It’s a Numbers Game

February 7, 2008 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

To lose weight for good, keep track of the numbers: the number on the scale, the number of calories you’re eating, the number of reps you do while strength training. Every single day, I write all those numbers – and more – down in my journal.

Many of us eat without being truly conscious of it; keeping a food diary is the only way to get a true idea of your food intake.

Be specific in your diet-and-exercise journal, and write it ALL down, including beverages. Don’t leave anything out, even if you’re not 100% sure what the stats are. Having a “rough” mental idea where you’re at doesn’t cut it. It’s too easy to forget those little nibbles you have during the day in between meals or to disregard the margarita you had with the girls at Happy Hour. Vagueness doesn’t work in finances, and it sure doesn’t work in weight loss.

Now, naturally, you’re not going to be able to record everything exactly. Restaurant dinners or party treats will require some estimation. That’s okay. Do you research so you have a basic idea of the portion size and calories. Then write down your guess. It’s more important to write it down, to be mindful of it, than it is to make yourself crazy trying to pinpoint the exact calories.

If possible, note the time of day when you ate and/or exercised, how hungry you were, how you felt while on the treadmill. That way, you’ll get a sense of factors that could be influencing what and how much you eat or exercise.

  • Do you eat more when you’re watching television?
  • Are you more inclined to nibble when you’re having drinks with friends?
  • Are your workouts more vigorous in the morning?

I prefer to write items down as they happen, rather than waiting until the end of the day. My days are so busy that it’s easy for me to forget something if I don’t jot it down at the moment.

Even if you don’t go especially in-depth with your journal, the mere act of writing the numbers down is beneficial. Numbers make you aware and accountable. When your jeans are suddenly tight, you can’t kid yourself about the weight you’ve gained. You know exactly what you weigh ‘cause the number’s there on the page. You can’t conveniently “forget” those three cookies you ate after the meeting at work. They’re in black and white in your journal. You’ve now got a firm grasp on what you’re actually doing. That, in and of itself, may stop you from grabbing a fourth cookie. Personally, if I can avoid a cookie or some other culinary pitfall, that’s reason enough for me to play the Numbers Game!


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