Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Books: The Writing Diet

The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size
by Julia Cameron
Copyright 2008
234 pages

Julia Cameron is most famous as the author of The Artist's Way, a terrific book about creativity and listening to your inner voice.

She also, apparently, has a little problem with her weight.

Interestingly enough, I picked this book up at the Green Valley Book Fair back in May, just before I started on Weight Watchers. I was with a friend and I had been talking to her on the drive up about how I needed some kind of replacement activity for eating, preferably something to do with writing. When I ran across this book, it seemed like an answer to a prayer and of course I bought it. I put the book in my "to read" pile and it stayed there until after I finished the summer semester at Hollins.

I read it all except the last few chapters, then a client gave me some work and then school started again. I ran across it while I was cleaning my office yesterday and I plopped down and finished it so I could move it to my "done" pile.

Cameron writes that she noticed that many of her students grew slimmer throughout the weeks they worked with her, writing in their journals and working on their creative projects. She determined that this might be a way for some folks to lose weight.

Her system boils down to seven things:

1) Write three "morning pages" every morning. If you're familiar with The Artist's Way, you know what those are. Here is a little video about on Cameron's website, if you're interested.

2) Journal every day. This is different from the morning pages, though they could be combined, I suppose. Essentially, you're writing in a journal twice a day. Whether or not you use different notebooks or platforms is up to you.

3) Walk every day. These can be short walks, or long, but walk. Outdoor walks are preferable.

4) Before you eat something, ask yourself these four questions when you have the munchies: Am I hungry? Is this what I feel like eating? Is this what I feel like eating NOW? Is there something else I could eat instead?

5) Make a food date with yourself. That is, give yourself permission one day a month to visit your favorite restaurant, or to go somewhere new. Give yourself some kind of culinary treat.

6) HALT: Don't get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. The book was worth its price just for this acronym.

7) Have a body buddy, someone you can call and discuss your weight loss regimen with on a weekly basis.

She advocates a system of what she calls "clean eating," that is, your basic meats and veggies without added sugar and few processed foods. You know, the healthy stuff we're supposed to be doing anyway.

I think it's a great idea. However, I have never been successful with the "morning pages." I have tried them many times before. I can do them for a little while but I quickly forget the first time I oversleep and have to bound from the bed and head out. And once I skip, I'm done, because I haven't stuck with it long enough to be a habit. I guess I need to just keep trying until it really is a habit.

Journaling used to be something I did every day, but I stopped, and I am finding that it is difficult to get back in the habit. To be honest, I think the computer zaps so much out of me that it is part of the problem. Too much Facebook and email. I am sure social networking is the biggest creativity killer out there.

Anyway, I recommend this book if you're a writer and you're weight conscious. Or if you're weight conscious and are just looking for another way to think about it. I think you will come away with some valuable thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Facebook and e-mail is going to be my downfall! It's so addictive and you're right, definitely zaps creativity.

    I do my best writing as soon as I wake up. I think my inhibitions are down. If I can get to my computer without anyone talking to me, that's when I write my best stuff.

    Maybe I should use these techniques to quit smoking. That's going to be my other downfall.

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