It wasn't like I had this illusion where I thought I always looked great. I'm what I call a yo-yo dieter/exerciser. Prior to my "aha" moment in July, I had tried various diets (South Beach, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Detoxes, etc) I would hit the gym every now and then; go through spurts where I would "work out" for a month. The truth is though, I never really saw myself as heavy or out of shape. It wasn't until I saw that picture that I realized I needed to do something, and something serious.
So I held steady through September and October. Like I said, I was seeing results, feeling good and breaking goals. Getting into November, I realized that I was starting to see a drop in progress. I wasn't gaining weight, but I wasn't really seeing the results I had seen in the prior months. I didn't get discouraged though. I stepped back and looked at the big picture. How much time was I spending working out? How was my diet/nutrition? Was I working smarter not harder? So I started doing some research.
My workout buddy, Lisa, suggested www.411fit.com This is such a great tool to help in tracking what you eat and how you workout. I like that it gives a grade each day and it helps you set your goals and work towards them. I was able to see how much protein, carbs, sodium and fat I was taking in each day. I could also see how much time I was REALLY spending working out and what activities helped me burn the most calories.
I think that in any fitness program and nutrition routine you need to track what you're doing. That's helps you see what you're really doing. You can't argue what you track. You've got to be honest and write/record every.single.thing When you look back at the week, you can say, "Wow, I think I over did it on the carbs this week" or "I need more protein" or "Man! My goal was to get 3 days of cardio in and I only did 2! Next week, I'll make sure to keep on track!"
Tracking, helps you see your progress, keeps you honest, maintains your motivation and helps you work towards your goals! I recommend that everyone use some sort of tracking system.