By: Annie Morgan
Think about the time you’ve gone to the doctor with a problem and he asks you, “So when did this problem start?”
And you’ve got nothing, because you don’t know.
You may fumble and guess a date, “about a month ago”, or you “think it happened last week”.
And then if he asks you to describe your symptoms each day, such as frequency of headaches or what activities could have caused the pain, you’ve got nothing, because you didn’t write it down.
As good of memory as you may have, it’s impossible to memorize every single thing you ate and each activity you did…
…which is why if you want to get to the root of your health problems, starting a health journal is so crucial!
Still not convinced?
Check out the top 2 immediate benefits of starting a health journal.
Doctors often look for patterns to help diagnose and treat a problem. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may not realize you drink caffeine so late which could be aiding your insomnia.
Or, if you’re having stomach problems perhaps it only happens after you eat dairy, and you just don’t realize the pattern.
Which is why keeping a basic diary of what you eat (including what supplements you take) and what time you go to bed each day is so crucial.
If you happen to be experiencing a symptom, write it down, including the day and time it started.
In fact, for those who struggle with chronic headaches, The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping a diary and had this to say about the importance of documentation:
“Avoid headache triggers. Keeping a headache diary can help you determine what triggers your headaches so that you can avoid the triggers. Include details about every headache, such as when it started, what you were doing at the time and how long it lasted.”
By documenting your symptoms and working to find the pattern, you are one step closer to relief.
Keeping yourself accountable (to yourself) is critically important with maintaining good health.
After all, if you don’t advocate for yourself, how can you expect anyone else to!
Take losing weight for example.
Or perhaps you’ll realize you’re not getting enough protein and iron in your diet.
By putting everything on paper, you can’t fool yourself any longer.
And once you get a full grasp on your eating habits, you can start to make necessary changes.
If you want a serious challenge, Wellness Mama even suggests making your food diary public to have others hold you accountable and to provide even greater motivation to stay the course.
Consistency is Key
Starting a health journal can help you identify patterns, hold you accountable, and aid in improving your overall wellness.
If you’re overwhelmed with where to start – pick one thing.
Wonder why you aren’t losing weight? Start with writing down what you’re eating (and when).
And if you struggle with a particular health issue such as headaches or stomach issues, you might need to incorporate a little of everything into your journal.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to be consistent.
If you’re not a paper and pen person, then keeping a physical journal might be harder and a simple app or notes function on your phone might work better for you.
Find what works for you, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
And the next time the doctor asks you when your symptoms started you can simply open up your health journal and tell him exactly when your problem started with full details!
Do you personally keep a health journal?
If not, what are some practical ways you can get started today?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know the importance of starting a health journal!