Using Old-Fashioned Paper Tracking in a Planner to Lose Weight | Giftie Etcetera: Using Old-Fashioned Paper Tracking in a Planner to Lose Weight

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Using Old-Fashioned Paper Tracking in a Planner to Lose Weight

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Every year, I write about losing weight. Every year, I fail.

food log, weight loss, losing weight, food logs

Why'd you keep reading if you know a failure is about to give you advice? I bet it's because I am not alone, right? ;)

I've tried it all.

Tracking all calories in my planner and eating whole foods only.

Failed. Ate an Oreo two hours later. Then, since the bag was open, well...{clears throat and changes subject}.

Spent 3 hours entering foods and recipes into a calorie-counter app. 3 hours, y'all! On the sofa, not moving. 

My Fitbit stats were LOW that day.

We shall never speak of The Great Cheese Fry Incident of 2013. Never.

So I did what I do. I looked at what worked and what failed. Using that information, I noted what had worked at least for a time.


I always failed with electronic tracking of calories and exercise, no matter how good the app happened to be. I wasn't getting the physical and mental burst that happens when I write something down.

Writing down calories and exercise worked. It always worked, time after time.

I had failed, but t
he failures correlated with either tracking calories on-line or with writing down so much detail that I couldn't keep up.


Even after realizing that writing (physically, with a pen and paper) helps, the recordkeeping needed to take minimal time or I wouldn't make time to do the writing that was pushing me towards success.

Keeping a simple calorie, exercise, and weight tracking chart on graph paper in my planner means that I can stay constantly aware of my actions.

I made my chart using AT-A-GLANCE Planning Note Cards, but any graph paper would do. I like how the note cards have slightly heavier paper, really small graph squares, and an edge for where I hole punch them. They fit in my FranklinCovey Compact perfectly, but would also fit a Filofax Personal with a little trimming.

As you can see in the photo (above), I am tracking calories (see red arrow), exercise (see green arrow), and weight (see brown arrow) right in my planner, so it is always with me.


I use simple Xs to mark the calories.

X = 100 calories

/ = 50 calories

I add up each meal. I round up or down as needed, so a meal of 435 calories is XXXX/, a meal of 455 calories is XXXXX, and a snack of 15 calories is free. Of course, if I have several 15 calories snacks, I add them together.

TIP: Put a single dot in the square to show a quick snack of less than 50 calories. Add them up when they hit 50 or more.

The visual sight of days when I struggle and days when I succeed is created by the Xs. That obvious view of my progress helps me want to succeed.

Each little line (see the red arrow) indicates 500 calories. I try to stay between 1,500 and 2,000, but you might have a different goal.

This works for other things, too.

Write an X for every 100 words (or 500 words) of your novel that you put onto paper.

Write an X for every 5 minutes of working out.

Write an X for every 10 minutes of housework. 

This is the year, y'all. Now go share this post and, for the love of all that is good, HIDE those Oreos!


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Partied at: A Little R and R, Wordless Wednesday, Work It Wednesday, Healthy Living, Friday Favorites, Weekend Blog Hop, Grace at Home, Fitness Friday


Ifeoma Samuel said...

Hi Giftie, I couldn't agree more, writing down goals, tracking our progress or not so great success helps us!
Happy New Year, Giftie.
Blessings to you

Anonymous said...

You truly are a better woman than I to keep such detailed tracking. I could never count calories. I get confused by size, portion, weight, etc. "um, okay, so is this considered a small or medium apple??" See? I find that by eating cleanly as possible that I'm eliminating all those sneaky calories like extra butter, dressing, cheese, etc. that's usually added. I'm even trying to drink coffee sans Splenda (which his VERY challenging!)

Best with your progress. Remember, those who try are not failures because you're not doing nothing.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I estimate a lot, but only for clean eating. So I look up the calories in a medium apple and just go with that, no matter the size. And I eat tons of whole foods, so that helps.

But if I steal a cookie, I write down every calorie!

Unknown said...

I'm like you...I am more productive when I write things down. I like to be organized and structured. For some reason, when I type it in my phone, it doesn't motivate me the way hand written notes do. Happy New Year.

Cori Large said...

I know this spring is going to be a real struggle for me to get activity in. When I'm in not school or working wacky hours to make up to the time off work to attend school, I'll be studying and not wanting to exercise. But that's how I put on 20-30 pounds the last 2 years of my Master's. Hopefully, I can keep that in the back of my head and it'll keep me motivated.

Jennifer@MyFlagstaffHome said...

Writing it down is yet another way to commit. Keep up the great work! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home!

Jennifer said...

Love this. You speak the truth. I'm glad you wrote about it because I was trying to figure it out from your video. This is easier.

Unknown said...

There is definitely something psychological that happens when we put stuff down on paper--it makes it more real. I have used calorie counting apps in the past, but I think I will try it this way.

And I totally feel you on the Oreo's. I literally have NO self-control when they are around, which is why I never buy them anymore.

Thanks for linking up to Fitness Fridays on Drops of Learning!

Jaime Barfield said...

I like the X idea. I may use that for my writing.