It’s early in a new year. Gyms are packed at this time of resolution. Everyone sports a new perspective and wants a fresh start. Perhaps you made a resolution to become a “better you” or a more for fit version of yourself. The same amount of people who created resolutions may have purposely avoided resolutions so that they wouldn’t fail them. Whatever category you fall into, the new year still brings promise of a new start and chance to turn things around. The previous year is finished, and hopefully buried in the past is all of it’s failed attempts at a diet or consistent workout routine.

The truth about diets, cleanses or fasts is not that they fail, but rather that we fail at diets, cleanses or fasts. Workouts don’t fail. We fail at working out on a consistent basis.  Losing weight is a constant struggle between calories in vs. calories burned. Resistance training helps build muscle which in turn can help burn fat. Cardio is a great way to build a healthy heart and lungs. Cardio is also a tremendous fat-burner and calorie burner. Calories exist in our food. They are energy. If you eat too many calories, they will store in your body as fat tissue to be used at a later time.

So why do we fail at diets or workout routines? It’s not simply that you eat too much. That’s a large part of people’s struggles, but it’s not the whole story. When it comes to motivation, countless books and articles exist, but you are either intrinsically motivated (motivated from within) or externally motivated (motivated by an outside factor like wanting to look better, lose weight or become healthier, etc.). Figuring out what motivates you and how you are going to maintain that motivations is the first step.

The second step is the action step and it involves forming a plan and acting on it. You have to be aware of what you eat. The only way to truly be aware of what you are eating is to record what you eat. A food diary does just that. It’s an awesome way to track your progress and actually have an idea of how many calories you are consuming in a day, week or month. It’s also easy to do. Just start writing down everything you eat. Include the times you eat, too. If your weight-loss plan requires you to count calories, the food diary is the best way to record what you eat and help your weight loss numbers move in the right direction. The most successful people write things down. If you are looking for that extra spark or edge to get you over any weight-loss hump, start recording what you eat.

The other great thing a food diary does is give you a no-excuse look at what you consume. You can look back at your daily caloric intake from 3 weeks ago and ask yourself, “Did I really eat ALL that?” It helps gain some perspective.

If your weight-loss plan doesn’t call for calorie-counting, recording what you eat is still a great indicator to whether the food you consume is right for your workout regimen. If you are lifting weights to add strength, you need adequate protein. You must avoid empty calories or foods with little nutritional value. If your workouts are mainly cardio-based in an effort to shed pounds, you can track the foods you are eating and determine if they are healthy enough and packed with enough energy to help you get through a workout.

Begin recording what you eat to really help your weight loss numbers. You will have a much better idea and record of what is going into your body. It may be just what you need to achieve all your fitness goals and meet any New Year’s resolutions.