Dear Diary

A tenet of the Weight Watchers program is keeping a food diary — and a component of the Spartan 300 Challenge this summer is maintaining a food log throughout the 16 weeks.

Now the media is reporting what I learned through experience:

Keeping a food diary may help you lose more weight, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. Those in the study who kept a daily log of what they ate lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t keep records. The 1,700 participants also followed the heart-healthy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, attended weekly support meetings, and did moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. They lost an average of approximately 13 pounds during a six-month period. The study, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is scheduled to appear in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

I joined Weight Watchers in January 2004 and had immediate success. I lost about 35 pounds, and was feeling really good. So good that I got complacent. And I stopped diligently keeping my food diary and monitoring my portions sizes. Big mistake

Fast forward to January 2008. I’d slacked so much, my total weight loss had dwindled to 24 pounds, and I was feeling bad. Physically bad. Mentally bad. Defeated. There was a lot of crying.

I vowed to turn it around with a commitment to keeping my food diary, following The Zone within the Weight Watchers construct, keeping a workout log, and putting my heart into CrossFit Central Bootcamp. Every workout I’ve done and every morsel of food I’ve eaten since January 1 is documented. This summer, I also signed up to participate in the Spartan 200 Challenge to keep myself motivated through the heat of the summer and the temptation to have fun with margaritas and chips & salsa.

I’ve lost 17 pounds since January, and am just 6.4 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal. When I do the Spartan 300 workout on August 2, I’ll also get the latest on my body fat percentage, which will be the true measure of my results-thus-far.

But I’m definitely still a work-in-progress. After I hit my WW goal, I want to lose another 5-10 lbs. so that I’m lighter and leaner for some adventures I want to have.

My fitness future includes, but is in no way limited to:

  • learning to do a handstand and handstand pushups
  • doing kipping pullups without a box
  • adding some Parkour to my life: the philosophy, the tumbling, hurdling over railings
  • the Antarctica half marathon
  • trail running
  • pushups all the way down to the floor, every time

For all that, I need to be as lean and happy as possible. And writing it down is an important first step.

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