A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: A journal can be a powerful tool

on July 30, 2014

Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and support with my little O this week. Writing here Monday night really helped me to cope with all I was feeling in a more productive way than my usual coping mechanism of eating. I tend to write my blog posts at night as a way to sort through whatever is on my mind at the moment. I’ll confess it is not as cathartic as pen to paper journal writing can be, but it is a very close second.

Thinking about the role the blog has served as a journal for me in the last year (coming up on one year in a few weeks!) sent me scurrying off to find my more traditional journals. I’ve never been particularly consistent with writing in a journal, but I do try to write when I’m going through big emotional decisions. Particularly for those of us who struggle with emotional and/or binge eating, it is crucial that we learn to recognize our emotional triggers and learn to handle them more productively. Writing (or vloging if you’re more verbal than written) can help in several different ways.

Benefits I’ve found:

– Taking the time to write anything at all distracts me enough that the urge to eat may pass on its own.

– Beyond distraction, writing and re-reading my words helps me to identify what is really bothering me. Once I’ve identified the problem, I’m working on learning to rationally find solutions, which are not-so-shockingly, rarely actually food.

– If you’re comfortable sharing what you’ve written, either on a message board or blog or with a therapist or spouse, it can help you find support in your struggles. For me, this is helpful because I can articulate things so much more clearly when I’m writing than in stumbling over my own thoughts when I try to speak about something that is bothering me. My emotions can easily get in the way of my tongue. You absolutely don’t have to share what you’ve written though! Just processing the words for yourself can have huge benefits.

– If you keep what you’ve written, it can a helpful tool for looking back at patterns to find what you most common triggers are. Mine are definitely parenting issues these days. It can also be really motivating to look back at prior successes and to see how far you’ve come. I sometimes re-read blog posts about other times I’ve overcome the urge to binge to remind myself that I can do this because I’ve done it before.

Weight loss journal

Similarly, looking back at my notes about the weight loss journey from my pre-blog days reminds me how far I’ve really come. Sometimes in the daily struggle of maintenance, I forget just exactly how huge the weight loss I’ve accomplished really is.

– You don’t have to keep what you’ve written though! Sometimes it is especially cathartic to trash whatever you’ve written (I confess to some therapeutic crumpling, ripping and/or trashing when I was particularly upset with someone and venting on paper).

– On a more positive note, it can also be very powerful to write down your goals and commit to them on paper even if you aren’t quite ready to commit to them publicly. Taking ownership of an idea is powerful even if you’re the only person who ever reads it – you know and that’s enough.

This PDF includes a ton of worksheets about approaching weight loss that can serve as writing prompts to get you started. Leanne has also written about some great examples of using writing to process thoughts and feelings about food to help deal with emotional and binge eating (like this post and many others – check her out and the Beck Diet Solution Workbook that she references as well!).

Do you write? Journal, blog, message boards, other places? I confess I get a particular kick out of reading very old journal entries from years gone past and laughing at my adolescent angst. 🙂

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7 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: A journal can be a powerful tool

  1. Great post! I completely agree that writing is therapeutic. I also find that venting about some stuff out loud while my husband listens helps a lot too. Anything that gets the words out helps it become real and makes things easier to get past for me!

    • I think my husband is grateful for the blog because it has saved him from being on the receiving end of a lot of my “processing” 🙂

      On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  2. leannenalani says:

    I love all kinds of journaling. Thank you for the PDF resource! I saved it and love how there are so many worksheets to use.

  3. I have a slight obsession with blank books and have many of them throughout the house, but I always struggle with what to use them for. With that being said, pre-blog days and pre-MyFitnessPal, I used one that said “I believe” for my weight-loss journal and food tracking. It is so beneficial to track patterns in your eating habits and identify your triggers; using my journal helped me identify that I was a stress eater. I’ve never thought to get rid of some of my writing, although I can imagine it to be very cathartic, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Hang in there, Mama! Saw your post on FB about the little boy bothering Oliver and I feel you! It is so hard to not go into Mama Bear mode. It breaks my heart when Nick mentions things to me that other kids meanly say or do to him and I can only imagine what the teenage and middle school years will be like. I dread it. 😦

    • I can’t imagine what teenage days will be like and yet I know my snugly little guy will be there before I know it!

      I can’t resist blank notebooks either 🙂 I have loads of them. All that possibility on a blank page!

      Sent from my iPhone

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  4. […] suggested good deeds and you get to write about the ones you perform. We all know how much I like writing about things, right? Because things are so busy, it’ll be a good deed a week approach, but still one […]

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