If you have just started intuitive eating or are a veteran looking for more tools, a journal might be just what you need. Journaling is a great way to track your progress, keep track of your challenges, and record your successes. A journal is an ideal place to start if you want to improve your relationship with food. Food is fuel, but it can also be a source of comfort. Keeping an intuitive eating journal can help you track your moods and diet. It’s perfect if you’re starting your intuitive eating journey.
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An intuitive eating journey involves giving up diets and repairing your bond with food. You consume everything you want, honour your cravings, and grasp the signs of hunger and satiety that dieting frequently blocks.
Long-term dieting/bingeing cycles are difficult to break, making adopting a new lifestyle and mindset difficult. Putting all of your trust in your body and accepting your cravings as they are, rather than dieting, may be difficult if you have spent 20 years doing the opposite.
Journals can be helpful during your intuitive eating journey, not for recording calories or macros but for providing clarity. Soon, you will see how beneficial journaling can be.
Why it Helps to Document Your Intuitive Eating Journey
Using a journal for your intuitive eating journey is entirely optional, but many people have found it very beneficial.
Journals can be a great place to explore your feelings, track your progress, and address any issues. Whether you decide to use a physical notebook or an app on your phone, you can use it to track your eating habits, record your thoughts and feelings, write down things you appreciated about your day, make plans, and so much more!
Having a reference for the entire intuitive eating journey, from deciding to give up dieting to encountering various difficulties and challenges, is helpful when you document your journey.
Here are some reasons it can help to use a journal to document your journey to being an intuitive eater:
Express Your Feelings without Food
When you begin to practise intuitive eating, you’ll also have to get a hold of your emotional eating. Some people still rely exclusively on food for comfort and support.
Journaling gives you another way to express your emotions or feelings, find clarity, and cope with them besides eating them. This can be a beneficial alternative to just eating your feelings.
You might find these intuitive eating journal prompts helpful.
Track Your Progress
It’s important to note that tracking calories burned or calories or macros consumed is not a good idea. However, there are plenty of other things you can track in your journal that can be helpful if you want to rely on how food makes you feel rather than how you think it affects your weight.
It is helpful to have a better understanding of the foods that enhance your well-being or hinder it as you proceed with your intuitive eating journey.
Focus on Balance and Moderation
Suppose you have just come from dieting and exercising excessively to maintain or lose weight. In that case, you may find the transition to abstaining from exercise and eating all your favourite foods difficult. The more stringent your regimen was, the more difficult it will likely be at first.
Recording your eating and exercise habits in your journal will help you maintain proper balance and moderation, particularly when it comes to exercise and healthy eating principles. Write down how you felt after certain foods, what foods you ate, and how you put your meals together.
It’s essential to approach it in a way that preserves your freedom while still listening to your body and craving what you want.
Make Notes About Exercise
One of the principles of intuitive eating is adding in exercise but feeling the difference. You exercise for fun and health, but not for weight loss or changing your body composition. It feels much different when you choose to do yoga for relaxation or walking for cardio fitness instead of hours at the gym every day to burn as many calories as possible.
Write down in your journal the exercises you tried, when you tried them, and whether you enjoyed them or not. Remember that you don’t want to force yourself to perform any activity you don’t like as you begin your journey to intuitive eating.
Notice When Your Habits Change
Using your journal for intuitive eating will help you recognise when your habits begin to change for the better. You will start to lose the more toxic and negative habits you used to have as good routines develop.
It is normal to experience a few bumps in the road while trying to eat intuitively, but keep at it and trust that the process will work for you if you let it.
After trying to be intuitive for a period, you will begin to see patterns in your eating habits. You will notice when certain situations provoke a specific reaction from you. This is when you need to take a moment and ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
Once you have these patterns identified, you can change them by deliberately choosing a different reaction as your first instinct. This can be anything from what you eat to how you view your body.
Food Journaling VS Tracking Your Food
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that while you might keep a food journal in your intuitive eating journal, it is entirely different from tracking your food when on a diet. The purpose of using the journal is to distinguish between foods and describe the physical and emotional reactions to eating each food. Furthermore, you keep away all judgments and criticisms of your food from the journal.
What to Include in Your Food Journal
Instead of noting down the macros, calories, or portion sizes, you should track how each meal makes you feel in your food journal. Here are some examples of things you can keep track of when it comes to your food:
What you ate – It’s up to you whether you want to be very specific or very general, just don’t forget to include everything you ate. But leave out all numbers and macro-related statistics from your list of what you ate.
Why you ate – It might help to include a little tidbit about why you chose to eat that food. Maybe you had a craving for it or were in between meals but suddenly felt hungry for a snack. Sometimes you eat just because something sounds good or because you’re at work and don’t want to miss your lunch break. Eating for many reasons is acceptable, and keeping track of them helps you on your intuitive eating journey.
Your hunger scale – If you are an intuitive eater, you already know your own degree of hunger. Record your hunger level before eating and your level of satisfaction after eating on a scale from 1 to 10.
How you feel – It’s also a great idea to include how you felt before, during, and after your meal in your journal. Including some mindful eating techniques in your journaling process is a great idea.
What to Be Careful of
Be extra careful when you are keeping a food journal. Even if you aren’t writing down calories or macros, you might use it as a way to restrict yourself mentally.
When you practice intuitive eating, you should not count calories in your head or look at the list of foods and feel guilt or shame over your choices. If something is triggering you, recognise what it is and try and avoid the triggers! Keeping a journal can provide various benefits, aside from recording your food.
