When we struggle with food, weight and body image issues we spend a lot of time rumentaing in our heads. Often what we tell ourselves is negative and self-destructive and sends us into a downward spiral. Try these body image healing journaling prompts to get out of your head and back into your body for more self-love and spiraling up.
Journaling is an effective tool I ask my clients to use and I provide them with the appropriate questions or prompts to open up their curiosity about their struggles. Why and when are certain behaviours and thoughts happening?
How does this then impact your eating, moving your body and your life in general?
In an effort to change your mindset and habits with food and your body, I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: A pen and piece of paper can serve as a powerful life tool.
If you’re not a journaler, it’s time to try something different.
What’s so good about journaling?
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create and feel.
In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.
It happens because you allow your subconscious to surface and help you to heal what needs to be healed.
When you put pen to paper, you begin to unravel and open doors that remained closed for years, potentially decades. You begin to hear yourself, feel yourself and trust yourself more and more.
I particularly love it as it’s hard evidence of where you started and where you are now. You can see the journey and your progress in front of your eyes. Particularly important for all those perfectionists out there, that fail to notice their progress.
How it helps?
Through writing, I slowly accepted my body’s natural shape. Step by step, I began to be fascinated by what my body could do, and how it truly looked without my distorted view of it.
Writing often helped me to express what I hadn’t yet been able to say.
Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily. Five minutes is all it takes.
You will find that like anything new, it may take a liitle time to get into it. But it’s like a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Moreover, my clients love doing it. Once they get into it if they’re new to it, they can see the value in it.
I spent most of my twenties and thirties feeling very out of control with food, my weight and body image. Fad dieting and an obsession with exercise, lead to a life with Bulimia Nervosa. After fifteen years of this I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I knew something had to give and if I kept treating myself like this, I could end up dead. In the post I explain how I turned that all around and 5 ways you can rebuild your relationship with food and weight.
How to rebuild your relationship with food
So, how do we restore food to its proper place in our lives, where we can enjoy eating without guilt and judgement, and find a healthy balance without the obsession?
By becoming someone who eats mindfully.
“Mindful Eating is using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body. By acknowledging your responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment. Whilst also becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating, so you can rebuild your relationship with food (The Centre for Mindful Eating, 2017).
Someone Who Eats Mindfully:
*Acknowledges that there is no good, bad, right or wrong foods or ways to eat, but varying ways to eat and enjoy the experience of food.
*Accepts that their appetite and eating experiences are unique them.
*Is an individual who by choice directs attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis and does not worry about what was eaten in the past or what may eaten in the future.
*Builds awareness of how they can make choices that support their health and well-being.
*Practices mindfulness to promote balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is. Such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, walking, gardening, ti-chi.
5 ways to rebuild your relationship with food
Eating mindfully means eating undistributed or whilst multitasking. Turn off your TV and computer, silence your mobile phone, and put away the book or magazine you’re reading, so you can focus your attention on your meal. This may feel quite awkward at first. However, it will pay huge dividends over time to how and how much you eat.
1. Plan for your meal to take at least 20 minutes. It takes at least this amount of time for your stomach to register fullness, so you’ll be less likely to eat past the point of comfortable fullness.
2. Truly taste your food. A couple of delicious cookies eaten mindfully can be much more fulfilling than an entire packet eaten while distracted. A classic mindful eating practice involves eating a raisin (yes, just one raisin) or you can do it with single chocolate. Over a 5 to 10 minute period, first looking at, smell, feel, and even putting the raisin or chocolate up to your ear and listening for any sounds while rolling the raisin between your fingers or the sounds of the chocolate wrapper. Slowly placing the raisin or chocolate on your tongue and allowing it to melt for a minute or so. Then, chew it slowly and really savour the taste, before swallowing. That is the full eating experience using all of your senses. Give it a try.
3. Rate your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10. With 1 being absolutely starving and 10 being absolutely Christmas lunch stuffed. Check in with yourself several times a day to gauge where you are in terms of being physically full. Ideally, going below a 2 or 3 would not be advisable, as being ravenous (and possibly light-headed or hypoglycemic) might also set you up to binge and/overeat. Furthermore, try to not go go above a 7, as this would probably be both uncomfortable and perhaps a sign that you’re eating for emotional rather than physical reasons.
4. Be aware of your emotional triggers to eat. If you’ve rated your hunger levels as 5 or 6 and you’ve eaten anyway, first of all that’s okay, however you’re not eating for physical reasons. Try asking yourself, What am I really hungry for?What am I feeling right now?You might be feeling lonely, sleep-deprived, bored, angry, or anxious. Try to address these needs directly, rather than eating to cope.
5. Face life head-on. Being preoccupied with food is a way to hide away from the stresses of life (albeit momentarily). However, if you rebuild your relationship with food, it means you won’t have to turn to food as a distraction. Ask yourself, What does focusing on food do for me? What am I avoiding? Turning your attention to your emotions and to the present moment, however pleasant or unpleasant, is preferable to hiding your head in the sand. Because at the end of the day eating won’t make your problems go away. It may only make them worse.