The Importance of A Daily Health Journal

by Cliff Ravenscraft on October 26, 2009

in The Old Pursing A Balanced Life Podcast

I am so thankful that I made the decision to keep a daily journal of my health journey. Each week, when I weigh in, I'm able to look back at all the data that I have tracked to see what I had done the previous seven days to get whatever results that have shown up on the scale for the current week.

Each day, I track the number of steps that I walk. I do this by wearing a pedometer at all times. I track the number of “Net Calories” consumed each day. Basically, I've calculated that to lose two pounds a week, I need to keep my net calorie intake down to 1,326. I can eat more calories than this as long as I burn off any calories over this amount. This is why I also calculate the number of calories burned with (IPA) which stands for Intentional Physical Activity.

Here's what my journal looks like for this past week.

10/19 5,421 Steps Walked 1,251 Net Calories Consumed 400 IPA Calories Burned
10/20 10,006 Steps Walked 1,342 Net Calories Consumed 533 IPA Calories Burned
10/21 12,568 Steps Walked 1,370 Net Calories Consumed 549 IPA Calories Burned
10/22 12,679 Steps Walked 1,363 Net Calories Consumed 564 IPA Calories Burned
10/23 3,616 Steps Walked 1,406 Net Calories Consumed 000 IPA Calories Burned
10/24 4,325 Steps Walked 1,468 Net Calories Consumed 267 IPA Calories Burned
10/25 4.022 Steps Walked 2,826 Net Calories Consumed 084 IPA Calories Burned

Today is Monday! For those who have been following my progress, Mondays are my weigh in day. This morning, when I stepped on the scale, I was not shocked to learn that I had not lost any weight. In fact, while slightly disappointed, I was at least happy to not have gained any weight since last week.

This is why I find it so valuable to track this information every day. My goal is to have no less than 5 days of Intentional Physical Activity (Burning at least 400 calories) and this past week, I only accomplished that four out of the past seven days.

My calorie budget each day is 1,326 and, as you can see, I had gone over that budget six of those seven days. With that said, I was within 100 calories of that budget four days this week. However, if this were money in my checking account, I'd be bouncing checks all day long!

Then there was yesterday. I was doing AWESOME until we went to this Halloween Bash at church last night. I ended up losing all self control. I was already very hungry for dinner and I had several Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, A Kit Kat, and a few other things here and there. And did I track those calories? I hate to even admit it, but I did not! I simply had to guesstimate just how overboard I went. More than anything, this is what I regret most.

I felt so defeated. It reminded me of the days back when money was really tight, we already had significant debt but I had a strong desire for a new electronics gadget. It was not uncommon, back then, for me to go ahead and fulfill that urge by buying the gadget on credit, only to feel immediate buyer's remorse for doing so.

You see, through this process, I have come to understand that the intake and spending of calories works just like my finances. And well, if you look at the way that I spent my allotted calories this past week, you'll understand why Stephanie and I have made a vow to stay away from credit cards! It's very tempting to spend more than the resources we currently have.

A few years back, Stephanie and I had paid off all our credit card debt, and vowed to never again own credit cards for our personal finances. Since then, we only spend money that we currently have. We DO NOT write checks with the expectation that money will be deposited before the person to whom the check is written to will cash it. We understand the danger that is involved there and have learned discipline in this area of our lives.

However, as you can see, there are days where I am eating more calories that have been allotted to me for my budget. In fact, last night, I still needed some real food for dinner so that I wouldn't experience a major sugar crash.

The only shocking thing about today's results on the scale was that I didn't actually gain weight this week. Though, honestly, I think I did. Had I burned the 400 calories in IPA five days days this past week and didn't have such a lack of self control yesterday, I feel that I would have seen a two pound drop this week.

Again, I am so thankful to keep a daily food journal to point out where I make these mistakes. I am going to take what I learned here and move forward.

Do you keep a food journal? Do you find this blog post helpful? It is my desire to share my journey with you in hopes that you can learn as I am learning.

Please tell me what you're thinking in the comments section.

Previous post:

Next post: