If you are someone who has a hard time staying consistent with your health and wellness goals, then this blog post is for you.
We are going to get into ALL the details.
As a Registered Dietitian, I do not love the idea of tracking your food intake longterm because it can have some pretty negative implications. Feeling the need to track every morsel of food you eat can quickly become obsessive and can lead to a negative relationship with food.
However, I do believe that there is a time and place for keeping a health journal especially if you are just starting out on your wellness journey.
Let’s start by defining what a health journal is. A health journal is a record of anything that relates to your health. It can include your medical records, family medical history, health history, a history of symptoms or chronic conditions, your food diary, or anything else you think is important to track. A health journal is not just for someone who has health issues or a health condition. It can be extremely useful if you are looking to get a clear picture of your lifestyle choices and maybe even uncover unhealthy patterns and hidden triggers.
A health journal or a health diary can help you stay on track in every aspect when it comes to your overall health and wellness – you decide!
In today’s blog post we are mainly going to talk about how to track different aspects of your health including physical, emotional and mental health.
How To Keep A Health Journal
Keeping track of the food you’re eating is something I highly recommend you do, especially in the beginning. This helps you get a really good picture of what it is you’re eating and where you may need to make some adjustments to get the results you’re looking for.
You can start with a simple list of all the foods you eat every day and see where you may be lacking some nutrients. For example, if your goal is to eat 5 different vegetables a day but you’re noticing that you only eat 2, you can make a clear plan as to where you can add additional vegetables to reach your goal.
This is another big one when it comes to keeping track of your health habits. You can record when you take walks, whether or not you go the gym, at-home workouts…literally any movement you get into the day, record it. This can help pinpoint a pattern in your life. For example, you may notice that when you exercise, you tend to eat better throughout the day and your mood that day is great. Noticing something like this can be your motivation to exercise regularly because you never made that connection before. Or you may notice that you have been feeling sluggish and tired and when you look back on your day, you realize that you spent the day on the computer and you barely ate.
Identify your feelings and record them
I always like to start and end my journal by identifying my feelings. I like to check in with myself first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed. This helps me reflect on the day. For example, if I woke up in a great mood but ended it in a low vibe/ bad mood, I try to reflect on what happened that day to put me in this state of mind. Was it something that was said, was it because I didn’t eat well, or maybe it’s hormones. Trying to connect your feelings with your day can be so eye-opening and transformational. This is because it allows you to understand yourself and your behavior on a deeper level. This is something I started incorporating this year and it has made the biggest difference in my stress, anxiety and overall health.
Keep track of other health information
Keeping track of other health information like blood pressure and A1C levels can really come in handy if you have a measurable health problem. If you keep track of your numbers, it allows you to visually see whether or not you are improving.
Also, keeping track of health information can help you pay attention to certain causes and effects you never thought about before. For example, you might notice that you don’t sleep well when you eat super late at night or you might even discover foods that might give you some digestive issues. This is how I learned I was lactose intolerant. I kept a journal for a few days and noticed that any time I ate food containing milk or milk products, I felt terrible and it made my skin breakout!
How to Make Health Journaling Easier
If you haven’t journaled before, I can completely understand feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where or how to start.
You can simply start by writing down a list of things you are grateful for to get yourself in the habit of writing. After you have done that for a few weeks, you can start stacking onto that. You can add in affirmations, meal planning, diet tracking, your feelings and mood, etc.
I also created My Daily Pages to help simplify the process and make it enjoyable to fill out your personal health journal.
It is an all-in-one printable step-by-step guide to help you organize your day, meals, goals, affirmations all in one place. The guide will also help you identify patterns at a glance. From filling out the guide, you will know whether or not you’re eating enough protein, fiber, etc, and if not, there is a built-in system to help you adjust for the next day. It is all about having a clear system in place that helps you identify where you need to put some attention.
Included is 30 days worth of journal entries and a breakdown of how to meal plan to ensure you are eating in a way that is nourishing and filling while losing weight (if that is your goal). There is also sample meal plans, journal prompts, affirmations and a gratitude section to help keep you organized and clear about your goals.
The goal of the Daily Pages is to track and optimize your diet and lifestyle patterns in an extremely personalized way.
Note: The Daily Pages is a printable PDF with lifetime access
Please remember to talk to your doctor to receive personalized medical advice based on your health journal and overall family medical history. This is not meant to diagnose or treat any health conditions.