Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club
In the last three installments we have covered some tried and true Weight Management concepts from “Beyond Diets”. This week is perhaps the most important action point you can take to insure success. If you haven’t read the last three installments please go back and do so.
Would you choose to invest in a company that didn’t bother with the necessary bookkeeping to keep track of their sales, expenditures, and other related business data necessary create and maintain a thriving venture? Not likely! Similarly “self-monitoring” the key behaviors necessary for weight loss has long been shown to correlate with successful weight loss (and maintenance).
Weight loss (or more precisely, transitioning to the healthy lifestyle that results in weight loss) is a substantial and challenging project to manage. “Self-monitoring” or “record keeping” is the tracking of your diet and physical activity so you can use that information to problem-solve and manage your project effectively.
Tracking your behaviors this way focuses you on what you are doing in relation to your behavioral goals and objectives. It also forms a foundation for problem-solving the barriers that seem to block better eating and activity habits.
Key Point: The scale dropping is not a behavioral goal… behaviors are things that YOU DO. The scale dropping is the result of consistently engaging in the behaviors that create the desired outcome “weight loss.”
The main pattern you are typically up against is one of “avoidance.” Avoidance of looking at how to shift from a current pattern of behavior toward a new healthier pattern of behavior. What you are looking for is incremental improvement that you then continue to build on— not getting from A to Z (behavior-change wise) overnight!
Putting off healthy choices in eating and activity— the “I’ll start my diet tomorrow,” or, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow” pattern- is the hallmark of “avoidance.”
By choosing to monitor your behaviors through record keeping, you put in place the key behavioral foundation for success in weight management.
10 Reasons Why Record Keeping is Invaluable in Weight Management
- Success requires self-management. Record keeping is the basis of this.
- It keeps the focus on relevant behaviors, which translates to more success with those behaviors.
- You learn calorie and portion information.
- You learn the consequences (caloric cost) of various food choices and environments.
- You learn where you consistently have trouble (difficult/impossible places to be and not overeat).
- You learn to balance overeating and under-eating days.
- You learn there are no good/bad foods — it’s all a calorie game, and it makes no difference where the calories come from (as far as weight is concerned, health in another issue altogether, that I will be discussing a lot).
- You learn to make better choices instead of continuing what clearly doesn’t work.
- Records provide objective reality-based information from which to evaluate your actions.
- Records show you whether your actions are aligned with your goals thereby providing an opportunity for positive reinforcement of the healthy behaviors that create the outcome you’re looking for (weight loss!).
Record Keeping: You might be surprised to learn that people without a history of dieting underestimate their food intake by about 20%, while dieters underestimate it by 40 to 50%, or more. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that research shows that people who keep food and activity records are more successful at changing eating patterns, maintaining exercise habits, and successfully managing their weight.
Next week in our final installment we will delve further into the mechanics of record keeping. We will show you how to accurately track calories and energy expenditure to insure your weight loss goals are met. Its simple physics folks. You do your part and physics does the rest.