Focus on How You Feel, Not What You Ate
You may choose to use a journal to help you get in touch with your inner voice and eat intuitively, but you don’t want it to be about food at all. To accomplish this goal, you will forego food tracking and journal about your experience.
Instead of focusing on your food during this process, you will focus on your emotions and finding clarity. Here are some things you can do:
Your History with Dieting
This is a simple way to begin journaling while intuitive eating. Just write about your history with dieting and your body image. Try to go back to when you were a kid or a teenager, to the last moments you remember being a normal eater. Before, you cared what your body looked like, and before, you felt like you had a food addiction.
You can provide as much information as you like. However, it would help if you tried to identify when you first started dieting and why. This will give you valuable insight into your current situation.
Your Intuitive Eating Inspiration
Have you ever been inspired by someone or something? Did you ever reach a point where you were so sick and tired of dieting and disliking your body that you just wanted it to be over already? Write down what inspired you to become an intuitive eater in your journal.
How is it Going so Far?
Even if you have been intuitive eating for a long time, there is still some progress occurring. That might be foods you’ve tried to put on your forbidden list, moving beyond one food you always avoided, or simply testing the waters in the beginning.
Your Ups and Downs
There will be ups and downs with anything. You may feel elated and inspired about the process at certain times or unsure if it is working. List any ups and downs you can recall.
These can include your strengths and weaknesses in intuitive eating, where you are feeling optimistic, and what is causing you to question what you’re doing. This is all-important and vital to your journey with intuitive eating.
Your Feelings About Your Body
It is vitally important to work out issues you have with your body, why you want to make it smaller, and why you are afraid of gaining weight. This is a big one, and it will generate a variety of entries along the way.
Having the courage to express how you feel about your body and why you want to lose weight will give you the clarity you need.
Stream of Consciousness
Finally, create some stream of consciousness journaling pages where you just write down whatever occurs to you first.
You might have a day where things are going well, and you want to talk about what you have learned, or days where your thoughts are so scattered that you jump around to 10 different topics in minutes. These can be helpful to get those thoughts out of your head and get to the bottom of your emotions.
Finding Clarity Through Honesty
More than just recording what you eat, journaling your intuitive eating journey is a chance to work through your food issues and reflect on your inner experiences.
Using journaling prompts to pinpoint your dietary roadblocks can help you gain insight into your journey and determine where you might be getting stuck.
Here are some ways to find clarity by journaling your intuitive eating journey.
Be Open and Honest
Being completely open and honest is critical if you want journaling to work for you. You must be honest with yourself and figure out why you started dieting and whether or not you are pleased with the outcome.
Have you been unconsciously estimating the calories in your meal or forcing yourself to eat vegetables because you think they are healthier? Write it down! Your journal will not be of much use to you if you are not honest about what is going on in your mind.
Keep Your Journal Private
Many people fear that someone will find their journal and read it, which causes them not to be as honest as they could be. If this is the case, find a way to hide your journal and keep it private.
Keep your journal where no one else ever goes, or get an old-fashioned diary with a lock and key.
If it makes you feel better, be sure to keep your journal private and away from prying eyes when you write in it to be as honest as possible.
Embrace the Changes in Your Body
It can be helpful to write in your journal about your body image. We want to continue to emphasise how being honest with ourselves can be beneficial.
It’s easy to talk about body image and body positivity as if you don’t care if you gain weight, but you may find that you are just forcing yourself to feel this way.
Remember that it’s OK if you aren’t happy with your body right now and that gaining weight scares you. Write about how you feel about it, what you think about when you look in the mirror, and WHY you don’t like the size of your body. Dig deep because that is where you will find your true feelings and help you move on with this process.
Avoid This Common Pitfall of Intuitive Eating
It’s critical to keep in mind that your journal shouldn’t function as another way to limit what you eat or how much you consume mentally. If you notice that it is heading in that direction, stop what you are doing and reconsider how you utilise your journal.
It’s difficult to determine if you’re restricting mentally unless you’re aware of the signs. Here are some examples:
You eat foods you don’t enjoy eating. When you record what you consume in your journal and see that you are regularly adding items that you do not like but that make for a more balanced meal, you are likely to be mentally restricted.
You choose not to eat more of the other foods you like and, instead, load up on vegetables because that is what you think you are supposed to do. This is not the same thing as gentle nutrition or when you just really love veggies, fruits, grains, or any other food you used to label as healthy.
You only eat portion-controlled meals and snacks. It’s possible that you want extra chips with your sandwich for lunch or that you want to consume the entire burger but choose to split it instead. If you’re adhering to the amounts you usually ate while dieting, you may still be restricting.
Your meal times are the same as they have always been. It’s OK to eat at regular meal times if your schedule permits, but if you wait hours for a snack just because you think you haven’t waited long enough, that would be a form of mental constriction.
You stop eating at night, even if you’re still hungry. It is a common occurrence, and you learned it from diet culture, not your body. If you’re sitting on the couch watching TV before bed and suddenly feel starving, you can eat!
You are still afraid of sugar or refined carbs. You may still see some foods as unhealthy even if you have the word “junk food” in your head, or you may be mentally restricting certain foods. In either case, you must allow all foods. This is still a form of restriction.
It’s terrific to document your intuitive eating journey, but sometimes you might notice you’re mentally restricting yourself while journaling. Please pay attention to these small signs and write them down.
Keeping a journal while working on your intuitive eating is beneficial. Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas on how to do so. Writing things down is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings. It is also an excellent way to track your progress. When you are done with your intuitive eating journey, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.