People come to be all the time for me to help them reach their health, fitness and/or nutrition goals because...well thats what I do. Normally the conversation starts with them telling me all the things they feel like they are doing right and I hear "but I am still not feeling and changes." This tells me one or two things, they don't really know what they are doing or they have unrealistic expectations about what result should be expected from a certain action. So I give them homework so they (and I) can really know where they are starting.. For 7 days (yes a full 7 days, not 3…this will include week days and weekend days so that you can truly see what your habits are like) you must write EVERYTHING in a journal. If you like, or already have, a food or fitness journal you can use it. If not a small notebook works great. You need to make sure that whatever you pick to write in is something that you can have with you at all times. DO NOT assume that you will remember to write it down later. When I say write down everything here is what I mean:
-Intake. Include the quantity and time you put it in your mouth. Make sure you write down food, beverages, treats, gum medicine and supplements (protein powders, vitamins etc.).
-Exercise. Write down what time you workout out, what you did, how long it was and how you felt before and after. Also rate your effort level from 1-10. A 1 means you didn’t work very hard and a 10 would be if you absolutely couldn’t have worked any harder.
- Sleep. Write what time you got into bed. Did you fall asleep right away? Did you wake up throughout the night? What time did you wake up? What time did you get out of bed? Did you feel rested when you got up? Its best to do this first thing in the morning as soon as you get up.
- Mood. This includes how you felt throughout the day from your mood to your energy level. Were you happy, sad, angry, motivated, energized, tired, thankful, stressed, organized, flustered etc.
- Anything else that you can think of or notice. Were there times when you were starving? Did you eat at times you weren’t hungry but just wanted to eat? Are there habits you have that you know you would like to change? Are there habits you have that are good and you want to keep? Is there a certain time of the day or week where to tend to make unhealthy decisions? Are you in charge of your food choices or do the people around you (family members, friends, coworkers) guide your decisions.
The more you write the better! If you feel like you are writing too much and this is a pain in the butt then you are probably doing the journaling correctly. You will not do this on a regular basis but it is essential for you to know exactly what you are doing so you can make the best changes (those that are small but make a big impact) first.
If you are willing to invest the time it takes to do this process I will help you! Comment or email when you have gone through this process!