First of all, a big thank you for all the support after I posted my first month's results. It not only makes me feel good about the changes I've made so far, but keeps me motivated to make another big loss before next month's report, so thanks!
As with all the 'advice' I post, I can only speak from experience, and tell you what has worked for me. Below is the system I use to track my own weight loss, and if you think a similar system could work for you, then by all means, read on!
Here is a picture of the spreadsheet I use to chart my journey. Click on it for a bigger view!
The first column is just the date, and it really helped me to have a definite date by which I wanted to achieve my weight loss. It gives you goals, and a timescale, and helps you visualise yourself at the end of your journey - I can look at the chart and say "by my brother's wedding, I'll have lost 87lbs", rather than just "I will lose 87lbs eventually". If you're having trouble picking a suitable date, simply work out how much you want to lose in pounds, half it, and look that many weeks ahead on a calendar. This gives you a manageable 2lb loss a week until you're target weight is achieved, and if there are any holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc within say 4 weeks of that date, use that as your target - even if you're off by a couple of pounds, you'll have seen such an improvement by then that you probably won't mind!
The second column is my target weight. I knew I wanted to lose 100lbs, and had 228 days before the date I set. That gave me how much weight I had to drop a day, so simply subtracting that amount every day and entering it into this column told me what the scales needed to show if I was to be on track. It gives you a sense of the progress you'll need to make, and can be used as a target to aim for.
Column C is my actual weight, which I check every day. I know I have to expect some fluctuations up and down, but recording every day, and making that weigh-in part of my normal routine, keeps my intention in the front of my mind. The first thing I do every morning is weigh, so the first thing I think about every day is eating well and exercising. Helps to keep me focussed!
Column D is simply how many pounds above or below my target weight I am. It changes a lot day in day out, as obviously weight fluctuates, but it gives some perspective to how well you're doing vs. how well you need to do, so you know if you have to up your exercise, or if you can afford to rest for a bit. It also helps, after having a couple of days gaining weight, to see that you are nonetheless still on track, and can afford to have a few blips without being thrown completely off the rails!
Column E is my daily loss or gain. I use this to micro-manage - if perhaps I overeat on a Tuesday, I can see how that caused me to gain weight on the Wednesday (or conversely, how going for a run on Thursday helped me drop weight on the Friday etc). It is prone to the occasional fluctuation, but on the whole it helps me see the consequences of my actions, both the good ones and the bad!
Column F I only fill in on Monday, to record my total loss over the previous 7 days. This is the figure I report on this blog every week! Its a handy at-a-glance way of seeing how you've done over the last couple of weeks.
Column G is my notes column, and this one I see as very important. Using my target weights in Column B as a guide, I write in here at every weight I will have dropped a BMI number, every time I will have passed another half-stone hurdle, or any weigh-ins I remember from the past. These are my mini-targets. For example, in the image above, you can see that when I passed the 294lbs mark, I was no longer 20+ stone, but now 19 something, and if I just dropped 2.6 more pounds, I would have a BMI below 37. These frequent mini-targets are much easier to aim for than a dreaded "100 lbs" figure, and you get a regular burst of satisfaction when you pass one.
Finally, I have my total weight loss to date automatically updating after every weigh, and I have it in a large font right at the top, so even if I'm coming in to log a gain, I can see how far I've already come, and it spurs me on. I've also put a little converter on there too, so I can plug in my weight in lbs every morning, and see how that translates into kgs, stone, or BMI.
So there you have it! It has worked wonders for me, and I often check it several times a day, just to look at how much I have already achieved, how far until my next mini-target, or to mess around with graphs or averages or what not. If you think this kind of system would work for you, then I strongly recommend it, as it has so far worked wonders for me.