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Tracking Fitness and Progress: Simplicity

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Anyone who has followed my journey knows that I love to collect data and look at trends. I really like to collect information and see if there are patterns and things I can improve.

I've recently discovered there's a trend called "Bullet Journals". It takes blank journals or notebooks and divides them into customized organizers. If you haven't heard of "Bullet Journals", go to pinterest and search for it. You'll find numerous beautifully designed notebooks.


Back in my day, we just called them "journals", but hey! I'm glad to see young people finding the joys of old school writing whatever they want to call it! I am as technology driven as they come, but I have never found anything as effective for keeping checklists and my thoughts in order than a good old paper notebook. For one, keeping checklists in a phone or ipad doesn't allow for doodling. Remember doodling?

As a resurgence for writing and doodling, I decided to return to paper journals for my weight loss and fitness objectives this summer. I copied a few ideas from the "bullet journal" styles on pinterest, and adapted them for my fitness notebook. This one is mine. It isn't as pretty as the ones you see on pinterest. I definitely lack in the artistic department, but it's my book totally unique to me.

Instead of a ledger for tracking my weight and bodyfat, I tried a square block notation I saw in someone else's bullet journal. (The page on the left in my picture). The neat thing about doing it this way is I get a visual snapshot of my progress. As I pass through my weight goals, I color them. It's a very different way of seeing my progress, and I like it! I like checking off my boxes, and seeing where I'm trying to go. It feels less like being an accountant. This methodology is a keeper.

I also added in a page to track my cycling. The ledger method works better for me here, but notice that I still took a little time to doodle! It's fun to add a little creativity to my fitness goals.

I use all my technology gadgets to collect information on my miles ridden, average speed, heart rate, etc, but I found that I really like keeping a paper log of my rides. The benefit here is I can put it in my small backpack, and not worry about it running out of charge, or not having cellphone coverage. I can pull it out when sitting at my desk, look at all the rides I've done and progress I've made, and beam with pride. It's very motivating to see all that I've done so far this summer! It makes me want to add more to my pages!

I've now added a couple of pages for my "Zombies, Run!", and gym activities. I'm working on getting a decent weight training program going. All will go in my little book.

The one thing that I'm not tracking anymore is my calories and macros. Since I've joined the Omada program, that is the one thing they don't ask you to do. I've found it quite liberating and refreshing. In all the years I've tracked calories and macros, they have never made any meaningful difference in my weight goals. Calories in minus Calories out has never added up for me. For instance, recently this week I went out with friends for sushi. I definitely overate the sushi and the accompanying white rice. I was certain I overate both calories and carbs, but I actually lost a pound the next day. Go figure. I have no explanation.

I still track my food, but I just write down what I ate. Not how much, not how many calories, and not how many carbs, fat or protein. The nice thing about this method is I still get the benefits of accountability for *what* I eat, but it doesn't get me hung up on "OMG I'm over my calories and carbs for the day". As long as I'm seeing healthy proteins, veggies, and fruit in my logbook, I'm doing well.

I know that eating well and getting enough exercise is what I need to be healthy and happy. It doesn't have to be complicated.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LINDA7677
    I'll have to try this
    872 days ago
    Cute doodle! I have heard of the bullet journal, and in the past I've kept manual logs of different aspects of weight or fitness, so I can really see the benefit. You do manage what you measure!
    872 days ago
    I do this too! Great work!
    872 days ago
    I do love the organisation that Bullet Journals offer. I use one for tracking home projects as I can keep all my measurements and drawing plans in one place. 👍
    872 days ago
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