|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
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Try a Body Log
I wonder how long that metaphor, "broken record," will have any meaning?
Or maybe it already doesn't? Ah. I'll explain: We used to have a recording medium we called "records," which were large vinyl discs, very flat, bigger than a Frisbee. They were a bit fragile. If you scratched the record or cracked it, the "needle" on the "phonograph" or "record player" would skip, and the same groove of music would play over and over, driving your parents crazy if you happened to have passed out while listening to a "broken record."
And so a "broken record" also came to mean any idea whose redundancy irritates.
And this brings me to the subject of writing down what you eat, writing down your exercise, writing down your feelings about food, exercise, your life in your body.
(If you are a regular Skinny Daily Post reader, if you have no problem remaining mindful about what you eat, and if getting daily exercise is not something you have difficulty with, and your body has always more or less worked well, represented you well, you may excuse yourself. This particular column is meant for the rest of us and for our newest readers, who may not have yet been browbeaten quite enough.)
This particular broken record is targeted to those of us who battle obesity and morbid obesity, and the kind of obesity-related bodily breakdowns that can kill us.
And for those of us gathered in that boat, my advice to you is: Start writing it all down. Start today. Keep a body log. Just try it for awhile, and see what it does for you, will you?
I tried 20 or 30 diets over my lifetime. I'm a writer. I've made my living as a writer for more than 20 years. Each diet program I invested in advised me to keep some sort of log, journal, record of my weight, my measurements, my food intake, water, exercise. And I ignored that advice. I might have tried it for a few days while "getting the hang of" the new program. I might have tried it for a week or two, even. But then I felt, when I had the hang of the program, I didn't need "the crutch." It irritated me to have to drag around a piece of paper. It felt artificial, so I quit.
But I didn't lose my weight, reach a healthy BMI, until I learned to hang onto my crutches. It's the only advice and the best advice I have: Write it all down. I repeat it often, because it works for so many people. Because it worked for me. Because it's free. Because you learn so much by doing it. Because good data rules.
What you need: A notebook and a calorie/nutrient counter. That's it. Or your word processing software and a calorie counter. Or a blog account and the URL to nutritiondata.com, or fitday.com.
Or upgrade to one of the many diet/exercise tracking software programs like the one by Calorie King or HealtheTech's BalanceLog. Or subscribe to one of the online applications that allow you to track your food and exercise. FitDay.com is free, but WeightWatchers.com, eDiets.com, and others offer their versions too. Try a visit to 3FatChicks.com where dieters in the trenches review all the online offerings, diet software, and products and offer no-holds-barred reviews of what they like and what they don't.
Personally I like Palm-based programs and notebooks, because you can carry these with you. It's writing down what you eat when you eat it that matters. Writing it makes you mindful. Mindfulness curbs your eating, increases your commitment exponentially over time. It's taking a look at your log to see whether you need more fruit today or if you should focus now on your veggies. Did you get in all your water? Your vitamins?
Write it down. Try it. Really.