Activity Log

Regular physical activity comes pretty close to being a “magic bullet” for weight loss. Besides burning calories—which makes it easier to achieve that all-important negative-calorie balance that leads to weight loss—exercise also helps curb appetite. Becoming more physically fit makes your body more effective at burning calories, even when you’re not moving. (And of course, it’s not easy to eat ice cream when you’re running.)

However you choose to be active, you’ll need to make changes in your daily habits. One of the most powerful tools for mastering change is keeping a diary. In the same way that a food diary helps make you aware of (and accountable for) what you eat, an Activity Log can help you build more activity into your days. It’s motivating as well: by writing down each time you get moving, you give yourself credit for being active—and each activity adds up!

Starting today, take a few minutes to write down any heart-pumping activity you’ve completed, using the Activity Log (click to download pdf). You’ll find space to list a week’s worth of daily activities, the time and duration of each, as well as space to write thoughts and feelings.

For the first week, just concentrate on writing everything down and learning what you’ve noted about yourself.

But next week, start making an effort to track your exercise calories too. It’s terrifically motivating to add up all the calories you’re losing—and to see your progress in becoming fitter. How many calories you burn off depends on your size: people of different weight burn calories at different rates. Use the Calories Burned in 10 Minutes chart to help you calculate.

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