

You may not hit all your goals each day, and that’s OK. Life happens. The key is to keep a one-day slip limited to that day, and get back on track the next day.

Food intake and workout logs help you to see and understand your behavior, and remind you of your commitment to health. Daily tracking is essential for staying true to yourself and your healthy plan. When you have a system in place for tracking, your results are greatly improved.

How has your healthy progress improved by using tracking tools?