Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Intentional Health: Tracking Progress!

One of my favorite bosses once said something that stuck with me: you can manage what you can measure. He was talking about marketing campaigns, but it applies to so much more. Since this week is all about intentional wellness, what better way is there to intentionally live healthy than to collect and track data?  For today we're going to let the answer be, "none!" :)

There are plenty of ways that we could get all compulsive about our health, micromanaging it down to the point where we're so stressed that we forget that being healthier is supposed to make us happier. I don't recommend that. Instead, let's focus on two of the biggies: what goes in and what goes out. I'm talking about calories, just so we're clear.

First, the calories that go in. For years I collected stacks of little spiral notebooks where I had logged my meals, and then I found and started logging my meals online. Way easier. Keeping a food journal is not only a proven technique for permanent weight loss management, but it provides both data and accountability, two of the other tools in my healthy tool chest.  When I find myself out of synch, I check the log and look for clues. Have I been eating the same thing for too long? Have I been eating out more often? Or even worse, are there are few days in a row when I *gulp* haven't written anything down? If you're accurate in your log, you should have the data you need to solve the mystery and get back on track. I'll also refer back to it to see what I'm doing right. When I want to go back to a place where I remember feeling better, I flip (or click) back to that date and check to see what my fuel was like back then. I'll give you a hint: it's usually spinach.  Planning and logging your food is a great way to use intention to have a healthy day.

Second, the calories that come out. Yesterday I gave you the formula for determining how many calories you need to take in and/or burn to lose or maintain weight, but my favorite tool for tracking this is my GoWearFit.  I seriously love this thing. I bought it a year ago and while I haven't been wearing it since I've been pregnant, I am planning to pop that sucker on the second this baby is out. Not only does it track your calorie burn and provide tons of awesome data for you to manage it, it also reveals your sleep patterns, breaks down your macronutrients, and more. Once you enter in your meals, it tells you whether you're on a weight gain or loss trend. Seriously, it cannot be easier.  Get one.

Living intentionally well simply means doing something every day to move closer to health. Recording the actions you take to do just that.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get healthy!

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