In this post I’m going to share some journal prompts that can help you develop a better understanding of your binges, and also improve that all important relationship you have with yourself.
Listening, reflecting and being open to what’s going on is the foundation of almost any good relationship. And we know that judgement, closing up, pushing away and criticizing certainly does not make a very happy relationship. Take a moment here – are you treating yourself in a way that would classify as a loving relationship?
If you’re not there yet – it’s okay. We all have to start somewhere.
Journalling really helped me so so much in healing my relationship with food and myself. I found balance, and journaling was a part of that process.
Grab your journal and just write down some stuff! It will feel weird to start with, but it’s well worth developing the habit. Keep it next to your bed (or somewhere you chill) – and open it every day. If you do that, then you’re already on the path to healing, because only someone who is ready to face themselves and understand would take the step to listen to themselves like that. (And it’s okay if you’re not there yet. Just keep working towards wanting to understand instead of shut down).
Prompt 1: What happened?
An obvious place to begin; describe what happened.
Start from the situation. Were you at home, or staying away? Are you on a trip or stuck in the house? (Writing this from lockdown, so chances are it’s the latter!)
Prompt 2: What I think I’m feeling
The reason it’s what you think you’re feeling is because you don’t have to know for sure. Sometimes writing can feel like homework and you may believe you have to write the correct answer. But no, you just need to take a guess. Especially to begin with. What do you think you feel? Once you write something down, keep going. You might begin with the fact you feel ashamed. But dig deeper, what else is there? Maybe there’s fear, or exhaustion underneath the shame.
Prompt 3: How I ate
How – not what. Of course you can write what you ate, but this isn’t all about the food, this is about the eating of it. How did you eat it? Quickly? Covertly? In front of the TV, in front of the fridge? In bed?
If you do write down what you ate, this can be useful in the bigger picture to see what kind of foods you gravitate towards and why. But the truth is, a binge can get you eating anything. I used to binge on carrots! If I just focused on the food, I would have missed out on the other stuff I needed to understand.
Prompt 4: Why I think it happened
Let me tell you straight up, you might not know why you ate the way you did. You’ll also be inclined to go down the rabbit hole of your old narrative: “because I’m lazy, because I don’t have willpower, because there’s something wrong with me”. You know, if you want to just get it out there – just go for it, but please don’t stop there!
Go past these ‘character flaws’ you think you have. Now, a warning – this could go on a while! But that’s a good thing. Spend time on this part each day, or whenever you can. Why – keep asking, why? WHY god why?! Yeah, get dramatic – because you know, there probably is layer after layer of deep stuff to go through.
Prompt 5: What can I take from this experience? – What did this experience show me?
Is it easy to journal? Nope. You’ll feel stuff. But there’s nothing quite like having those lightbulb moments. When you start to see patterns and things click into place. When you give yourself the time to ask questions – you’ll get answers. It’s a weird thing that. Often you just ask yourself something, and you’ll know how to do it.
If you find that actually you don’t really know what to ask – then, and I know this is easier said than done – but therapy is going to be a right pal here.
Therapists know how to ask questions and they know how to listen. I had therapy for a few years, and although it was pricey, the help I got from it was worth it all. What also happened was that I would imagine I was talking to my therapist sometimes, or I’d know there was someone who knew what I was going through.
I used to take my journal into therapy and discuss some of my insights and feelings.
I have years worth of journals under my bed. Years of outpourings. I re-read them recently, and you can see my progression. I did self-esteem exercises. I kept digging. I kept wondering – and you can see the path from hatred, to being kind and loving. And here I am now, sharing what I’ve learned with you.
I would highly recommend journaling if you don’t do it already – and if you do, I hope you find these prompts useful to you.