The Advantages of a Journal

Just a quick post with a few ideas.  First, the advantages of a journal. Now I know there are journalers and there are non-journalers.  And both sides are pretty opinionated about their way of doing things.  But if you are on the fence about this, maybe sharing some of my experience with journaling might sway you one way or the other.

I can hardly believe I have written down practically everything I have put in my mouth for FIVE YEARS!  My first week at Weight Watchers I was one of those people who said, ‘no way am I writing down everything I eat.  No way am I looking up points values and keeping track of that.’  Ha!  Little did I know.  It was just something that worked for me.  I like numbers, and I like having a plan.  I also have a bad memory.  It is so easy to forget what you have eaten if you don’t write it down.  And since some of my big problems were identifying hunger, stopping when full, and just eating for the sheer joy of eating, keeping a journal came in very handy to keep those problems at bay.

Lately, I have noticed a different reason to value my food (and exercise) journal.  When I have had a particularly ‘bad’ week, like I thought last week was, I can look at the journal and realize that I actually stayed within my calorie alotment on 3 days, I still stayed under what would be my maintenance calories on 3 days, and there was only one day that was a complete blow-out.  The same thing has happened on weeks where I thought I had really ‘failed’ on the exercise front.  I REALLY can’t remember what exercise I have done earlier in the week.  So it is always very encouraging for me to add up my exercise minutes at the end of the week.

Another thing I’ve been meaning to mention is protein pancakes–made with yogurt!  Yes, it works just fine!  One day I didn’t have any cottage cheese, so I substituted 1/3 cup of yogurt.  The batter was a little thinner, but the pancakes tasted great.  I bet if you use greek yogurt, the batter would be almost the same as the cottage cheese batter.  Better protein, too.

I have had a great day today.  I can barely believe how much I enjoy the WHOLE DAY  when I have these 6 hour shifts.  Even though the driving takes a good part of the day (commute time is even longer during these drive times) I enjoy the morning before I leave, I enjoy being at work, and I particularly enjoy how much I can do after work and how very relaxed and happy I feel.  Today after I left work, I stopped at the gym for a brief workout before coming home, and I also picked up my 3 day’s worth of food from Vicky.  I hurried home, and got here just in time to get in a little walk/run with Noah, which he really needs when I’ve been gone all day.  I had fun looking at all the food I had gotten from Vicky, and wrote out my food plans for the next three days.  I don’t always stay exactly to the plan, but it definitely gives me a framework to stay within.  It takes away a lot of the angst over deciding what to eat or cook next.

I have been thinking about chili FOR DAYS!  (I have my Cooking Light magazine opened to their article on chili, Shelley!)  So when Vicky mentioned that she was packing some chili for me, you know what I had for dinner tonight.  It was SOOOOO GOOOOOD!  And it was a small bowl, and she had included just a little container of shredded cheese and onions to top it with.  But it was so very satisfying.  And to satisfy my need for volume, I cooked up a bunch of zucchini.  I routinely have a simple dinner like this, and it is very satisfying to me.  I ended the day with a peanut oat crispy cookie–another of Vicky’s creations!

The Noah report:  he is growing by leaps and bounds–44 pounds today at 13 weeks old.  Sorry I keep posting these night time head shots–I’ll get another whole body shot eventually.  And I did try to do a video, Jill.  I am a really bad cinematographer, come to find out!  Wow, right now he is laying next to me chewing on his legitimate toy.  Of course, that is after ‘bringing’ me both of my new tennis shoes and his slicker brush.  Oops, in the minute it took to type that sentence, he got up and found a leash I had left within reach.

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9 thoughts on “The Advantages of a Journal

  1. I journal too..I have notebook after notebook of what I ate, felt , exercised. I look back at weeks where I had weight loss success and compare to the weeks I don’t have weight loss success. make that months of no weight loss success. My body is in a constant state of plateau. I’m not always perfect, and when I don’t write things down it’s gone..poof. But without my journals I wouldn’t see my progress or the areas where I don’t progress, and that helps me figure out how to get out of a rut.

    Sounds like the food plan you are trying is working out for you. There are some meals on the plan that I eat that are just great and others–ehhh..But when it’s not tasting so great , it is a good lesson that it’s just fuel.

  2. Do you do a paper journal or an online journal? I really love the ease of an online journal, but I think a paper journal would be better for going back and looking at things. I have been keeping an online journal for the last month, but I think I might actually start doing both. I don’t think it would take that much extra time to just jot it down in a notebook after I have typed it all in. What sayeth you about this? ;)

    I don’t believe I’ve said it in a while, so… I love Noah!! He’s so fluffy! :)Keep working on that video!!

    • I do a paper journal. I try the online ones periodically, but they always take me too long. I know if I kept with it eventually they would be easier. Right now I have a very simple form that Vicky made where I write down the types of exercise and minutes spent, and then the calories for the day. The form only takes half the paper, so I write down my daily foods and calories above that. I keep it on the side of the frig with a magnet. I can send you a copy if you want, but it is very simple–7 days across the top, with spaces to write in exercise types down the side, and then daily calories. She also added columns for over/under goal, and junk food. And yes, I really like looking back at what I’ve eaten/done. You can’t do this online?

      Thanks for loving Noah. I can hardly wait to give him a bath–he will be whiter and fluffier then!

  3. I feel the same way about food logs – usually when I think I have blown it by overeating, I can see that it’s either not too bad or salvageable, which gets me back on track. Now, I have not been great about keeping up with them like you, but I am a believer!

    Love the Noah pic – he is getting to be such a big boy! Love what he brought you while you were typing – so random and such a puppy thing to do.

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