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For those who have resolved to adopt a healthier lifestyle and be fitter for this new year, congratulations! You’ve just taken on a yearlong goal, and the next few months will not be easy. You’ll find as you’re undergoing a new diet or developing an exercise routine that it’s very tempting to skip a few days and indulge in a few brownies. Fitness is definitely a doable goal, but it takes discipline in many aspects. When it comes to discipline over your diet, however, it’s as easy as keeping track of what you eat with a simple tool: a food journal.

A food journal is useful because it allows you to see what goes into your body and what doesn’t, helping you maintain full control of your diet. This will allow you to see your good habits (such as how often you eat your vegetables) and your bad ones (such as drinking too little water during a week). It will also allow you to see other useful data such as the times you eat, your portion sizes, your mood at the time you were eating, and anything else you might want to include in the journal.

Research also showed that people who consistently kept track of what they ate and how much they weighed had greater success in losing weight and keeping it off.

“Self-tracking teaches people how their environment and behaviors affect health,” National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow Carly Pacanowski said. “Over time, it provides you with a lot of interesting information. It lets people be more in the driver’s seat with regards to their health.”

 A food journal is just one of many easy ways to become the boss of your health.

Image Source: CatLane

The key to making self-tracking work for your health and diet is to do it consistently, and understandably, it’s difficult to pick up such a tedious routine as a habit. Fortunately, smartphone apps such as MyFitnessPal and Lose It make it easier for you to record your eating habits without requiring too much time or thought. As the saying goes, it takes only seven weeks of doing something consistently to make it a habit.

Health and fitness are ultimately not just end goals, but a lifelong lifestyle. Nutrition is in itself half the battle, but it’s one that you definitely have control over. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world, but you can count on counting calories to help you become fitter and stronger than ever.

Feature Image Source: Thai Chicken Carvery Salad from Saladworks ($14.49) by qasic

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