Pick Up a Pen, Not a Fork

Watching your weight? Who isn’t? One thing about food is that it’s always there, and we all have to deal with it in a healthy way—three times a day.

Whether you want to gain, lose or maintain your current weight, awareness of food habits is always important. So often we hear about counting calories or “points,” eliminating sugar or wheat, focusing on exercise, portion control and smart grocery shopping. And all these are good tools, but none of them will work long term if the emotional issues around eating are not addressed.

Enter a very effective ally in the battle of the scale, and it is free, easy to use and noninvasive.

We’re talking about putting pen to paper.

Practiced consistently, picking up a pen instead of a fork will not only moderate appetite, it will restore the body to balance and release emotional tension. Writing about feelings allows them to dissipate without causing harm in the form of unwise food choices or binges.

Here are four ways to use a pen instead of a fork to befriend, instead of battle, food issues.

Hot Writing – This is “anything goes” writing, and the motto is “all’s fair on paper.” Keep a pad of paper and pencil, or pen, in your purse, car, backpack, on your kitchen counter, and on your desk at work. When emotions arise and you are triggered to eat—instead of feel—grab a pen and curse, cheer, condemn, shout it on the paper. This is a safe place to vent, because you’re going to rip up the page and throw it away when you’re done. Be aware that unexpected good news as well as bad can be a trigger. Sometimes we eat to celebrate.

Pay it Forward – Planning a dinner out or a brunch with friends? Take a few moments to jot down a few sentences about how you want to act and feel around the event. Putting in writing your positive intentions alerts the brain to follow along with your plan. Sounds almost too simple to work, yet it does.

Nighttime Notes – Instead of midnight raids on the refrigerator, keep a pen and paper on your nightstand. A vague urge for food in the middle of the night is often just an emotional nudge. Spilling your thoughts on the page, even if they don’t make much sense, will quiet the urge to splurge. You can read the notes in the morning to see if there is a pattern to the nighttime scribbling.

Give Thanks, and Not Just on Thanksgiving – Jotting down a few things you appreciate every day is an excellent tool for boosting mood and overall well-being, which contributes to a balanced appetite. Also, by listing all the things besides food that are there to be enjoyed and appreciated opens up a whole new way of looking at your life.

Claire Rabe is a Phoenix-based author, journalist and writing coach who has written health, lifestyle, career and business features for more than 20 years. She has written two nonfiction books, ghostwritten and edited several others, and led writing workshops for new authors. Rabe coaches writers who want to go to the next level with their work. Connect with her at Cerabe1@Yahoo.com.



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