Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lean Mode, Color Code - Not Your Usual Food Diary

It’s the new year and if you’re like most people, you’ve most likely made some kind of resolution about health and fitness. I’m no different.

As many of you already know, I’m a big fan of Streaming Colors calendars. I’ve been using them for about three years now and have talked about them here and here. It looks like the original Streaming Colors website has made some changes. They’ve changed their name to Color Code Mode Journals and have expanded their product line.

In terms of products, I am and will always be a fan of the monthly calendar. I’m not sure what happened, but it wasn’t until 12/31/2008 that they announced that they would be doing a 2009 monthly calendar and will be sending them out at the end of January 2009. A friendly note to the folks at Color Code Mode: please don’t let this happen again. Since the monthly calendar is the original product, I think it should stay – especially if it has the big following I’m sure it has. If you use their monthly calendar, it does go from January to January, which means nothing is lost (yet). However, I really wanted to start off the new year with a brand new calendar and as of today, I haven’t received my pre-order yet. February is around the corner and I do hope I get it in the mail in time! Also, I like to give the monthly calendar as Christmas gifts, so this year was a bit of a bust in that department. Boo!

I still keep the monthly calendar to record my exercise habits. It’s on my wall staring at me constantly. So if the calendar days are empty, it inspires me to add some color! It’s quick, easy and I feel lost without it.

Last year I invested in the 2008 weekly planner. Though I think it’s a great concept and I’m sure it works for a lot of people, it's just not for me. My main issue with it is the size. It’s not compact enough to just carry around with you and such. Plus, I already have a daily planner, which I lug around and that works fine. Between the weekly planner and the monthly planner, I’m all about the monthly. That thing just rocks. Period! (Sadly, my weekly planner laid buried in my bookshelf completely untouched.)

The new product for this year that I’m really jazzed about and am currently testing out is the food journal, Lean Mode, Color Code - Not Your Usual Food Diary (say that fast three times!). I love this thing for several reasons. First off, it incorporates the whole coloring concept that Color Code Mode is known for. The daily planner pages have a series of circles in them. The more you color, the more your healthy habits shine through. Fantastic! Next, it’s completely customizable, so you can make your food journal as elaborate or as simple as possible. At the beginning of each week, there's a weekly assessment page where you lay out your goals and track if you achieved them or not. There is a similar page for the end of four weeks. Finally, it’s fun to use!

Here’s how I make Lean Mode, Color Code - Not Your Usual Food Diary work for a fathlete such as myself:

- The company recommends using highlighters to color. I find that they bleed a little bit. So I headed over to Target and dropped $6 to buy twistable color pencils by Crayola. You get way more colors and don’t run the risk of bleeding through the pages (I save my highlighters for the monthly calendar). Also, it makes you feel like a kid again because it feels like you’re coloring with crayons (another option if you don’t like color pencils or highlighters).

- It allows you to record your food and eating habits, which according to the Kaiser Permanente study they reference, will allow you to be more successful in losing weight. Wa-hoo! For me, I’ve been listing down what I eat, where I eat it (at home, in the car, restaurant, etc.).

- On the left hand side, there are a series of circles. This is where I rate my food choices. Yellow for fruit*; green for veggies*; burgundy for dairy; red for stuff I shouldn’t be eating (the junky stuff); blue for neutral food (non fruit/veggie; something like noodles – not terribly great, but terribly bad); purple for optimal food (non fruit/veggie; something like zone-style oatmeal or panakes, sushi without the fried and creamy stuff). The color combination gives me a sense of what my day’s food looked like. Was the day favorable or was it challenging? I take special note if I did something special like opt out of my In-N-Out cravings!

- As you know, this fathlete actually likes exercise (despite my lazy bouts). I mark my daily exercise achievements. For me, rest days are considered an exercise achievement (cause there’s a difference between rest days and lazy days)!

- The journal makes you keep tabs of your water intake. I don’t have water issues, but it’s a nice reminder.

- There is a “free” circle. The idea of the journal is to incorporate a healthy habit and not eliminate anything, per say. Instead of giving up something, you have to think of freeing yourself from an unhealthy habit. For now, my “free” habit is to have as many “fried food-free” days as possible.

- The goal for me is to have as many journal days as possible, so one of the achievement circles asks that you record the number of days in a row you journal-ed. This is a tough one, but I figure five minutes a day is all I need. Hell, I can do that in the comfort room!

So far, so good. I’m really liking the journal and it’s making me more conscious of what I’m eating. I’m on my ninth day in a row, so it’s still early. If any of you are using this journal or are interested in using it, feel free to contact me. I’d love to share advice on how to make this worthwhile!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, you can buy Color Code Mode products on their website. Lean Mode, Color Code - Not Your Usual Food Diary can also be found at (at a discounted rate; I don’t know about you, but I’m all about saving my mighty dollar!)

*I’m really bad at eating fresh fruit and veggies, so by giving them their own categories, I’m forced to include them because I’m trying to have as many colors as possible on the circle train.

**FYI I am in no way paid or compensated for sharing my opinion about Color Code Mode products or any of the products I feature in “fierce products.” These are just things that I personally like. However, if you are from Color Code Mode and you want to shoot a gal some stuff to try out, I’d have absolutely no objections to that. I promise to share an honest opinion about it!

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