Want to get into better physical shape? If your only focus is on losing weight, you might be setting yourself up for failure. For example, what are the habits in your life that are keeping you from getting healthier? I used a calorie chart (also known as a food log), to discover what I REALLY needed to lose.

In the process I dropped twenty pounds.

What I learned is that a calorie counting chart can open a window inside of us; a way to find out what's driving us -- motivating us -- to do the things we do. My experience has convinced me that one of the best tools you can use when you get serious about improving your health is a calorie chart or food log. Why? Because these simple tools don't lie. If you put accurate information into your calorie chart, it will give you accurate data back. Data you can use to improve your life one tiny bit at a time.

As it turns out, that's all it takes to win the battle of getting healthier. One small step after another.

Here is a quick list of 'losers' I discovered I needed to shed before I could get to my next win. See if they will work for you, too.

Loser #1 -- Inflexible attitude.
I struggled with this loser. Maybe you have, too. This is the I-don't-want-to-change-what-I-eat-because-this-is-how-I've-always-done-things loser. Truthfully, this is a tough habit to change simply because it's subtle and difficult to spot.

We are creatures of habit. To improve our health in any way means breaking through our ingrained patterns and making tiny changes. Simply going left when we usually go right. Eating at the table instead of in front of the TV...at least twice a week. Agreeing with ourselves to have a glass of water before we eat...anything.

There are a thousand ways to make little adjustments in our daily lives and our attitude is the place it all starts.

Now, the good news is this inflexible attitude will be our new best friend, if we train it right. Imagine your inflexible attitude telling you that you can't eat an extra 500 calories today because that's not what you do in this body. And imagine you feeling complete peace about that. With practice, it can happen.

Your calorie chart will tell you what that 500 calories looks like for you. Your attitude will tell you what to do with that information.

Loser #2 -- Sticking with only a few food choices.
We all get into ruts. Doing the same thing at the same time in the same way. It's often true of our eating habits, too. For example, my family has the same ten meals that we like to eat over and over again. I find this is true of other families, as well. A food log shows you these food patterns and you can use this information to add more variety into your diet which, in turn, will make your new eating habits feel more like an adventure, rather than something you dread.

Using the data from my calorie counting chart, my family's favorite meals got an infusion of healthier ingredients. Plus we all benefited from trying out a fresh recipe every week or two. A happy side effect I didn't expect is that now I have more options when it comes to dinner planning and it's easier to get a healthier meal on the table in record time. Many families struggle with the late afternoon "what's for dinner" dilemma. Losing your self-imposed limitation of only a few food choices will mean winning a greater variety of yummy food options at your dinner table.

Loser #3 -- Out of control eating.
A calorie chart puts you in the driver's seat. A food log is a lot like a household budget. Far from being a straitjacket, a budget is a liberating tool. Instead of guessing at your finances, you can see EXACTLY what you have available to spend, what you have already spent, and what is left over.

The simple act of keeping track of what you eat and drink will give you amazing control over your diet. A calorie chart will help you determine how much to eat for your optimum health. After that, you are in total charge of how to spend those calories. You'll find every day belongs to you when you 'lose' out of control eating and 'win' back the freedom of running your own show.

Loser #4 -- Eating by mood.
Let's face it; sometimes it's easier to feel better by eating our favorite food than by taking the extra step of determining more precisely what we need. The trouble is eating to satiate our moods only reinforces our struggles with this losing habit. Eating to elevate our moods works against what we really want.

A calorie chart can help us untangle our thoughts when it comes to mood related eating. By learning the patterns of what we eat and when, along with what types of foods we crave when we're feeling different moods we can win this part of the losing game, too. We can even give ourselves exactly what we need when we need it and save lots of calories in the process.

Winning by losing in the game of getting healthier is often a matter of opening ourselves up to new ideas and embracing the adventure of doing something a little different than we did it before. Using easy tools like a calorie chart will help us practice these concepts effectively and puts us in the driver's seat of our own minds and bodies.

And that's a place where we are destined to be winners.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and get 5 proven calorie chart strategies you can use today.