Want to know the real secret to weight loss? Sure, eating fruits and veggies helps, and you'll probably want to avoid everyday temptations of soda and chocolate candy bars, but the number one way to see results is to log your food and exercise.
Even if you aren't making the smartest choices when you start, simply writing down your meals and workouts or logging calories and steps in your smart phone will help you lose weight! Check out the benefits of tracking, learn tips for success, then get started with our printable template or your favorite method.
1. You’ll get a visual of your current habits. When you first try logging your food and exercise, you’ll get a better idea (one you can’t avoid) of the habits that brought you to this point. Don’t be discouraged by this; it’s a necessary motivator!
2. It provides accountability. Once you get the hang of it, tracking your food and fitness holds you accountable for continuing your smart lifestyle so as not to fall back into old habits. The key to maintaining your health and weight loss is to log every single bite without fail.
3. You’ll lose weight just by writing it down! You may notice that when you begin tracking, you lose a pound or two without making any changes to your diet. Simply writing down everything you put into your body will help you become more aware and you’ll make changes to your portion sizes or skip that midday Milky Way® without restricting yourself from it. A 2008 study found that keeping a food diary may double your weight loss!
4. Tracking provides instant “results.” Dieting can be discouraging as you look in the mirror and see the same you that stared back at you the day before. Logging your healthy choices and routine will provide that gratification that you’re accomplishing something great, even when your body hasn’t transformed yet.
5. Others can join the fun! If you’re motivated most by friends or by some competition, tracking your food and fitness with an app may help you see results fast. Find a social app that connects your progress with your peers and you’ll be less likely to drop your new healthy habits.
>> Read more: The Best Apps to Help You Lose Weight
6. You can follow your own rules. When you go at it alone, your intentions often fall as you try some crazy fad diets that only allow for grilled chicken and broccoli. With the simple practice of food and fitness tracking, you aren’t limiting yourself from your favorite indulgences or making anything “off limits.” This is an important key to success.
So how do you find success in using tracking for weight loss? Find your best method — whether that’s writing down your food on paper or using a calorie counting app on your phone — and stick with it. Don’t skip logging a single bite or activity so you can get accurate, real-time information about your habits and daily intake. Set daily or weekly goals for yourself and strive each day to work toward them. And finally, find balance between food and exercise to lead an all-around healthy lifestyle rather than relying on only one.
Ready to get started? Get your printable download and start tracking!