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What is self-monitoring, and why should we do it?

Self-monitoring is a way to keep track of our progress. By recording our behaviour, we also become more aware of what may be potentially holding us back from reaching our goals. If you haven’t read about goal setting yet, you can do here.

Food diaries

One of the most common types of self-monitoring is through a food diary. It’s up to you what to include in your food diary. It might be helpful to include what you ate, at what time, with whom, how you were feeling and your portion size. Keeping a food diary can help you to be aware of your eating habits and can help to identify small changes you may need to make to help reach your goal.

For example, you may notice that over the past 7-days you had three biscuits at 4pm because you were feeling hungry and stressed. You may decide to plan for a healthier and more filling early afternoon snack instead. 

You might find it easier to keep a digital food diary on your mobile phone or laptop, rather than a physical one.

Access the Healthy Weight Healthy You Food Diary here.


Weighing yourself is another commonly used type of self-monitoring and research suggests that people who do this lose more weight than those who don't. 

Keeping a regular record of your weight can help you track your progress when losing weight and help you maintain your weight afterwards.

It's a good idea to weigh yourself at the same time of day each time you weigh. Noting down your weights can help you see and measure your progress.

You don't need to do this every day. Weekly, fortnightly, or even monthly can help you track your progress. Do what you find most comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable weighing yourself, you could measure your hips, waist and chest instead. Progress pictures are another way to track your progress, or you can go by the feel of your clothes instead. Think about what is best for you.  
It can be useful to bear in mind there may be times when your weight loss will slow down or even stop. If this happens it may help to review your progress to date to see if anything has changed that may have impacted on your weight. It can also be a good time to revisit your weight loss goals and consider if you need to update these for the next step of your journey. 

Activity logs

Similar to food diaries, activity logs can be used to record how many minutes of physical activity you have completed each day, what type of activity you completed and how hard you found it. You may also choose to record your steps per day if walking. Physical activity can be done throughout the day and logging each time that you’re physically active can be an encouraging way to see how much progress you’re making, or it may act as a reminder to include more physical activity into your daily routine.

Continue your journey

Click on the next page Set your goals to continue your journey.


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