The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

Journal Exercises, Toolbox, Eating, Exercising, Gurus, Rewards

Monday, February 17, 2003  

Look Back, Look Ahead

Hey folks. Happy Monday.

I’ve been messing around with the website, now that the content is building, to give you ways of navigating back through old posts, if you feel the urge. I hope it helps.

Today I’m thinking, there’s nothing quite so good as repetition and redundancy and repetition and redundancy for getting the old point across. Ask the nice people in the soda pop industry if that isn’t true.

So, I’m here to restate my case for keeping a fitness journal. Broken freakin’ record, this girl, yes?

I woke this morning, with a post-surgical dog at my feet and the gym not happening this morning for her neediness. Last week was an entire week of sneaky exercise. I made it to just one Pilates class (blizzards and work and sick dog and life got in the way of the others), and enjoyed not a single aerobic moment.

That’s not the ideal exercise week. My eating was alright. I felt good about my behavior around food in general, although night-time eating is always a challenge. While I kept up strength work (there’s a dumbbell around every corner in my house, and stairs at the office, so no excuses there), I know that I really do need three or four aerobic bursts this week to balance things out.

How do I know all of this? Well, because I track all of this stuff. I write it down so I can look back and think. Trust me, I couldn’t tell you what I ate this morning, much less yesterday if I didn’t write it down. So, I do write it all down.

On Mondays I make an appointment with myself to look back and look ahead. It’s my teeter-totter day. This morning I discovered that last week was heavy on the weights and light on the aerobics. So what do I need this week to balance things? Right. More swimming, more time on the aerobic machines at the gym. More classes. Balance.

You don’t have to pick Mondays to take stock of things. Really any day can be a good day for looking backward, looking forward, and making goals to achieve balance.

I know I harp on journaling a lot. Some people just won’t write in one. Just can’t make it a habit. It might be that word, Journal. So try another word. Keep a log. Maintain an owner’s manual. Keep it in a beautiful bound book, on software, in your personal organizer.

Try breaking down the weight loss/fitness tracking to see if you can keep at least a partial record, start small with a little something that works better than your faulty memory to help you understand and learn about your body.

At least try to keep a diary of your food intake and exercise output. These tools will help you manage your body better and think clearly on bleary Monday mornings. They help you understand your cycles of weight gain and loss, and help you unearth food sensitivities and successful food combinations. The longer you keep them, the more interesting and useful the information.

Food Section
In your food section, track what you eat, the calories and fat/carbohydrate/protein values of each of the foods. Track your weight, weekly. I do this using BalanceLog software, but you can do it at for free or on paper, armed with a good counter.

Exercise Section
In your exercise section, track the exercise and the minutes you spend at it. I keep a separate record for work with free weights, tracking exercises, weights, reps. When I’m working hard at swimming, I keep laps/sets/time and goal records separately too. I keep track of how old my running shoes are.

Rewards Section
Two sections, one a list of all the great things that are happening with your body and health so you don’t forget how much better you feel and why you’re working so hard. No detail is too small for this record.

The other is a list of rewards, never in the form of food, for reaching micro goals. My goals used to be weight related, but are now I reward my weekly goals. When I make my week’s goals, I get a present. A book, a bit of gear, workout clothes, etc.

Here is where you do, frankly, your hardest work. This is where you write yourself love notes, explore unhealthy thinking, rewire your brain. This is where behavioral work really happens, I write my weekly goals, I keep track of myself. Think through odd reactions to food. The act of writing things down is absolutely magical for discovery and reinforcement.

So, now, I’m going to my journal and writing down my aerobic intentions for the week. If I make my goal, I get to order up a pair of Bloch hip warmers for dance class. If not, too bad. Maybe next week. I know that these next two weeks will be hectic at work and at home. I’ll write out eating strategies to get me through it.

Find your way to track your hard work. You’ll really appreciate the value of this method. More and more with time,


Levenger’s pages of journals
Fitday It
Filofax It

posted by Julie |
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