I’m a big advocate of keeping a food journal instead of logging your food. A journal encourages you to work through your feelings, but logging details can sometimes lead us down a dangerous path.
Obsessing over Details
For many of us, food has become a substitute for love, companionship, or mental stimulation. Or eating has become something we do when we’re stressed.
Many of us aren’t really struggling with knowing what to eat. We’re struggling with our feelings and making bad choices. We diet, because we want to have control, and we want to feel better.
But what ends up happening? Our diet becomes just has unhealthy and obsessive as our emotional eating was. We begin obsessing about ingredients, carbs, calories, macros, etc.
What we really crave is a new relationship to food.
Keeping a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal where we write down everything we eat might seem counterintuitive if we’re trying to get away from obsessing over everything we eat, but a food journal is much more about how we feel about our food than what we’re eating.
The first purpose of the food journal is to be intentional about what were eating. Too often, we shovel in the food on autopilot without thinking about what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. Writing things down makes us think about it.
The second purpose is to work through our feelings about food. We write down how we were feeling before we ate, how we feel while we’re eating, and how we feel after we eat.
What We Can Learn
Our food journals become a place to look for patterns to learn our hunger and satiation queues. We also look for patterns to try and identify emotional eating trends. The goal is to get to know ourselves and to understand our relationship to food.
For me, I learned that when I’m feeling lonely, I turn to food. I also discovered that my husband and I often use food as a way to say, “I love you.”
While buying someone dinner can be a beautiful thing, it can also be an excuse not to relate to one another in a healthier way, an excuse to avoid talking about the reason you feel lonely or disconnected.
The beauty of keeping a food journal is that you can start defining and understanding your relationship to food and start to explore alternative behavior to emotional eating.
Most women living in modern, developed nations have an unhealthy relationship with food and their bodies. Keeping a food journal can help us identify trends and figure out what is and isn’t working for us.
Have questions? Concerns? Drop me a comment and let’s talk!