We’ve heard it all our dieting lives: “Keep a food diary, it will hold you accountable for what you eat.” That advice always failed me, the best I could keep a food diary was through breakfast, I did not want to leave written evidence of my eating behavior.
But there was a time in my life that I kept a journal, words and feelings written on the page. That diary recounted the first year after my weight loss surgery. The experience of weight loss surgery is profound. It is a physical and emotional Mount Everest. I dare say that there is no other change that a morbidly obese person can undertake that is as emotionally meaningful as weight loss surgery.
There are two reasons to keep a journal: first, to release your thoughts and feelings; second, have a record of your experience. For many people it is less painful to be honest about our feelings by writing them down rather than expressing them. If we write them down, we don’t need to hear them out loud. If we write them down, we are not vulnerable to sharing them with someone else. For me, writing my feelings on paper was like sweeping the floor, I could pick up the rubble and throw it away, I no longer had it cluttering my mind.
Second, as a record, your journal will be priceless. We may not be able to measure our growth, strengths, and courage on a daily basis as we experience the weight loss transformation. But if we have a benchmark we can deliberately and honestly measure our progress. We can turn to the journal when we feel defeated and relive important moments that we have recorded. One of my best moments during weight loss was putting on a size 12 jeans. Picture it: size 12! I never want to forget that moment, and I will not because it is in my diary and it is a hit that I visit frequently. Record those magical moments to relive later, it’s worth the time and effort.
A journal can be a beautiful bound writing book, a simple writing tablet, a computer document, or even an online blog. Video sharing diary is now possible with so many free video sharing websites available. By keeping a journal, you can commit to daily entries or write whenever you feel like it. You can share your travel diary or keep it hidden and private.
Some patients choose to keep a weight loss scrapbook and document their transformation with pictures and captions. What an excellent pastime and celebration of weight loss, to record the transformation in pictures and words. Others use log sheets to track progress, specifically fitness log sheets. They start the first day by recording the distance traveled and the speed. Looking at a record sheet is an excellent measure of progress. It can be used to identify trends and detect problems. It is certainly a place to record achievements and highlight new records.
Do what is good for you. This is your experience: do yourself the favor of recording your trip.