How-To Journal for Food Freedom: Uncover what is holding you back
Do you journal?
I do. Daily.
I have to say, after years of making this a regular habit-I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. Hands down, it is one of my TOP self-care activities that helped me change my relationship between food, my thoughts, and my body.
I strongly believe that to heal from chronic dieting, distrust of our appetites, and body size/shape dissatisfaction, we must uncover the thought patterns that hold us back from finding peace with food & our bodies.
I find that intuitive eating & body acceptance is largely a constant practice of re-framing our thoughts and feelings-dozens upon dozens of times a day!
This is where I find keeping a consistent journal practice is most helpful. When I write something down, I can actually see my thoughts (and the distortions) much more clearly when they are literally spelled out right in front of me.
If I write something and it makes me tear up, yup, that's an area I need to dig deeper in.
Do I keep writing the same damn thing over and over? Yup, probably need more work on that area.
For example, looking at my old journals, I was constantly writing things in the thread of, "I can't be attractive at a higher weight."
I remember feeling so sad and distraught with this belief. I never felt I could be ENOUGH as is, I needed to be smaller to be more valued and lovable. Whew, girl. Let me tell you, this belief I had kept me absolutely terrified of gaining weight and being alone forever if I stopping dieting.
This is SUCH a common fear I hear from clients- whether single or in a relationship. That fear of not being enough is deep in all of us.
Good thing I am a stubborn woman. I knew dieting and restriction wasn't how I wanted to live for the rest of my life, so I pushed myself to re-frame this super painful belief by writing down some counter arguments:
"I cannot read people's minds about what they do or don't find attractive"
"I do not exist on this earth to BE attractive. I am so much more than my body."
"Attraction is so much more than appearance, it is personality, sense of humor, and shared values."
And so on. I'll admit, at first I was doubting my rebuttal. "Yeah, but looks still matter" kinda thinking. Sometimes I struggled to find a decent counter-argument.
But I still did it. Each time that wound came up in my journal, I would heal it with my own words. I did it over and over again, until it made sense and I could believe it deeply and truly.
To my surprise, it got easier. And faster. And it was working.
I found it easier to let go of my old beliefs about my body, my value, my food choices, and my health concerns.
If re-framing your thoughts sounds like too much right now, that is ok. Keeping a journal still has value, as starting to be AWARE of what you are thinking is a very important starting point. I always say, awareness is step 0.
How-To Journal for Food Freedom:
Start writing daily, aim for a chunk of time that feels realistic for you- pick 5-10-15 min a day and stick to it.
Use a timer to alert you when your writing session is over. Of course if you are in the groove you can keep going.
Keep the pressure off. There is no RIGHT way to journal. In the beginning, write whatever you want, it doesn’t need to be profound every single time. Write about the feelings you had about food, or your body, or a fight, or how a TV show made you feel. Write about your dream, your hurts, your highlight or lowlight of the day. Write what you’re grateful for. What you are mad about. Just put that pen to paper. Remember, there aren’t any rules except- give it a shot.
When you notice a pattern of hurtful/disordered thoughts- try to explore that more, and work on re-framing your beliefs.
Happy writing! Let me know how it goes :)