Writing and Health
Week 11: January 19, 2014
Beginning weight 11/3/13: 209 lbs.
Height 5'8" Age: 61
Goal weight: 165 lbs.
Total loss goal: 44 lbs.
Beginning waist size: 43 in.
Current waist size: 41 in.
Weight end of week 11: 189 lbs.
Gain/Loss this week: -1 lb.
Total Gain/Loss: -20 lbs.
“His connection between writing and self-knowledge, even spirit-knowledge is just right, at least for me. One's own writing is the true Book of Revelations, as much for the writer as the reader, I think. Time for writing/contemplation is tied to making right choices (like food)-- again, at least for me.”
--Marie Tyler McGraw
My last post, long and rambling though it was, garnered some very satisfying feedback from some friends, including Marie, as well as some friends who credit me with inspiring them to try this diet. I assure you, this week’s post will be much shorter! At least two, maybe more of you, appreciate the connection I made in my stream of consciousness between writing and health. In the post, I posited that writing about my efforts to lose weight these last couple months had aided the loss. I am by no means the first to have made the connection between writing and improved health. A quick Google search brought up this recent BBC article, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23637013, which references Professor James W. Pennebaker’s 1986 research linking “expressive writing”, or writing about emotions, with better health outcomes. Interestingly, the article goes on to cite a recent study by Professor Azy Barak and others in Israel, which achieved similar results with students writing in online blogs. Barak is quoted saying, “I think online writing is individually perceived and felt as a private experience, despite its actual openness and publicity.”
This is certainly how I felt as I wrote last week. The downside to publishing such first draft writing online is that, at least in last week’s post, I tried to cover way too much ground, and, as some writer friends of mine pointed out, should or could have made three or four smaller, more concise entries out of all that material. When I saw one quote that another writer friend pulled out of my piece and posted on her FB page, I wished I’d spent some time revising. And that’s what I’ll do now to the passage she liked to end this week’s abbreviated message: "I am a writer. I believe in the power of writing to change lives—of readers as well as the writer. To me, the power of writing is the power to reveal deeply held beliefs, Truths, unconscious desires, emotions, issues, self-knowledge."