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Video: The Food Journal

The easiest and best solution for awareness is a food journal. The clients that have the most success in losing weight, keep a food journal. They pay attention to what they're eating.

Join in as Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School talks about the importance of keeping a food journal.

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Episode Transcript:

Hi, it's Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School, and today, I'm going to talk to you about the food journal.

Whenever I bring up the idea of a food journal, everyone goes in to post traumatic stress syndrome. Nobody wants to keep a food journal. I didn't want to keep a food journal. I know that from all those years of dieting, from all those calorie-counting days, you may feel like keeping a food journal will make you crazy. Sometimes it will bring up some much stuff, because it requires you to pay attention. If there's anything that causes us to gain weight, more weight than we want to gain, it's not paying attention.

The food journal is the opposite of not paying attention. It's the opposite of letting yourself go. So being willing to write down everything you eat is really the first step in your commitment. Yes, it's difficult. I understand. Having to stay aware of what you're eating, and be able to write it down is not something that you're going to be able to do on the sly. You're going to have to keep your brain engaged. You're going to have to pay attention. Most of us have this post traumatic stress, because we use our food journals as a weapon against ourselves. We used it to count up our calories and we used it to berate ourselves for what we ate.

Those days are over. The only reason we are keeping the food journal now, is awareness, curiosity, and fascination. Being able to pay attention to everything that goes in your mouth, all throughout the day, requires you to pay attention to yourself. Most of us are overweight because we aren't paying attention to ourselves. We are starving for our own attention and we're trying to quelch that starvation by feeding it food. We don't need more food, we need more of our own attention. Think of every excuse you have right now, for why you don't want to keep a food journal. Write those excuses down, and then start keeping a food journal. Start writing down everything you eat.

Now here's the excuses that I get. “But what about when I go to a party? I'm not going to be able to just be writing down everything I eat? What about when I go to a restaurant?” Here's what's true. You don't have to stop in the middle of a party, although I do have clients that do go to the bathroom and write down what they ate. You don't have to do that. But here's the thing. If you're really paying attention, and making a note of everything you eat, you should be able to remember it.

What happens is, most of us go to parties, have a little bit too much to drink, don't pay any attention to what we're eating, we're just eating, eating, eating, eating, and then to be able to remember that in a conscious state later, is very difficult. Even if you're not writing it down, at the party, what I'm asking you to do is stay conscious enough. Make enough mental notes that you know what you ate. I could tell you everything I ate yesterday, very easily. First of all, it's not a lot of picking and grazing, and unconscious eating, so I'm able to remember it. Most of it is a very conscious planned decision, so it's easy to remember. If you are having a hard time remembering what you ate yesterday, it's probably because you aren't aware.

The easiest and best solution for awareness is a food journal. The clients that have the most success in losing weight, keep a food journal. They pay attention to what they're eating. So many of my clients have come to me and said, "I don't know what I’m not losing weight," and when we're able to go back through those food journals, we can see the reason why. We can evaluate the fuel that they're eating, and see if it's working for their body. We can evaluate how much they're eating, and if they're really eating between those twos on the hunger scale, and if they're not, we can make adjustments. If we don't have those food journals to look at, we can't make any changes, because we don't know what needs to be changed.

If I could come through the camera, and grab your shoulders, and say, "Please, please, please just do this," it would be to keep your food journal. When you start keeping that food journal, you may start feeling like, "ugh, all I'm doing is thinking about food. All I'm doing is thinking about myself. I'm having to stay conscious." It may bring up some negative emotion. That is part of the process. It doesn't mean stop keeping a food journal and go unconscious again. It means pay close attention to what you're eating, and also notice, are you using that food journal as a way to beat yourself up? You don't need to stop keeping the food journal - you just need to stop beating yourself up.

Remember, the food journal is for curiosity, fascination, and awareness only. So please, get yourself a little notebook, and start writing down everything you eat from now on.

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