8 Empowering Health Journal Prompts to Help You Eat Intuitively
Having a good relationship with food and eating intuitively go hand-in-hand—so this is a natural progression. But I find that many people who want to reject Diet Culture and begin eating intuitively don’t know where to start!
Well, after reading the blogs above, here is the perfect place. 😊
This thing that can be daunting for people is the concept of intuition. For some reason, many of us don’t believe we have the “gift of intuition” (which is BS, by the way. Everyone has intuition.) Sadly, we’re taught to discount and distrust and tune out our intuitive signals as we grow up—especially as it relates to what and when we eat.
When you eat intuitively, you are constantly listening to the signals your body is sending you. You begin to be able to differentiate between physical and emotional (or even soul) hunger, you touch base with your body before every meal to understand what it needs most in that moment, you understand fullness cues, well, fully, and you’re better equipped to take care of your body and finally feel the way you wished diets in the past made you feel.
But if you’ve never tried cultivating a strong communication signal between yourself and your body, intuitive eating can be super confusing.
That’s where this blog post comes in!
If you’ve ever wanted to try eating intuitively, I highly recommend grabbing a notebook or journal (snaps to you if you even have a dedicated health/wellness journal for this!), find a comfy spot and a nice cup of tea, and give the following journal prompts a go.
First, let’s tackle Diet Culture:
- Consider your beliefs around food, health, and diet. Do you hold any beliefs that you can trace back to Diet Culture?
For example: If I get hungry before my next meal I should just power through my hunger, because my body doesn’t actually need food.
If I gain 10lbs I must be unhealthier than before. The skinnier I am, the healthier I am.
I need to own a scale. Weight is the most important metric of measuring my health.
- Make a list that contains foods that you restrict or limit. Do your best to understand why you limit them. Are they truly bad for you or do you limit them based on fear?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Just simply write down a list that is as short or long as you want, and consider each of the foods on it.
For example: I limit pizza because it’s full of gluten, dairy, and oils that make me feel like crap. (that’s legit!)
I limit bananas because they are full of sugar and sugar will make me fat. (hmmm… is that all bananas are, is sugar?)
- Jot down 1 to 3 things you could do in the next 48 hours to let go of and move past any of these limiting beliefs around diet and food.
For example: I delete MyFitnessPal (calorie counting and macro tracking app) so I can begin to listen to my body’s natural cues instead of trying to balance my macros and stay under my calorie limit.
- What would it feel like to never worry about your body (the weight, size, and shape of it) anymore?
For example: If I could stop worrying about the way my body looks and whether my abs are showing, I’d enjoy family dinners more. I wouldn’t be silently obsessing over everything that went in my mouth. I could be more present with my loved ones.
Okay, time to practise honing your intuition and strengthening your communication with your body! These questions are designed to get you in touch with how food makes you feel physically and emotionally.
Remember, intuitive eating does take constant practise, but it’ll get easier as you go. Keep up with it!
- Without judgment, reflect on your eating patterns—do you eat mindfully, mindlessly, or somewhere in between?
For this one, it might be helpful to consider each meal you ate yesterday, as it should be pretty fresh in your memory and you’ll be able to remember if you were eating on the go, at your table, in front of your laptop, with family, etc.
Staying present and mindful while eating is a great way to practise intuitive eating. Eating while distracted makes it really hard to actually listen to your body, so give this a go.
And yes, eating mindfully for a full 20-minute meal can be really challenging, just like meditating for a full 20 minutes can be really challenging! To start out, take one mindful bite at the beginning, middle, and end of your meal, checking in with your body, how you feel, and your fullness level.
- What does physical hunger feel like in your body? What does emotional hunger feel like?
You may want to wait until the next time you’re experiencing these types of hunger to answer this question.
For example: Physical hunger feels like a gnawing in my stomach and low energy, and physical weakness. Emotional hunger feels a lot like boredom.
- Time for another list. What foods and meals make you feel nourished, energized, and strong? When you’re hungry and pressed for time, what quick and easy meals or snacks sustain and energize you?
For example: wild salmon and sweet potato are two foods that make me feel really good when I eat them. Also, green smoothies. The lime, avocado, and ginger, seem to work together to energize me and keep me full for a while.
A quick snack that I love is apple with almond butter.
The last journal prompt is about emotional hunger and understanding your emotions better.
When you’re physically hungry, it’s time to eat. When you’re emotionally hungry, and turning to food when you don’t actually need it, you’re hungry for a fulfillment of another kind. Sure, food will seem like a great place holder, but the emotional hunger will remain until you are emotionally fulfilled.
So the next time you’re feeling emotionally hungry, instead of grabbing food, ask yourself the following questions.
Even if you aren’t currently emotionally hungry, these are still great questions to ask yourself while reflecting on past experiences, to understand how you typically cope with and nurture your emotions.
- What am I feeling? What do I actually need right now? How can I nurture myself in the most compassionate, effective way?
An example: When I am excited about something, an accomplishment I’ve made, I feel like I need to eat something to celebrate (even if I’m not hungry). It feels like a longing in my heart and core. What I actually need is to do something fun, to let off steam, because I’ve been working hard for a long time. What I really need is a break to do something I don’t always get to do. A nice long walk by the river, taking an hour to just enjoy the sunshine, visiting a friend, etc.
There you have it! I hope you find these prompts helpful on your intuitive eating journey.
If you’re reading this and craving more on the subject—you’re in luck. On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. MDT I will be hosting an hour-long interactive Zoom session on Intuitive Eating 101. To dive even deeper into the subject, you can click here to get a ticket!
Free for members. $10 for non-members. 😊