For the past year, I have been playing with different ways to track my overall health without getting down to the nitty gritty. Tracking every calorie I consume is not something that I have found to be helpful for me because quite honestly I don’t have the time to do it and I don’t want to spend my energy fretting over it. I trust my knowledge of health and nutrition to estimate my daily calorie intake based on my resting metabolic rate (RMR). If you’re interested in learning about your RMR visit my Mathematics of Nutrition post for more information!
Listed below is an example of a health log that I have created on Excel:
- Workout example: weights – back and abs, cardio – warm up, 10 min, 1.25 miles
- Daily mileage example: 4.5 miles (including the 1.25 miles from my workout, tracked on my phone)
- Overall nutrition: Healthy, average, or cheat day (this reflects how I think my diet was that day)
- V/F servings example: 8
- Stress level: high, medium, low (very important and can influence how much we eat and what we eat)
- Sleep: Quality – great, good, bad
- Calorie estimate: Over, under, on (based on my 1489 calorie/day RMR)
- alcohol: yes/no
- Add. notes: this is where you can list additional things that you think affected your health that day (menstrual cycle, meditation, stretching in the morning/evening, etc.)
In addition to recording this every day, I would highlight my best days in blue (my favorite color) to motivate me to continue my healthy habits. I would consider a “blue” day to be one where I was active, ate healthy, and had low stress.
My boyfriend got me a fitbit charge 2 for Christmas (I love it!), and that tracks my activities, so my health log looks a little different now. If you also have an activity tracker, your health log could look like the one below:
For this one, I left out the details about my cardio workout and daily mileage because that is tracked on the fitbit app. I still like to track what parts of the body I focus my workouts on because it helps me plan out my workouts for the week. I separated my veggie and fruit servings because I know I tend to favor eating veggies. ONA stands for “Overall Nutrition Assessment” which is the same as the column in the previous health log.
Note: Another column that is not listed above is Mood. This can be described using any emotional descriptors such as happy, sad, emotional, stressed, overwhelmed, excited, content, you name it. It’s interesting to track your mood in relation to everything else!
Tracking your health is a great way to finding your own balance because there are so many aspects that can influence your health on a daily basis. Finding trends and connections in your health log can lead you to triggers that negatively affect your mood or your diet choices. It can also show you the positive effects of exercising and healthy eating on your sleep and mood.
Health logs may not be for everyone, but I encourage you to give it a try for at least a month. If you need help setting one up or would like my advice, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to send you a template!
During the month of January I will be holding a #whatsyourbalance contest on my instagram @healthbyhailey! I will be reposting my favorite photos on my account. I’d love to see photos that show what balance means to you! I’ll also be posting a series of photos of what balance means to me. Have fun with it!
🙂 Make sure you tag me and use #healthbyhailey and #whatsyourbalance in the caption!
“The best project you will ever work on is you.”