23before23 #4: Keeping a Food Diary

Okay, *big breath* I am going to be talking about my personal eating habits, and eating disorders mainly focusing on EDNOS / atypical eating, and although this won’t go into any graphic detail, I just wanted to give a heads up before anyone who could potentially be triggered or affected continued reading.

Ok cool let’s go!

Having struggled with my eating, and continuing to do so, I’ve always been told and felt conflicting things about food diaries. Around Christmas time I was asked by a doctor to keep a food diary, and I did! In fact, I have kept it every day since.

Keeping a food diary, particularly for someone with an eating disorder can be a really difficult step to take. Personally for me, every time I logged in any food I would get an instant pang of guilt, if anything, keeping a food diary made me feel like the pages were almost judging me, and I felt as though I needed to alter what I was eating to feel okay when I wrote down what I had consumed.

I totally understand that everyone is different, and every eating disorder is different too! Some people keep food diaries to make meal plans, as a way of altering their diet for the better which I think is so cool! However for myself, a person with an atypical eating disorder, I found (at first) keeping a food diary quite triggering and distressing.

Don’t get me wrong, over time it just became second nature to write down my intake, but in all honesty I don’t think it ever got easier, just felt like ‘one of those things’ that I just got on with!

I am in the very early, confusing and delicate days of recovery, if you are familiar with atypical eating disorders, I am sure you understand the emotional and mental rollercoaster that comes along with recovery.

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have an eating disorder, speaking with my therapist we have whittled it down to a few sources that could have caused it to spike and present itself over the past thirteen years, but I do believe that it is something consumed my brain for my whole life.

Trying to go into the next few months of therapy with an open mind, I am also being more open to the dreaded food diary! I’ve been given a much clearer way of wording it rather than writing literally “i ate x y z today”. Now I am encouraged to write down every sip of water, a piece of chewing gum, a meal, or whatever it may be, and how each of those make me feel. I found this pretty intense an idea at first, but in reality, it is exactly what I needed. If I feel guilty, I can write it down and let it out, rather than letting it consume my brain.

Whilst I am sure the future for me in my recovery will be challenging, I am feeling positive, at least for now. With recovery, there are a million ups and downs, being pulled back to shoot forward, to taking several steps back, and running leaps and bounds in the direction of recovery.

It is super scary, I’m honestly terrified, however, I have managed to keep a food diary for over 6 months nearly and that in itself is a massive achievement for me and my eating disorder!! My ultimate goal is to not focus on controlling myself emotionally over food, but to have control over my disordered eating.

Writing about this is a very freeing, if not horrifying experience. I definitely do want to write more about atypical eating disorders in the future, but maybe in a few months time when hopefully I will have a clearer understanding of it myself, particularly my own eating disorder that has controlled me for over such a long time.

All the best,

Journaling Maddie xxxxx


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22 & online journaling day to day life

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