After a few years of living a healthier lifestyle and attempting to lose weight, I began to see each day as either inherently good or bad. The choices I made, whether or not I worked out, and how much I ate became the be-all-end-all distinction between whether I hated myself that day or not. If I decided to have a doughnut, the whole day became an, “aw, what the hell?” kind of day. The trouble with this kind of thinking is that I often lose sight of my goals halfway through the day. I eat healthy foods until my afternoon snack and shit really hits the fan when I get sleepy around 3 p.m.
To combat this pattern, I started a logging method that is incredibly simple and easy. It’s completely effortless, and it helps me put things into perspective.
I log my food and exercise online in a journal that is pretty detailed. I look at macros and micro-nutrients like sugar and sodium daily and weekly. Looking at all of those numbers can get pretty overwhelming when I’m trying to decide if my day was good or bad or somewhere in between. Information overload makes it difficult for me to see what I need to work on to get better and be healthier. To streamline that process and develop a thought process that allows me to identify gray areas on which I need to work, I use a color-coded monthly planner. It sounds complicated, but it’s totally not.
At the end of each day, I cross off the entire day in a color that relates to my intake and activities. If I was over my calories AND did not do my planned activity, I cross the square out in red. If I was either under and inactive or over and active, I cross the square in pink. If I was both under on calories and did my planned activity, I cross the square in green. You can see here that I’ve been pretty well motivated during January; trust me you DO NOT want to see December. It’s practically all red. I’m human. Sue me.
I also log my losses so I can see that my efforts bring progress when I get green and pink. I’m a super visual learner, and visuals have always helped me to grasp difficult concepts.
The point is to associate a “gray” day with a color that is somewhat pleasant to you so that you can look at it as a toss-up or an okay day that could have been better rather than an OHMYGOSHI’MSUCHAFATCOW day. So far, this method has been extremely effective for me, and I wanted to share it.