I started my first diet nine years ago, to lose my unnatural adolescent chubbiness. I joined track to lose weight. I did the long jump and triple jump. I should have sprinted more but I was slow. Nevertheless, beyond track, I had a burning desire to lose weight because of my body image issues, which in addition to being chubby, developed from having gynecomastia, or man boobs.
In my diet journal I tracked as much as I could remember in a day. It was silly thinking about it now, and I’ve unfortunately lost those diet journals. But I remember one had a green cover, and the other I forget, but both were just note-taking journals with lined-paper. I had messy handwriting, and I scribbled in everything I ate, and I kept a separate journal for my workouts.
It’s almost 10 years later, and I do not track anything I eat for a few reasons:
- I’m not on a diet and don’t plan to be on one for a long time
- I don’t eat the same thing every day
- My goal is energy, health, and happiness
- I don’t measure any of the above, so I wouldn’t be able to do anything with the dietary information anyway!
The cost of maintaining a diet journal
The obsessive tracker usually wants to lose weight. The emotional cost of this burning desire manifests as writing in journals, tracking, posting pictures online for accountability, telling everyone about it, and in general, focusing really really hard on your goal.
The cost of maintaining that diet journal is emotional investment. It’s the same kind of investment you make in a romantic relationship. There is attachment. You adapt, learn new things, develop new habits, and think differently. With time, your identity may completely change.
Why it’s so hard to stop
Because of this bond with your diet journal, learning to call it quits is difficult. Even when you realize that your diet isn’t serving your highest purpose and healthiest self, you’ll persist in habits that you have simply become comfortable with. The only way to stop is to become okay with the uncertainty that is to come. It’s unavoidable.
We love to resist that change, because we have to basically split up, ending our relationship. The comfort vanishes, and it takes new brain cells and emotions to adapt. But once you show up to the process of change, you begin moving forward, and the change becomes enjoyable.
My splitting with my diet journal
It took me a while to stop tracking what I ate. I never used any online programs; I simply wrote it down, and I did this in order to lose weight. Ultimately, I stopped tracking because it wasn’t helping. But I continued undereating and overexercising because my desire to be lean was still there.
I wanted that body. I don’t have that exact body anymore, but am in love with myself. It’s cliche, I know. But to be truly confident, you can’t doubt yourself. You don’t have to be ignorant; you can understand where you want to improve, but understand that right now you are enough. You don’t need to be any more right now.
With that being said, ask yourself: why do you keep a diet journal? What’s the benefit for you? If you’re sick of dieting and you are still keeping a journal, why? Is it enhancing your energy levels? Is it making you truly happy?
Just kill it already, and watch how you grow. 🙂
For more insight on how to eat without rules, restrictions, and with more freedom, get a copy of my intuitive eating guide by signing up for my newsletter below this post!