One of the most important things you’ll do on your journey to health and wellness is to track your fitness progress.
Knowing you’re on the right track is essential for keeping motivation high. Unfortunately, the scale is not the best tool you can use, but it’s the one people most commonly rely on. In fact, the two best decisions I’ve made on my own wellness journey are weighing only once a month and not counting calories!! I’ve lost over 70 pounds and never had to count a single calorie, but that’s not the topic for today.
If you LIKE to weigh-in daily and count calories, more power to you, but I know they don’t work for me. Figuring out what works for YOU is really the key to being successful in anything. And that’s precisely why I love bullet journaling!! Because it’s so flexible, you can make it be exactly what you need it to be. If something isn’t working, you can leave that page behind and try something new!
So, that would be my first piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to experiment. If something isn’t working for you, stop it and try something else. As I’m sure you’re well aware, the Bullet Journal community on Instagram and in Facebook groups is AH-MAZING!! I never lack for new ideas to try. In fact, I have a swipe file full of screenshots that are waiting for me to try them someday.
Okay, on to the topic!
I’ll start by sharing my very first health and fitness pages in my first Bullet Journal.
This layout includes a simple measurement progress tracker for writing down your measurements each month. Like I mentioned, the scale isn’t the most reliable tool for various reasons, so adding another tracking method can give you a boost when the scale isn’t cooperating!
The 2016 Exercise page is a simple calendar where I circle every day that I workout. It’s pretty motivating to fill it up throughout the year and when you look back at all that work you put in, you can see that you have made a lot of progress. One of the tools I teach my health coaching clients is to redefine their definition of success. I don’t know about you, but I call it a success if I get 5 workouts in per week, no matter what that darn scale has to say about it.
Here’s a fun way to track how many miles you walk or run. It’s amazing how motivating coloring in a little square can be!
Strength training is an important part of any fitness routine. I divide my strength training days up by body part, so I created this spread to track what I’m doing. I listed the different exercises in the left column, then each day I train, I write down what weights I used. You’ll see a few that are circle in blue. That means it was a struggle for me to get through the final reps of the exercise. This is good information to have the next time you work that body part so you know what weights to start with, and so you can see the progress you’ve made.
There are a lot of different ways you can track healthy habits. When implementing new habits, I’m a big fan of starting out so small that you can’t fail. One way to track something like that in your Bullet Journal is to pick one habit to work on. Mark off each day that you complete your new habit. If you get through an entire week and don’t miss more than one day, add a second small habit the next week. If you don’t complete it at least 6 days, simply repeat that habit again the next week.
After you’ve completed a habit successfully 3 weeks in a row, you can drop that one off your tracker and add on something new. That way you’re never tracking more than 4 habits at a time.
I highlight the habit after I’ve completed 3 weeks just as a reminder that it’s still something I want to be aware of and continue. It’s also an easy way to glance back through and see which habits you’ve completed and make sure you’re still doing them.
Another way to track habits is with a detailed tracker. This one includes hours slept, fruits & vegetables eaten each day, water, whether my meals followed intentional eating principles or not, and the workout I did. To be honest, coloring in all these squares every day got monotonous and time consuming, so I simplified the tracker for the next month. [see below]
This method was much easier to keep up with! This month I also included steps and added some of my other daily habits at the bottom.
Working on having a healthy mindset is often the key to a healthy lifestyle that people are missing. It’s so easy to focus on how far you have to go and all the mistakes you feel like you made, or unhealthy foods you ate, so instead, I encourage you to focus on what you did RIGHT each day. I use this Healthy Living Success Journal layout to do that. I write down at least one, but usually 2-3 healthy choices I made that day. They are usually things like:
- I went out to eat and boxed up half to take home.
- I put my fork down between bites and ate mindfully.
- I didn’t feel like working out, so committed to at least 5 minutes and ended up doing 20.
- I stopped work at 5 and focused on my family.
- I picked fruit for dessert.
- I planned some ME TIME!
You get the idea. Focusing on what you’re doing right will motivate you to keep going and recognize that you really are making progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
Let’s talk about FOOD!
We can’t leave without talking about food, right? There’s scientific evidence to suggest that anything you track improves, so I strongly recommend keeping a food journal of some sort. I’ve used several different methods.
When I’m following the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, I usually just print labels to track so I don’t have to draw all those little squares. If you’re doing the FIX and want a copy, let me know what calorie level you’re on, and I’ll send you a file you can print on Avery Labels.
Recently I’ve been focusing on Intuitive Eating. If you want to learn more about it, I highly recommend the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole.
In the spreads below, you’ll see that I first track the time I ate. I’m really focusing on eating only when I’m truly physically hungry, so looking at what time I last ate helps me answer that question. Remember that physical hunger starts in the body, but emotional hunger starts in the mind.
Next, I write down the food I ate. The Y/N column is simply to track whether I was hungry or not. The number indicates my hunger level on a 1-10 scale where 5 is neutral, 0 is starving, and 10 is stuffed. I try to stay between 3 and 7. The notes section is for anything I feel is important to remember about that meal or how it made me feel. The last column is my hunger level once I’m done eating. I try to stop eating when I’m just satisfied, but not overly full.
Here’s another one I did on a full page because I felt it was taking up too much room on my daily pages.
If you’re interested in reading more about emotional eating, I have a few posts that might be helpful:
Stop Emotional Eating by Finding the Starting Line
How to Keep an Emotional Eating Food Journal
Physical vs. Emotional Hunger: How to Tell the Difference
We can’t skip over meal planning because it’s an important part of being successful on your health and fitness journey. Rather than make this post any longer, I’ll simply link you to my post about how I meal plan in my bullet journal! Click here to read more about my meal planning process and the tools I use!
Related posts you might like:
Weekly Bullet Journal Layout Ideas
How I use my Bullet Journal to set 90 Day Goals
Plan with Me: July Bullet Journal Setup