Sometimes during my therapy sessions my therapist has assigned me homework. In the beginning she asked me to read a book by Geneen Roth. She has asked me to have conversations with people in my life. The last homework she assigned between sessions was journaling.
This past week I’ve been journaling on and off surrounding my eating. My therapist gave me two assignments regarding journaling.
- Journal after a slip (a binge). Usually after binge eating you want to escape what you just did – at least I do. I tend to slink away feeling horrible and try to immerse myself in an activity that will let me forget what just happened. My therapist instead suggested this week if I slipped and binged that I should force myself to think about it and face it afterwards. I should journal and ask myself what happened and why. If I started a binge I should stop as soon as I can, even in the middle, and start writing.
- Journal before non-hunger eating. The other type of journaling I was supposed to do was before eating anything I wasn’t hungry for. Basically if I wanted to eat something but wasn’t physically hungry – I needed to journal first. I was to promise myself I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I wrote about it first. I had to give myself permission to still eat it later after my pre non-hunger eating journaling.
Those were the two times I was supposed to journal this week. I only ended up doing the second because I never encountered a binge or even the desire to binge this week. Despite being crazy busy (or maybe because of it?) I had no time or desire to binge eat.
I did do quite a bit non-hunger eating journaling both before and after eating. I didn’t always eat the things after journaling but I did realize I often am eating without being hungry. The reason why? About 80% of the time it was because someone else was offering me food or suggesting something. I seem to have a hard time saying no to people offering me things to eat. This is true with coworkers and with my family.
Journaling made me realize that I also am usually eating less-than-ideal food choices during this times. When I’m actually hungry I gravitate towards vegetables, meat, whole grains… you know, good stuff! When I’m not hungry but still want to eat I almost always gravitate toward sugar and fat filled foods for emotional comfort reasons. And often what people offer me are these same foods.
It was an eye opening experience journaling this week and learning what pushes me towards eating when I really don’t need to. I’m curious to see if this continues or changes as I keep journaling during these encounters.
This post is part of my blog series about therapy for disordered eating. See other posts in the series: Finding A Therapist, The First Session, Being In Control and Binge Eating, Suffering, I’m Stronger Than That, Skipping The First Bite.