Why I Decided To Stop Tracking My Diet & Exercise

The Food Diary. Something that many people recommend as a way of improving your health and wellness routine. If you see what you eat each day and how much you workout, you might be able to change it, right?

That’s what I thought.

In 2016, during my freshman year of college, I bought a notebook, and decided to start tracking what I ate and how much I worked out each day. I thought it would help me avoid the “freshman fifteen.” In each entry I had about four to five categories: the exercise I did for the day, my breakfast, my lunch, my dinner, and any in between snacks that day, if applicable.

Now, journaling your diet and exercise might work for some people. It might cause them to see patterns, fix bad habits, and motivate you to work harder. And I do think it worked for me for a period of time. I did it for about six years. However, a month ago, I decided to stop.

It just became too strenuous to write everything down each day. I had to write everything down at the exact minute, or else I’d forget. In order to do this, I’d first put it in my phone, and then copy the day into my notebook, when I had time. This led to me having to copy months of entries. I’ll admit, maybe I made it a little too hard for me. But, even if I wasn’t doing this, it’d be hard.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t always consistent when it came to actually writing things down. I only recorded days where I actually exercised, which I’ll admit, wasn’t every day. I didn’t always have time to go to the gym, or do a quick set of exercises at home. I didn’t always want to workout, and opted to just lie in bed playing on my phone. And sometimes, my food for the day consisted of a large bag of white cheddar Smartfood at 5 pm (mainly, my junior year in college.) So, I felt like those days weren’t worth tracking.

I feel like tracking your food and exercise should help you with wellness. It should help you find patterns, figure out ways to improve, etc. However, I never really did that. I just wrote it down, closed the book, never looked at it, and repeated the process. And when I was really behind on copying entries, I never really put much thought into those days when I wrote them down. I just wrote them down to get it over with.

So, in December, I officially stopped my tracking. I deleted the Note from my phone, and then deleted it from my Notes app trashcan. And I started using my notebook for other things. There’s no going back.

This year, I, like many people, have decided to try to be healthier. And I don’t want to jinx myself yet, but I feel like I’ve been doing the best in a while. Instead of tracking things, I’m just reminding myself to do things throughout the day.

And it seems to be working.

This is what I am doing:

  • I keep new vegan probiotic gummies with my daily medication, which reminds me to take it every morning.
  • I have reminded myself to go to the gym in the late afternoon, just as I’m finishing work.
  • I’ve actively trying to eat better.

And two months into 2023, it’s been good. I’ve taken my gummies each day, have gone to the gym at least twice a week, and while my diet could be better, I think I’ve seen improvement.

So while writing down your habits might be effective for you, I found that I need something else.

This article is a part of the “The Wellness Chronicles: My Journey to a Healthier Life“. To see more of my journey, click here!

<strong>Anna Bechtel</strong>
Anna Bechtel

Anna is from and currently resides in Hamden, CT. She went to Drew University, where she majored in English and minored in media & communications. Anna is a freelance writer, and has written for Eat This Not That, Celebwell, The Odyssey Online, CollegeCandy.com, The Access Report, and The Buttonwood Tree. Anna also has her own blog, All Podcasts All The Time. In her spare time, she loves dancing, photography, shopping, listening to podcasts & music, and watching reality TV.