If there were only one tool or practice that I could recommend to you for keeping the weight off it would be food journaling. I have seen it make the biggest impact when it comes to keeping the weight off, yet to my surprise, so very few people practice it.
Food journaling is a practice that promotes awareness and accountability. Please note that I am not referring to “calorie counting” although that is one form of this practice. Journaling is an age-old process of self-discovery and the best tool that I know of to become aware of the what, where, when, how and why of anything we do in life.
To not be aware of what, where, when, how and why we’re eating puts us in a very volatile situation where we are making decisions based on guesswork at best or we’re not thinking about it at all and running on old non-serving habits.
I have found that numerous individuals are initially resistant to investigating the facts and/or figures of their eating habits as they are constantly searching for the shortcut or the secret that they will discover in the next diet. This will leave them chasing the latest and greatest trends that are in an endless supply.
When you begin to food journal, you will see the truth appearing right in front of your eyes and it brings a heightened sense of awareness. You might find that you have been eating mindlessly and without much thought and at times even when you aren’t really hungry. This is easy to fall into because we live fast-paced lifestyles along with an over-abundance of convenient food.
Food journaling slows you down just enough so you can reflect on what it is you are about to eat. This alone is sometimes all that is required to make the necessary changes to your diet and break the patterns that have kept you weighed down.
Journaling how you feel before and after you eat is just as important as documenting the type of food that you will be eating. You will see the connection to what degree your mood affects what and the amount of food you consume. This will give you the awareness to view yourself subjectively and be better able to not allow your feelings to dictate the food you consume.
Asking yourself where you feel your stress levels are prior to a meal is a practice I strongly advocate. Assign yourself a number on a scale of 1-10 of how stressed you feel and write it down beside your meal. This is also a good practice to adopt after you have finished eating as well. You can document how you are feeling physically. Are you bloated, experiencing gas or do you feel light and energized after your meal? This will give you the awareness as to what combination of foods work best for you and your digestive system. I promise you that this practice of food journaling will get you out of the dark and shed light on your issue with food, and by implementing this practice you will already be halfway there keeping the weight off.
Inspire to Aspire,
Kris J. Simpson