The Write Thing to Do…
December 9, 2013
It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone if I confess that I love words and I love writing. I also have another love - My WLR journal.
Journals are not new to me. From a very early age I have penned my thoughts on a daily basis. A recent clear-out of my parents loft resulted in the discovery of one of my childhood diaries in which, at the tender age of nine, I had taken up most of February and the whole of March and April with my declarations of love for an International skating star and my wish that (in an ideal world) he would marry me.
Of course he didn’t marry me, but then we don’t live in an ideal world and my world at the age of nine is very different from my world today. However one constant has been my habit of committing events, ideas and thoughts to paper.
In terms of my weight loss journey I am an emotional eater. In the past, when I was upset I would reach for “quick fix” food; when I was stressed I would reach for “quick fix” food; when I was tired I would reach for “quick fix” food…
I would also write down my feelings (often with the pen in my right hand and a chocolate bar in my left hand) in order to try and untangle them in my brain and put them in some kind of sensible format that I could get my head around.
It is amazing, when you are in “the middle” of something, just how easy it is to allow it to disorientate you… to throw you off kilter, to leave you feeling confused or baffled. It is easy to just keep chasing a thought or idea round and round in your head without actually getting anywhere. That’s when writing things down and reading things back can be a way of getting clarity in any given situation.
One of the reasons WLR works is because it gives each of us the opportunity to be accountable for our actions and choices. One of the key tools is the ability to log our calorie intake. It allows us to view the nutritional value of everything we choose to eat and drink; it allows us to plan and prepare in advance and it provides a record, at any given point in time, of what we have consumed. Likewise, with the exercise diary we can keep a record of how and when we “moved more”; we can document our exercise history and use it to “forward plan”. We can also look back and review our progress with all our “history” being easily available.
I would imagine that most of the WLR members regularly update their food and drink records… and many of us regularly input and update our exercise diary… but what about the journal? The food diary allows us to document the ”eat less” part of our journey, whilst the exercise diary documents our “move more” progress… but what about the “getting my head round it” aspect of the journey…? The journal provides an opportunity to document the mental (and often emotional) journey. I commented in the past (and will no doubt often repeat in the future) that, in terms of the weight loss journey, what goes on in our heads is just as important as what goes into our mouths and as such it is really important me to be able to not only revisit eating habits and review my exercise pattern but also to have access to a record of my “state of mind” during my weight loss journey.
At times when I am stressed, under pressure or feeling overwhelmed I turn to my journal to express all that is going on in my head. It is often rambling, makes little grammatical sense (and sometimes borders on the rantings of a madwoman)… but, to me, it is a way to relieve the “pressure cooker” which lets me unscramble my thoughts and decant them so they take up no more of my valuable headspace. It allows me to put things into black and white - without emotion or feelings colouring whatever issue it is that I am dealing with.
Just as importantly, it allows me to cast a clear eye over all aspects of my weight loss journey. It is really interesting to re-read my journal entries and then to cross reference them with my eating and exercise diaries. I can see the days when I had a stressful time and gave into the temptation of the chocolate bar and I look back to the days when I used exercise as a stress-buster. I am reminded of days when I am consumed by guilt by the cheese pasty I consumed and the days when I am elated by the endorphins released after I hit my mini-trampoline as a way to deal with the difficulties of the day.
Those times when I am really struggle to muster enthusiasm for my continuing weight loss journey I can read the diary of my journey so far… I can see how far I have come… I can see where and when my emotional minefields have blown up before me and those other times when I have successfully navigated them. I can see how much a “bad day” can affect me; I can use what I have written already to help me make my way slowly forward. It allows me to clearly see the “story” of my journey; to put it into context; to move on from issues and to learn lessons that will serve me well in the future.
So why not resolve to make your WLR Journal an important and valuable part of your weight loss journey.
Go on… you know it’s the “write” thing to do…
With a hug