Track Your Feelings, Not Your Food

1 Apr


I reluctantly agreed to keep a food diary, when my therapist suggested it during our first session recently. Before beginning my journey into intuitive eating, I had been tracking and logging every morsel of food and drink that passed my lips with rigid determination. By controlling my weight, I was trying to control my feelings.

When I decided to become a Mindful Muncher, I knew that I needed to let go of my constant quest to maintain an “ideal” calorie intake. The vigilant calorie-counting had intensified throughout my years of distressed eating. I progressed from simply totting up the daily count in my head to using an online calorie-counting tool. This weight-loss website allowed me to not only track calories accurately, but also to scrutinize the exact nutritional content of the food I had eaten throughout the previous day, week, month, or any other particular time period that I specified.

So you can understand my trepidation at the thought of beginning another food log. But, my new diary is not about calories, fat or carbohydrates. It’s more about my state of mind, my emotions and my internal “body talk”… and how these factors relate to the way I eat.

Despite my original apprehension, I found the diary extremely helpful in getting in touch with my emotions throughout different times of the day. In addition to recording the time, location and content of my meals, the diary also forces me to ask myself how I am feeling at the time of eating. Subsequently, this exercise prompts me to ask myself why I am feeling the way I am, and to follow up with the question: “Is there anything I can do to help myself feel better?”.

There have been incidents throughout the week when overwhelming emotions have made me consider having a good old food splurge. But, the prospect of recording this binge in my food diary has made me think a bit harder about following through on my cravings.

The diary is yet another anti-binge tool that I can add to the collection. So, for that reason alone, I have come to appreciate what a positive thing a food diary can be, and would recommend it to any one who is trying to overcome distressed eating.

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