Can you name the foods you ate yesterday or the day before, or last week? Do you remember how many ab crunches you did at the gym over the last month? What was your blood pressure or blood sugar reading two weeks ago?
What were you thinking while eating the double cheeseburger with cheese-covered fries with friends? When did you first realize that life is so hectic and so stressful that sex has become a chore rather than a pleasure?
If you are like most people, you probably cannot answer these questions because most of us do not store these details in our memories. We live day-to-day and never look back when it comes to understanding where our current state of health came from. However, looking back by using a health journal can reveal the truth about the good and bad of dietary choices, the amount of exercise you really get, why getting a good night’s sleep is so difficult, and stress levels. It can also reveal why efforts to address a host of health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease seem to fail.
Whether it’s a food journal or a pregnancy journal, maintaining an online health diary as one file--to record and store important general health information over a time period to finally master good health and fitness, or to better manage a specific health issue--makes sense. People are creatures of habit, and breaking habits is difficult. The source of habits is found in the brain, which is the focus of cognitive-behavioral theory. It says that thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to behaviors. Identify the thoughts and you are now in control of the reactions!
A health journal is not just a list of medical readings and calorie counts. It is a way to record feelings, goals, activities, surrounding events, and results for any particular area of health. Like any diary, it is private so the diarist can be honest about thoughts and the feelings. You can record personal physical information, motivational quotes, what others say about you, reactions, and behaviors related to health. It feels so good to be completely honest with yourself!
Consider health diaries as personal health assistants that give great advice. There are many possible diary examples to try out:
The key is to use the online diary for health every single day, and write down anything of interest that will document facts and help you recall the context. For example, did you skip workouts three times last week because friends kept inviting you to join them? Be honest!
Record the date, time, local weather, environmental factors, symptoms, medical treatments, medications, foods or calories consumed, amount of exercise, comments from family and friends, personal thoughts and emotions, daily events that influenced ability to make good decisions about health, new information, and so on.
Bottom line: Record anything and everything that influences health.
Ready to start? It is so easy!