Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mommy just threw her food journal away....then ate a piece of dark chocolate guilt free

A client of mine, we will call her Rene, sent me an email last week letting me know that someone in her office gave her a really nice compliment. They said whatever she was doing, was working, she looked amazing. Rene forwarded the email to me to allow me to get the credit for pushing her in her workouts. I always tell my students that they are the one's doing the work, I am just there as a guide. Rene pushes herself incredibly well. She goes after EVERY workout and looks like an athlete in every class. Rene and I had a training session a few days later and I let her know I was so proud of her, not only for that email, but because she does look awesome and has worked SO HARD. The first sentence out of her mouth was, "it was a really nice email but I haven't been food journaling and I just don't think I have been totally on track."
I wanted to support Rene in whatever journey she wanted to go on so I suggested we food journal together. I said I would do it if she would- and I don't do food journals. Rene seemed to like that idea so I went with it. I know she works well with challenges and kind threats (I told her if she didn't complete her food journal and give it to me in a week, her next workout would be HELL) so this idea seemed like the right one at the time. I could tell Rene liked the plan.
When I got home later that day, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. This was my idea!??
I eat very healthy and I am finally to a point in my life when I feel really confident about what I put into my body. Its not always kale and oatmeal but its usually the right balance for me. I listen to the feeling I have in my body when I am eating (this is not always perfect, especially when you have a 2 year old) as my guide. I listen to my tummy, feel the energy the food provides and don't think about it too much. I LOVE not thinking about food all the time because I definitely used to be a slave to healthy eating. That sucked. Period.
I started to question my little food journal idea with Rene. Why did I suggest something that I don't even believe in? It might be right for her and she may benefit from food journaling but I realize that I suggested it because that is what alot of smart fitness people say, it's not my idea.
As the week of food journaling went on, I felt more and more uncomfortable whenever I ate. I found myself thinking about food WAY too often, not listening to my body as much and not enjoying my food. I like to eat and move on. I don't like to eat, analyze what I ate, stare at the choices I have made, judge myself based on what I ate....that is what happens in my brain when I food journal.
I understand the idea behind it is to be aware of what you are eating and to make healthy choices, to hold yourself accountable. I am sure for alot of people, the food journal method is a fabulous choice. I just want people to know it doesn't have to be. If it doesn't work for you or doesn't feel authentic then screw it. Tear it up. Throw it away. Do something else. I used to beat myself up if something that "works for everyone else" didn't work for me. I used to think, "I cant food journal, I am a failure, I am a let down, its hopeless." Dramatic, I know, but really-this girl used to be the queen of being really mean to herself. I can look at it now and think........I don't BELIEVE THAT. I don't. If you are reading this and you suck at food journaling and you don't feel good doing it. too. Lets stop. Lets stop and find something else. BELIEVE in your instincts. Don't do what you think you are supposed to. Create your own tools and love them. ahhhhhhhh, feels so much better.
So what does work for me? INTUITIVE EATING. Eating slowly, sitting down at the table, tasting the food. Asking myself if I am hungry and how will this food affect my energy levels or my workout. Setting a good example for my family and trying new things. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, I am so glad you know yourself well enough to make that observation. What feels best to you? Trust that, always.
I wish I would have said things differently to Rene. Instead of "let's rock that food journal." I wish I would have said, "You know what, you need to accept the awesome compliments you are getting. Your homework this week is to ACCEPT and feel every single compliment you receive." That should have been our first step.
Time to use your instincts, your gut instincts, to plan your own journey. Lets rock.


  1. Casey, I love this and totally agree. Being checked in and mindful about what you doing and eating is way more important. How you get there doesn't matter as much :) Love your writing and positivity with all things- it's contagious.

  2. You are so amazing Casey!! I know exactly what you mean. I hate journaling and I hope that some day I can get to the point that intuitive eating is natural. But right now, journaling is a must for me. I have swung between eating crap or starving myself my whole life, I don't know what a normal portion is if I don't measure it. I don't know how to do anything in moderation. :) Although I am working towards that, I don't want to be a slave to a journal for the rest of my life!!!

  3. I love your post Casey.... What works for one person does not always work for another. That is what makes us all individual and unique!!!!

  4. Sarah- Your blog is AHHHmazing and definately helps me find a happy relationship with food. I appreciate you and your message so much!!!
    Monique-I completely understand and was in the same cycle for a long time. I love that you are setting an intention to learn how to find a healthy balance. IT IS POSSIBLE!!! For me, the switch came when I found the right relationship with myself. I really had to learn to value myself the right way. NOT EASY or comfortable but totally worth it.
    Anonymous-thank you for reading and that was exactly my point!!! I am so glad you realize its about the unique path for everyone.

  5. I'm so glad I found this blog! (I just started one that's actually kinda similar!) Food journeling always sounds like such a good idea to me, and then after about 2 days I always think to myself, "I KNOW what's good and what's not. I don't need to write it down!" And so I stop. Unfortunately for me, what's supposed to go in my body isn't always what ends up there. :/ So for now (at least until about 10 pounds come off), I really need something to hold me accountable. Hopefully soon I won't need to be so crazy about it.

  6. Oy, this captured quite well how I feel about food journals, which is something I am doing actively at the moment. Some days I am in groove and I don't mind and other days it feels like a pain. I am hoping I'll develop an intuition for healthy eating and it will feel automatic, but right now I'm learning that I have a lot to learn about the whole listening to my body when it comes to eating. Oh and I just discovered your blog - and I'm quite enjoying it!