The more effective you become at regulating your own behaviors, the more likely you will be to stick with your health and fitness program and have long term weight loss success. As a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, I cannot control the choices that you make on a given day. I try to teach my clients self-monitoring skills so that they learn to make behavior changes that will optimize their chances for success.
What is Self Monitoring
Self monitoring refers to the practice of keeping track of information regarding your own physical activity, eating habits, sleep habits, or how you choose to respond to stressful situations. Before you can effectively change a behavior, you need to know what you’re doing currently. This information should include successes as well as barriers to adhering to your lifestyle modification program. Once you begin to realize that you have control over your choices and gain confidence, you will be more able to deal with challenges that come up.
Self monitoring can provide a wealth of information about what events, people, or situations trigger unhealthy eating or actions. Paying attention to your own nutrition, daily physical activity, and sleep can be one of the most useful methods for identifying areas of your life that may need modification. Once you have that information, it becomes easier to set realistic goals as well as improve fitness and eating behaviors that are controllable.
Self Monitoring Tools
Self monitoring requires significant attentiveness and ongoing motivation to make it work; therefore, it helps to have tools and apps to keep you on track. You don’t have to use all of these tools, but do take some time to experiment and see which ones you like best.
- Smart Phone Apps such as MyFitnessPal
- iPad Apps such as Nudge, YouAte, MealLogger
- Computer Based Programs such as Fitday
- Websites such as Fitday, Weight Watchers
- Fitness Trackers such as FitBit or Garmin
- Excel Spreadsheets, such as logging the number of steps or miles walked each day, hours of sleep
- Paper & Pencil
Some of these methods also allow you to easily share your information with your coach, which can be helpful to see what’s working well and what needs further attention. Many of the online sites also allow you to share your activity data with friends or community, which can help with motivation and provide support. Some may also have weekly challenges that are optional to join, such as getting a certain number of steps or miles for a given period of time.
If you’re trying to lose weight, self monitoring is one of the most powerful methods for achieving success, though it doesn’t always work as a “stand alone” option (that’s where I come in)! Have you tried any self monitoring tools? Do you have a favorite?
If you’d like more help getting a self monitoring system set up to help with weight loss, contact me today and we can discuss options for helping you get the results that you want!