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I Would Be Happy If I Could Only lose Weight….”

410950321Diets fail because they are an offspring of control. They are disguised attempts at manipulating our external environment to achieve a change that must come from deep within ourselves. Following someone else’s rules and setting arbitrary limits about everything we put into our mouth cannot possibly harness the power of our own healing.

Most “diets” come to predictable ends. They are subject to boredom, disillusionment, impatience and lack of joy. They keep us hooked for a while on achieving an outcome that may have been unrealistic from the start. Any diet based on the common belief “I would be happy if I could only lose weight” leaves us feeling miserable, if not a little brokenhearted.

Even when we lose weight, if we still think about ourselves in the same, old ways our food issues continue to be a domineering force in our lives. We still think that “thinner is better.” We still talk about losing “five more pounds” even after we reach a more satisfactory weight range. We still stand in front of the mirror trying to decide if we are still fat.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food can both result in achieving an ideal weight. Whether the amount of weight lost is the same or quite different, it is only by their permanent outcomes can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, your life is transformed. Weight loss is easily maintained because you have gained insight about your old behaviors and reframed your thinking about food and hunger.  Inspiration comes from the desire to be healthy, not wanting a smaller body. You have learned how to live a more satisfying life with a more enlightened relationship with yourself.

Don’t Feed A Starving Heart Bread

untitled.png nnSometimes, there is longing so deep and so wide that discerning desire from need or need from hunger is impossible. Until you find a better way, using food to feed that chasm inside continues….When was the last time you ate food because you missed love? You may feel forsaken and alone, wanting only to wolf down whatever food you can get your hands on. But you can’t feed a starving heart bread. It will always miss its mark.

The next time you have a sudden, irrational urge for eating, think about your heart. Truly, it may be your heart that that needs food, not your body. Your heart is a bridge between not understanding and knowing. Just thinking about your heart feeds it. And when you feed your heart, you are living “in the moment.” Each moment is complete and does not need the next moment to fulfill it.

The more time you spend in your heart, the less it starves. The more time you spend in your heart, the more sensitive you become to your spirit’s appetites. The more time you spend in your heart, the more you discover what nourishes your spirit. The more time you spend in your heart, the more time you will spend in your heart.

On Hunger

Hunger verifies a reality; it expresses a truth about you. You may indeed need to eat something, but not always. If you can stay with the truth of your hunger long enough to let it unfold completely, you may see that there are many different kinds of hunger. Right now, yours may not be about food for your body…..

As essential as food and water are for your body, so are the spiritual and emotional necessities that shape every aspect of your being. You have the ability to move past the assumption of physical hunger and grasp the truth of your longings and needs. Ultimately, eating cannot satisfy you when you need comfort and have no one there to comfort you. No food can love you when you feel unloved. Food on a plate cannot fill you with soul-engaging beauty if you haven’t created anything beautiful in your life.

Knowing the truth about what your hunger means empowers you to seek what is missing in your life. Some hungers let you know when you don’t have quite enough of something important and embolden you to pursue or create what you want. When your hunger allows you to envision the kind of love you need, you can better identify where to seek that love.

Anytime a hunger moves you to invest in more understanding about a remote emotion or a monstrous pain, you can renew meaning in your life.   Once you truthfully articulate your hunger and give it a name, the promise of feeling full and whole is within your reach.

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Healing and Weight Loss

pyramidLOGO_blueReaching a healthy weight and maintaining it is about making your life better, not taking it over with a diet. Feeding your mind and spirit with deliberate and thoughtful regard is as fundamental to lasting health and a life well lived as healthy eating is for your body.

From a body- mind- spirit perspective, every aspect of your being experiences hunger, needs feeding and has its unique food requirements. Some or all parts of you are clamoring to be fed all the time.  Understanding that hunger is not limited to your body is the first step to healing your relationship with food and bringing awareness and acceptance to every aspect of your being.

Today’s drama and confusion about our weight in the throes of an obesity epidemic makes it hard to reframe the meaning of hunger and food in our lives and make a more compassionate shift in how we take care of ourselves. Whether swift and urgent or persistent and enduring, your hunger is an invitation to heal and food, in its broadest sense, is what heals you. Healing your relationship with food must begin with healing the relationship you have with yourself, on every level of your being.

Don’t believe that changing your diet and your weight will make you a “new woman.” That’s not a realistic goal. Seeking to open to everything you are is the real motivation for any change you want to accomplish in your life. Weight loss is too small a goal to sustain when you don’t feel good about yourself and have a hard time understanding your body as a sacred aspect of your being. As you learn how to make benevolent connections to the foods that feed your body, mind and spirit, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight falls into place.

Succeeding on a new diet or healing your relationship with food will both result in achieving a healthy weight. It is only by their permanent outcome that you can you tell them apart. When you go off the diet, if everything returns to the way it was and nothing else in your life has changed except the number on the scale, it’s very unlikely that number will remain where it is.

When you heal your relationship with food, the weight you have lost in the process is easily maintainable because you have reframed your thinking about the meaning of food and gained insight about your old behaviors. The real breakthrough is never about the diet but about understanding your hunger and knowing where it is coming from. Limits are set wisely, but not when it comes to living with freedom and joy.  Your life is transformed.

 

 

Just Where Is the Dysfunction in “Dysfunctional Eating?”

shutterstock_165652964Our body weight does not define the degree of dysfunction in our eating. Anytime we use food to ease our despair rather than nourish our bodies and support our well-being, our eating is dysfunctional.

It may appear more obvious that someone needing to lose one-hundred pounds suffers with eating and food issues more than someone needing to lose fifteen, but body weight hardly defines the degree of despair we hold about our lives.

When food and despair become entwined, we lose sight of feeding ourselves and try to feed the despair, instead. Feeding despair is often a driving force behind our misuse of food and becoming entrapped in harmful eating patterns. Eating is “dysfunctional” when it leaves us on the other side of good health and loving our lives.

Using food in an effort to hide anguish from ourselves or others does not eliminate ease  pain or heal it. Understanding and accepting our vulnerabilities and difficulties as valid and endearing aspects of who we are is the foundation for true healing. Everyone comes face- to- face with all kinds of seemingly external obstacles that stand in the way of self-discovery. If yours are about your relationship with food, these obstacles are your calls for healing your life. They represent the turmoil within to know and accept everything about yourself, even the parts you don’t yet understand.

It may be sobering to admit the psychological, emotional and spiritual burdens that our body and food issues can impose on our lives. For some of us, decisions about food and eating are so layered and complicated that they become a source of on-going tension that never lets up. We become so caught up in the daily struggle that we don’t fully grasp that our lives don’t have to be this way. Before we know it, tomorrow is already upon us and the struggle begins again. A different paradigm for thinking about food can free you from thoughts about being or becoming fat, and all the other related issues that have taken a stranglehold on your life. What Part of You Is Hungry?