Analyzing Your Food Journal

Last week I gave you a couple of assignments:

1) Listen to yourself talk.  What are you saying in front of the mirror,in front of the pantry, in front of your kids?

2) Begin recording what you eat. 

3) Read the labels on the food that is regularly in your pantry and in your medicine cabinet. 

Keep working on those assignments. 

Mireille Guilliano  in her book “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, shares how she lost weight gained while living in America for a year and in the subsequent months in France.  She talks about meeting “Dr. Miracle” who taught her how to get back to eating food the French way.   He took her through some steps that got her back to feeling “bien dans sa peau- comfortable in his or her own skin.” (p. 23) 

     “Teaching me to find and maintain my personal equilibrium, to live bien dans ma peau, that was our mission.”(p.23)

He told her to keep track of her eating and then sent her on a mission for the next three months.

     “I was to pare back, finding less rich alternatives, reserving the real thing for a special treat- as it is intended.  This was less   deprivation than contemplation and reprogramming, because, as I would discover, achieving balance had more to do with the mind than with the stomach; it’s about discovering and dealing with nos petits demons, as the good doctor called them……the only truly effective approach is the one that engages your head.” (p. 24)

After three weeks of keeping a food journal, Mireille encourages her readers to analyze their diaries by deciding what is excessive in their own judgement.  She suggests they answer the following questions:

“What could I live without- or at least less of?”

“Which things do I most enjoy: my glass of wine at dinner? an ice cream cone on Sunday afternoon?”

She also encourages her readers to consider all of the things they eat regularly and ask:

“Which of them is giving me real pleasure and which am I having to pointless excess?”

I love when Mireille makes this point:

“One thing French women know is that the pleasure of most foods is in the first few bites; we rarely have seconds.  The things we enjoy we don’t enjoy as a matter of routine.” (p.31)

Simple but brilliant.

I want to add my two cents and ask you some further questions.  When you get past the first few bites and keep on eating, are the rest of the bites feeding your body’s hunger or an emotional wound?  Perhaps those next bites are soothing your frazzled nerves?  Perhaps the rush of life has come to inhabit your meal and you haven’t slowed down yet to pay attention to the sensations and flavors on your tongue that are registering  in your brain?  After seven bites you are finally thinking about what you are eating only to have missed half the meal. 

Make an appointment with yourself  in your planner-perhaps after Christmas while the kids are on break- to peruse your food journal and ask the previously mentioned questions.  Analyze the food you eat and ask yourself what foods give you real pleasure.  Be honest about what keeps you eating beyond the sense of feeling full.  Practice coming to the table fully aware of the fact that you are about to eat and engage your brain at the beginning of the meal. 

You may find that these assignments make a huge difference in the way you relate to food already.

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