Friday, February 2, 2007

Fitness And Food Journals

My muscles are screaming. I must have worked them super hard during my last lower body weight lifting session. The pain in my quads kept waking me up last night while I slept.

Ergo: Today I'm taking an unscheduled rest day. I have no desire to pull a muscle so hard that it puts me out of the game for a few weeks.

I noticed that my entry about "skimming over my food journal" received a few comments, so I thought I'd mention my journal and how it works.

I use a regular three-ring binder and create the blank log pages (with tables, boxes for notes, etc.) in Microsoft Word.

The front of each page contains a week's worth of entries for diet and exercise.

For food: I write down everything I eat and the time I eat it. (I write this by hand, usually right as I finish eating.)

For exercise: I also include the workout I did that day (run, weights, yoga, etc.) and details about runs (distance, pace, route). In this way my food journal actually serves as a running log, too.

So by just glancing at the front of a page I can immediately see a week's worth of food and exercise.

On the back of the page is my weight lifting plan. It includes a little table that I fill in by hand. At the beginning of the week, I document what exercises I plan to do (squats, chest presses, bicep curls, etc.), how much weight I plan to use, how many sets and reps I intend to do.

The back page also contains a table for "planned menus" for each day. When I get very serious, I like to pre-plan all my meals. I don't always use this table, though.

Finally, there are spots to jot notes about "overall food goals," "primary goals," and "secondary goals."

Some notes about it:
  • I don't include my portion sizes and I don't track macronutrients. I have done so in the past, but I find it's more detailed than I need. I basically use my food journal as a general way of getting an idea of my diet.
  • One day a week I will not document my diet. On this "free" day, I don't bother writing down anything I eat. I need this to prevent my journaling from becoming an obsession.
  • I have tried online versions like Fitday, but find they are too time-consuming for my needs. It's easier for me to jot something down with a pencil. And I keep this notebook in the kitchen, so it's always close when I eat. Fitday is useful, however, if you want to track macronutrients, calories, etc.
Example of an entry:

Date: 11/19/06
  • 10:20 - Cheerios, rice milk
  • 11:45 - faux chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, broccoli soup
  • 3:00 - steamed veggies from Chinese restaurant, white rice, diet Coke
  • 8:15 - faux chicken strips wrapped in lettuce leaves
  • 10:15 - air popped popcorn with salt
  • Cardio - Easy run outside for 35 minutes
I know my journal probably sounds primitive next to some of the PDA programs and online versions, but I am an old-fashioned gal!


Paige said...

Completely random, but what is your honest opinion on Rice Milk? As part of weening myself off of sugar, I noticed how much sugar occurs in regular milk. I'm switching to Soy Slender, but have seen rice milk and was curious but leery at the same time.

Thanks in advance.

~~Midnight Raider~~ said...

For me, rice milk tastes more similar to cow's milk than any other "milk substitute." I dislike soy milk straight from the carton (although I do use it in baking). Personally, rice milk is the only "milk substitute" I can stand to drink, so I guess I like it! ;) It tastes like skim milk, sort of.

JOY said...

Gosh I hope your muscles have got back to normal! Hope you aren't over doing the exercise!

Good luck for February.

Together we can do it.

amy said...

Oooo. I like your "journal" concept. I don't journal my foods because when I've tried it in the past, I get all consumed by calories, fat, carbs, etc. and it all gets so confusing and time consuming.

Then I get sick of it and quit the whole diet altogether. Maybe just writing down what I eat and not concerning myself with the itty bitty gory details would help. I think I might try it.

Living to Feel Good said...

ARGH! I just wrote out this whole long thing on here about your journal and lost it. ARGH!!

Basically I said that I like your way better, and that I use to write it all down in a journal too, but no times just calories. I think it's easier to just write it down.

I love your blog, and I totally admire you for your fitness level. I want to start lifting weights, but I feel really intimidated to go into the weight room. I don't know what to do in there. Next week I might have a friend meet me at the gym to try out the weight room. I'll let you know. I also think it's awesome that you run so much!!

Gripperm said...

Going old school! but it works and that is all that matters

Jules said...

Love your journal idea!

Tee said...

I am like you, maybe not as much information, but I do write down everything I eat and the exercise I do. I made a table in excel that I printed and I use. It is easier for me this way. I get overwhelmed with sites like FitDay and Spark People.

Thank you very much for the comment on my blog today. It was very meaningful and it was very encouraging.

Cory said...

I do all my journaling in pencil as well. It makes it easier to carry to work and the parents when I visit (always overnight).
I do like how you plan out your weight lifting schedule that's cool (and more than my journal supports.)

Judi Finneran said...

Yeah...I have so been wanting to record my food with paper and pencil and felt that I was hopelessly out of date. Thanks for validating we can keep it any way we want. I am happy to be taking this journey with you.


Lady Atkins said...

I also taske one free day a week. I write 3000 calories down and stick (mostly) to foods allowed on my diet, but I don't journal it all.

I use FitDay since I can track both food and exercise there.