6 Ways to Wean Yourself Off of Food Journaling
So about a year ago, I wrote an article about food journaling and how I couldn’t get off of it, even though I really wanted to.
Well, I have to say, I am still trying to wean myself off of journaling and so I have put together something for us hard-core food journalists to become more of an “intuitive” eater (whatever the hell that means) versus someone ruled by calories and macros; especially if you are not getting ready for anything in particular like a bodybuilding competition or an athletic event of some sort.
Related - 6 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
Don't get me started on “intuitive” eating. I intuitively would eat a cake every day and my intuition would thank me. Really, I am talking about thinking in your head what you should eat versus crap maybe you should minimize or get rid of altogether.
How to do this is usually a food journal of some sort. It may be an online app like Myfitnesspal or actually writing it down, but either way, you write down all the things you put in your mouth so you are aware of what you are really eating.
In this way, the food journal helps tremendously. You are more aware of what you're eating, you lose weight, you get that job, marry your lifelong crush, have kids and live happily ever after, right?
Well, not exactly. Once you get married to the love of your life, have 2.5 kids and have a ton of cash on hand, you have now become a slave to your food journal and are so paranoid going out to swanky restaurants that you eat lettuce for dinner and count it.
When food journalling starts to rule your life, Houston, we have a problem…
6 Ways to Wean Yourself Off Food Journaling
#1 - Ditch the Phone
Leave your phone at home when you go out. Sounds lame, but it's true. If you use an app that tracks your food choices, and you are planning to go out for dinner, don't look up the restaurant at home and don't take your phone. It will do two things for you.
You will have to actually engage in conversation with those around you and you will have to make better choices without knowing the macros or the exact calories for the food you're eating (unless the restaurant has that on their menu).
Now, I am not saying go all crazy and eat whatever you want—you still need to make better food choices which leads me to the next way that you can wean yourself off of food journaling…
#2 - Make Better Food Choices
This is a big “duh” but really, people think if they aren’t tracking they can secretly eat whatever they want. Um, last I heard that is exactly why you were food journaling in the first place.
Don't go back to a dark place because somehow you think if you don't journal the calories don't count. They still count. Your welcome.
#3 - Think About Food in a Different Way
I know, would you have needed a food journal in the first place if you were in a good place with food? Probably not. So, with that being said, doing brain and head work as to why you overeat is important.
Why do you eat a second helping of food when you are full? Why do you binge on Nutella? What is it that gives you such satisfaction when you eat? Do you eat crap or do you eat clean?
These questions can answer a lot and help you when you are struggling to know what to eat without the comfort of the food journal app.
#4 - Get Your Booty Moving
Get out and move your butt. Get your mind off of food for a while and get out of your own head by exercising. Sounds so simple, but sometimes it can be hard when your friends or spouse wants to go out all the time and you are surrounded by food.
However, suggesting a long walk after dining out or doing a bike ride before lunch may be fun and help with your food journaling preoccupation.
#5 - Delete, Delete, Delete
Yes, I spoke what may be an unspeakable thought to you-delete your food app. If you are doing a written food journal, just put your pen and paper away in the other room, but if you have a food journaling app, delete it-there is no shame in that game, seriously.
You can always get it back if you need it, but deleting it makes it more…final. Like, OMG I now have to live my life without my food journal, what am I doing with my life? How can I go on? Sounds lame, but don't laugh. That is exactly how many people feel without the crutch of the food journal.
Making good choices is scary because they matter. When you eat out, there are many pitfalls you have to be aware of, but I will save that for another article altogether.
#6 - You Can Have Food Freedom Forever
OK, well I haven’t gotten that far in my own journey, but I have put down the food journal part-time, which is huge. There are ways to obtain more food freedom. Those ways are to change the way you think about food.
If you are truly using food as fuel then you are doing it right, and I find you annoying. If you love food like you love your children, then I totally get that; however, even foodies can have food freedom.
Enjoy it, love it, hell, even sleep with it, but do it on a smaller scale-pun intended.
When your food journal leaves you tethered to it and incapacitated with eating without it, then you have an issue. Food journaling was meant to make you more aware of what you put in your mouth, not be another albatross around your neck when you go to eat something.
Freedom from journaling only comes when you are ready to make a change, to go out on a limb and be liberated from the constructs of being chained to something that was only supposed to be used as a tool.
Removing the journal, deleting it, making better choices and getting your body moving can help to culminate in making food journaling a thing of the past and keeping your weight off. Good choices are a habit that can be done without journaling.
Should you never use a food journal? Of course not. Use it as a tool, but not as a crutch to eat more when you don't journal.