|So many exciting things happening in the LifeJournal and International Association for Journal worlds!
We offered a new two-month online class which will begin July 6: The Great Journal Experience: Eight Weeks to a Deeply Satisfying Journal Habit. The response has been overwhelming, and we’ve had to close this class to new students. The good news is that due to the big response, we are going to offer the class again–sooner than expected! The next class will begin on September 14 and will end November 8. I strongly recommend that you sign up for the September-to-November Great Journal Experience class right away to be sure to assure yourself a spot.
The next IAJW member telechat is with Mark Matousek, bestseller author of When You’re Falling Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living, a spiritual memoir. And Samara O’Shea’s June telecast is now posted. Telechats—both the live event and the posted recordings—are free to all IAJW members. Sign up for Mark Matousek’s telechat. (Not an IAJW member yet? Join now!)
There are three new e-books available at IAJW: Sheila Bender’s Writing Personal Poetry: Creating Poems from Your Life Experiences, and two books available written by Eric Maisel: Living the Writers’ Life: A Complete Self-Help Guide and Write Mind: 299 Things Writers Should Never Say to Themselves (and What They Should Say Instead). These books are available to both IAJW and non-IAJW members.
Making plans for later in the summer? Here where to sign up for Sheila Bender’s August classes: Four one-week writing classes called ”A Shot of Journal Juice,” and two two-week classes which will help you revise your writing. Try a class with Sheila and you’ll be amazed at how your writing will blossom!
The two articles in this month’s newsletter are (1) how writing a food diary helps you lose weight, and (2) a brief tip on “Quick Reviews” in LifeJournal.
Enjoy the summer; it’s a perfect time to try out new ideas with your journal writing!
Lose Weight by Journaling
Who among us doesn’t want to lose at least a little weight? As we age, even those of us who workout and stay active seem to slip into gaining a couple of pounds every year. After years of even moderate weight gain, that spare tire around the middle begins to show more and more.
How to most successfully lose the weight? Keeping a food diary or journal is one very effective way to lose weight. A study (reported in August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine) asked people to keep a food diary– to simply write down what they ate as the day progressed rather than writing it at the end of the day. The research included 1,685 overweight adults over 25 years old who were asked to eat a healthy diet and exercise and to keep a food journal.
The one factor that made a difference in predicting who would lose weight was who wrote in their food journals most often: Those who wrote what they had eaten six days a week lost on the average TWICE as much as those who made food journal entries less often. The findings showed that you don’t have to keep an elaborate food diary. It seems that the act of writing what you are eating is what is important. And it’s most effective if you write it soon after you eat, rather than at the end of the day.
It seems that the process of reflecting on what you eat—rather than mindlessly eating—-makes a big difference. Once food is eaten, on some level, it’s forgotten. By writing about what and how much you eat soon after you eat it, every meal you eat is first mentally recorded before being physically recorded. I’ve been keeping a food journal for about one week and I can attest that I am more aware and accountable for the food I ingest. I have to think twice before eating an extra helping or dessert. I notice that I’m paring down portion size. Additionally, by recording what I eat, the evidence of my behavior is in writing, and I can later review it.
If you already keep a journal, then adding this food diary component is quite simple. In LifeJournal, I started by creating in the Topics List a sub-topic called “Food Diary,” under the top level topic, “Health.” After every meal or snack I enter what I’ve eaten. Then I assign the topic “Food Diary” to the entry. You could be more specific and assign the topic “Food Diary” only to the passages listing the food eaten. Then, when you perform a search of the highlighted passages, your entire Food Diary history would appear as a document, listed day by day.
You can either keep your food journal entries separate, or you can add more to them, including information about your activities, feelings, issues, worries, triumphs of the day.
To me, the findings of this study reconfirms what we know about journaling writing: journaling is a powerful tool for all kinds of focused, intentional reflection and review.
LifeJournal Tip: Quick Review
Do you know about the Quick Review feature? It’s under the application Tools menu>Quick Review.
The Quick Review will automatically open up a specific journal entry(ies) that you had written in the past. You can easily open a journal entry which had been written one week ago; one month ago; 2, 3,or 6 months ago; and 1-5 years ago–all to the day.
Or, you can select to open a journal entry which was written on just any random day of the past.
This features gives you a chance to quickly see how your life today compares to what it was in the past. It’s easy to forget in the midst of a busy life how you have changed. The Quick Review feature give you yet another way to gain new perspective on your life.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”–Blaise Pascal
“The heart is the first feature of working minds.”–Frank Lloyd Wright