When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss!

My FitBit activity tracker died recently. It just fell apart! And because I’d taken this device for granted, I quickly felt naked without it! How would I ever know if I’d reached my step goals? How many flights of stairs did I climb? Like many Baby Boomers and seniors, I became ignorant of my fitness efforts without this vital self-monitoring.

weight loss for baby boomers
Weight yourself is one important method of self-monitoring.

The Importance of Self-Monitoring
Self-monitoring is a critical psychological aspect of behavior change. It provides instant feedback and directs you in what needs to be done for the balance of the day.

It’s all about recording your behavior. This data can help you figure out what triggers problematic behavior (e.g., why you overeat at 9:00 p.m.) and provide baseline information from which to set goals and monitor improvement. A study published in 2016 found that consistently tracking behavior is highly predictive of achieving one’s goals. And in the National Weight Control Registry (which tracks more than 10,000 individuals who’ve lost 30 pounds and kept it off for over a year), 75% engage in self-monitoring, weighing themselves at least once a week.

Examples of Self-Monitoring
In addition to weight oneself, other physical parameters of self-monitoring include tracking blood pressure and blood sugar.

When looking at food intake, it’s important to journal whether you eat based on hunger or emotions. You may feel depressed, elated, sad or lonely, or you may simply eat lunch because it’s noon. It’s also critical to track the amount and exact type of foods consumed…and that means everything that enters your mouth–salad dressings, wine, jelly, butter and sauces, everything!

You can track this information by hand or with an online program or phone app. I like My Fitness Pal, but other programs include Spark People and Lose It.

When it comes to activity, you can use a simple method of tracking minutes. The national recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week. A pedometer tracks steps, giving you baseline data from which to advance.

More techie devices include FitBit, Jawbone or the Apple Watch. I even remembered an app in my iPhone (Health) that I can use to track steps while waiting for my replacement FitBit to arrive!

Whatever method you use, it’s critical to become aware of your fitness behaviors and look for ways to improve them. Then set your goals and go for them!

For more information about successful fitness strategies, please reach out to me.

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