Mind Fit Food – 5 Tips for Keeping a Mindful Eating and Fitness Journal.
Today one of my clients shared her story about how she avoided prescriptions and medical bills simply by using awareness.
Before we started working together, she had noticed her energy waning. She didn’t have the spunk she once did. And so she called her doctor to talk about it.
He told her she should come in for some tests and set up an appointment. But as soon as she got off the phone a little movie popped into her head.
In the movie she went to the doctor’s office, was tested, and received inconclusive results. The doctor admitted they weren’t sure what was wrong, but gave her a prescription just in case.
She imagined trying this pill and that until she was on a bunch of medication she didn’t need. As soon as the film ended she realized there had to be another way.
Soon after she signed for Mind Fit Move distance coaching. When she called her doctor and told her the plan, he replied skeptically. He told her good luck but to call back when she wanted to set up an appointment.
Mind Fit Food
At the end of out first meeting her what I call a Mind Fit Food log. It’s a simple journal that helps my clients track what they eat, what they do, and what is going on in their minds.
It’s little more than a Google doc with dates and instructions. Yet, I’m amazed again and again with the power of this simple tool.
She took to her journal more than any other client I’ve had. She recorded what she did, ate, and thought religiously. And the change with amazing.
She started to recognize all her eating patterns. Her tendency to alternate between vegging out and moving about frantically. And how gardening made her sore.
Every time we met over Skype she had a new insight and a deeper understanding of who she was and where she could make a change.
She learned not only what was out of balance in her life, but also which parts of herself she loved and wanted to keep that way. And she did all this just by keeping a simple journal.
When we spoke on the phone today she told me that her energy has returned. But that she felt calmer and more spacious then she had felt in a long time.
Hearing her story reinforced in me the belief that the simple act of keeping a journal can be truly transformational.
Mind Fit Food – 5 Tips for Keeping a Mindful Eating and Fitness Journal
1. Do it at the same time everyday –
The key to consistency with any habit like journaling is to do it at the same time everyday.
When I write my personal mission statement the first thing in the morning I get it done. When I put it off, it often doesn’t happen.
I try to write in my Mind Fit Food journal at the same time every night. I take a few minutes to reflect on the day and write down what I ate, what I did, and how I felt. If I miss the evening, I do it first thing the next day along with my mission statement.
The key is to pick an already established ritual or habit. Whether it’s your bedtime routine or your morning coffee, the key is to add it to something you already do. That way you will remember to do it everyday.
2. Keep It Simple –
Keeping a journal can be a complex and overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be. You aren’t writing a memoir you are taking lab notes. Your journal should be simple to write and easy to read.
If you can keep it simple, it will make it easy to review and notice habits and tendencies you may not be aware of.
These are the 4 categories I include in all of my clients journals.
Write down a summary of your mood today. You can list morning, noon, and night. Or just write a few words or a sentence about the day.
Write down any physical activity you did today. Even if it was just a short walk write it down.
Write down what you ate today. Write in broad strokes. The purpose is to get a general picture not every crumb.
Write down anything else you noticed about the connection between these things.
If you didn’t notice anything you don’t have to write anything down.
For each of these the amount you write is up to you. You can write one word for each category or a paragraph a piece. The important thing is that you do it consistently.
3. No Judgment –
For many people this is the hardest part about keeping a journal. It’s essential you do your best not to judge what you write down.
And here’s why:
Guilt is not good fuel for change. If you’ve ever guilted someone into doing something you know this. They may do it, but they do so begrudgingly. They may resent you and ultimately the trust between you erodes.
When we try to make a change using guilt the same thing occurs. Our trust in ourselves erodes. We begin to doubt our ability to take care of ourselves and make better choices.
So try to keep your journal like a scientist might. You are merely observing yourself dispassionately. Think of your journal like the lab notes of a benevolent observer.
4. Share Your Journal
Sharing your journal can be scary but it’s important. When we share our journals, we let other people into our world.
When we share our journals we not only honor others with our vulnerability, we also learn to accept ourselves. Most of us have a secret fear that if others see who we truly are they will reject us. This fear drives a lot of unconscious impulses and habits.
But when we share ourselves willingly we uncover many of these hidden agendas. Sharing is an act of bravery certainly, but it’s also an act of deep faith in ourselves.
Share your journal with someone you trust who will be gentle and kind. Their job is just to read your journal at least once a week and ask about anything they notice. Ask them not to make any statements of judgment, but just to ask question about any patterns they see.
Just like you the more scientific and kind they can be the better.
(If you can’t find anyone send me an email and you can either share your journal with me, or I’ll help you find someone else who can support you.)
5. Review Your Journal
One of the best things about keeping a journal is doing a regular review.
Looking at one day in someone’s journal is like looking at one square of a map. You get some information but you can see the whole picture.
But when you look at a week, a month, or even 6 months of someone’s journal you start to see patterns emerge. And it’s these patterns that help you see your unconscious habits, your hidden tendencies. And these are the very things holding you back from living a balanced life.
In addition to the 5 tips above there are a few things I encourage many clients to add on to their Mind Fit Food journal.
These little extras add more happiness, order, and peace to the habit of keeping a regular journal. I recommend you don’t pick more than one to start with. And drop any of them if it makes you less likely to journal.
- Gratitude – Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
- Positive event – Describe one positive event in your journal every day.
- Act of kindness – Describe one act of kindness that you did today or one act of kindness you will do tomorrow.
- Victory – Write down one thing you did well today.
- Forgiveness – Write down one thing you would like to let go of. It can be something you have done or something that someone else has done.
The process of keeping a Mind Fit Food journal doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. I usually write my journal in the matter of 5 to 10 mins. And I include many of the bonus suggestions in my morning reflections.
The key to successful journaling is to just do you best to observe yourself with the love and compassion like a good mother would. A good mother see’s their child as beautiful and perfect, but also see’s that their child has room to grow.
Be gentle and kind to yourself. Notice what you can about your life using this simple tool. Because what you notice and learn about yourself is more powerful and honest than anything anyone else will ever be able to teach you.
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