The Binge Eating Diaries: Let’s Talk About Food Journaling

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Well, hello there Friends.

How’ve you been lately?

I’ve missed you.

Oh what’s that you say? You want to talk a little more about the all-confusing concept of food journaling? Well, if you insist…

I’ve heard the pros and the cons – the good, the bad, and the “what the f**k?”

I’ve counted calories, counted items, counted down the minutes until my next snack.

You name it. I’ve counted it.

Part of me finds all of these activities exhausting. Just something else I feel I HAVE to or SHOULD do to “lose weight.”  

But then my wise Mom spat out a line so real the other day – I felt like I’d just been hit in the temple with a truth bomb.

“You make a list for everything else…why not food?”

Well, I’ll be damned.

For those of you who don’t know me well – I am an anxiety-ridden, list-making, sticky note-obsessed Type A kind of girl.

I have lists for work, lists for nights, lists for weekends. I have lists reminding me to make more lists for crying out loud.

Are you LISTening to this madness!?

But I stopped jotting down food moments years ago when I was counting calories down to the piece of gum. I became uncomfortably infatuated with how little I could eat, while still maintaining consciousness.

Now I’m trying something different. Hear me out, ladies (and gents).

A New Way of Journaling

A month or so ago, I started keeping track again in a shiny, pink hardcover notebook. (It’s so pretty I can’t stand it.)

And I feel calmer.

Why? I’m not wasting my precious moments recounting what/how much I’ve put in my mouth each day. I can see it (the kinds of foods, the amounts, and yes – a rough estimate of the calories).

If I’m hungry. I eat. Regardless of what I’ve written down that day. But if I’m bored, or in a heightened state of emotional anything – my little journal lets me know me that I’ve eaten. (I’m not hyper-focused on WHAT I’ve eaten. But I do find it comforting to see it on paper, right before my very eyes. It’s not a scary reminder this time around – it’s friendly!)  

When done mindfully (not obsessively), keeping track in this way can be a thought-stopping tactic. Instead of automatically reaching for the closest carb, I pause and look at my book.

It serves as my very own non-judgmental accountability partner. It reminds me to ask the question, “do I really want to eat right now?” I don’t have to wait for a buddy to be available to pick up my call or return my text – I have my shiny, pink hardcover notebook. And did I happen to mention how gorgeous it is?

IMPORTANT: What I’m keeping is a diary. Not a DIET-ry.

All foods are welcome and I don’t have a calorie cap.

The thing is – I really didn’t have a solid idea of just how much I was eating until I started checking in with myself. But between 12-hour workdays, my movement hour, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, travel time, and you know – the rest of life – my brain is a little full.

A handful of this and a mouthful of that adds up – to overeating, physical discomfort, and emotional tornadoes.

If you’re shaking your head right now, wondering how on Earth I could be writing this as an alumni of GM – a non-diet approach program for healthy and happy living – keep reading.

I know this strategy is not for everyone. Especially in the beginning stages of one’s journey with emotional overeating or binge eating. It wasn’t even a consideration for me for years after my rocky start. In my opinion, it is 100% true that keeping track can become a compulsion. But for the right person at the right time, it can absolutely be another helpful tool for that glorious, overstuffed toolbox we’ve been building together over the past half-decade.  

Don’t rule anything out just because one person said no – and don’t force yourself to continue doing something that just feels plain wrong for YOU.

One size does not fit all. Aren’t we all ridiculously aware of this by now?!


Contact Green Mountain at Fox Run

Contact us to learn more about our 44-year old philosophy for sustainable health and wellness – without counting calories, boot camp work-outs, or restrictive dieting.

We’re here to guide you, but give you tools to solidify your success at home. If you’re ready for real change, give us a call at 802-228-8885; we’re here for you.


So, while we’re already in the deep end, shall we keep going?

The idea of food journaling actually reminds me of another thing that a fabulous Green Mountain guru once said, “The most intuitive eaters always have food with them.”

This is another concept that sounds so good in theory and yet – it’s also not for everyone. For years, I couldn’t have extra food around. If it was there – I was going to eat it. Just try and stop me! Nowadays, I fully understand the power of having those extra, nutritious and delicious snacks around ALL the time – my purse, my car, my office, my snack shelf. I get to choose my snacks over fast hacks.

What does one have to do with the other? What’s working for me right this moment might not be on the menu for you. Hell, it might be off the menu for me next week.

What feels like a fit today might not make sense tomorrow. For example – remember in my last blog when I said I canceled my gym membership and was working out at home? Guess what? I’m back at the gym! (An all-female, small, one-mile-away-from-work gym!) And I’m loving it…again.

So, if nothing else in this blog resonated with you today – remember this: You’re going to change. Your journey is going to take turn after turn after turn. The master plan you created last month probably isn’t going to last for the rest of forever.

Once we accept this – the pressure to continue using a stale strategy starts to lift. If food journaling turns out not to be for you – or you know right now it isn’t –throw it out and move on. But try not to knock it in front of others in case this idea feels right  for them.

Feed yourself for today, work with yourself (not against), pay attention to your needs, don’t ignore your desires, and just keep DOING. Every action you take – everything you try is a step in some direction.

The wrong one? Maybe. But who cares? You tried something. You didn’t sit there frozen in a cube of “what if?”

So, I ask you – what have you tried lately that you’ve found helpful when it comes to food, eating, emotional overeating, binge eating, exercise, or just LIFE?

The more we share, the better we can figure out what the heck we’re doing – together.

Until Next Time,

Jace

P.S. If by my next blog I’ve realized that this whole journaling business isn’t a fit for me any more – please don’t throw this post back in my face. (Unless you so do via a pie, because…well…pie is delicious.)


4 responses to “The Binge Eating Diaries: Let’s Talk About Food Journaling”

  1. SNS says:

    The thought of having to write down everythingfor the rest of my life is something I don’t want to do. But the thought of doing it just for the next 2 weeks makes me smile. Thanks for the freedom to change my mind if it’s not comfortable.

    • Jace says:

      Hi SNS,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this post. I 100% agree that the idea of forever –
      when it comes to almost anything- makes me feel frozen and overwhelmed! I find that focusing on this moment and this moment only is such an empowering way to start trying something new. And if it only works for right now, two days – or 3 years – it’s all okay! It’s not right. It’s not wrong. It’s just part of our journey. 🙂

      I love your phrase “the freedom to change my mind” – that sounds so comforting to me! I’m so glad this post resonated with you.

      Thank you again!
      Jace

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I really resonated with your article. I recently went through a very emotional period and discovered that I was bingeing every night. I say discovered because that is exactly how it felt. And I discovered it through journaling. So I did that for a while – similar to what you described – to up my awareness. And to limit my emotional eating. I have other tools to deal with my emotions at this point and I still have permission to eat but I would rather not at night. And now I am no longer journaling. Because the need for it fell away again.
    But for a while choosing to write down what I was eating and how I was feeling helped me think about the reason I was eating.

    • Jace says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing part of your story with us. I completely agree that some strategies are so helpful for certain parts of our journeys – when we need them! It’s wonderful that you’ve found other helpful tools. I’m so glad to hear that this post resonated with you. Thank you again!

      Best,
      Jace

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Jacki Monaco

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