Paradise NOT Lost

Greetings from West Palm Beach

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Find your own paradise and display it prominently…It’s a great stress reliever.   Even better…try to live there or at least visit.  I know,  I know,  it seems impossible but nothing’s impossible if you put your mind to it.

Get Out!

In one of my recent posts, I talked about choosing what to eat by listening to your body.  For example, why do we eat “lighter” foods during the warmer months and “heavier” foods during the cooler months?  The answer is that the properties of these types of foods have cooling or warming affects that keep the body functioning efficiently and feeling healthy.

But, how do we know this?  How do we feel these cravings in our bodies during each season.  I believe the answer is that we need to spend time outside in the natural habitat.  Of course, I don’t expect anyone to stay outside for a prolonged period of time in tundra-like weather or under the scorching sun.  However, if we constantly stay inside with artificial heating or cooling, our body gets confused.  It may think we need tons of fruit in the winter when that only serves to cool us off!  Getting out and enjoying the weather is a great way to get in touch with what your body is craving and what it needs.

If you’re not sure which foods have cooling or warming properties, head to a local farmer’s market to see what’s in season.  These seasonal foods will automatically be filled with the nutrients your body needs to regulate.  So, bundle up or don your swimsuit and get outside!

Who Is “They” And Why Do We Listen?

The human body is truly amazing.  Think of all the functions it performs in perfect synchronicity, yet we sabotage our bodily functions with fad diets, junk food, excessive exercise and other extremes.  We’ve become so disembodied, meaning that we just use our bodies to walk, see, hear, etc., that we don’t really LIVE in them or tune in to what they tell us.  We don’t allow ourselves to become hungry or we ignore hunger cues so we overeat or undereat.  We follow a specific diet because it promises quick weight loss or to cure whatever disease, not because it nourishes our body or feels good.  We run marathons because it sculpts muscles and helps us to lose weight but kills our knees in the process.

The only way we know if these strategies are beneficial is if our bodies tell us they are with positive signs like glowing skin, healthy hair and nails and a strong body.  Some strategies may work well for one person but not for the next.  Some may work well for a few years and then they don’t.  The only way we can gauge this is by listening to what the body tells us.  We have forgone our body wisdom to listen to the advice of the unknown “they.”   Maybe “they” are right but only if the body agrees.

I Doubt It!

Self-Doubt_7Every once in a while, I fall into a ton of self-doubt.  I begin to reconsider EVERYTHING. Am I going about building my Eating Psychology Coaching practice the right way?  Am I doing enough to raise awareness of Binge-Eating Disorder and Obesity?  Am I living in the correct geographic area to live my life to the fullest?  Do I have enough money to make my dreams come true?  Are my relationships on track?  Am I good enough?

I used to let these thoughts completely derail me so I binged about them.  It took a long time to realize that some of the thoughts are caused by raging hormones that amplify my fears.  Even though I was aware of this, it was hard to remember that these thoughts and feelings are a normal part of my cyclical mental behavior.  This took me a while to learn but I now know why I suddenly question everything.  Knowledge is power so I’m able to allow the feelings, experience them, think through my decisions and get back on track much easier without bingeing.

For me, the key to dealing with the turbulence is getting in touch with my body, mind and soul so I can connect what is happening with each.  In the past, I was just looking at each in a vacuum which leaves an incomplete person!  Now, I relate them and look at myself as a whole which clues me in to what is happening physiologically, mentally and heartfully (is that a word?  it is now!).  I still experience the turbulent emotions and thoughts but I can weather the storm better and I can’t ask for anything more than that!

Mind Hunger

Mindful Eating BookLet’s continue our 7 types of hunger discussion with “mind hunger”.  Dr. Bays states that, “Mind hunger is based on thoughts:”

“I should eat more protein.”

“I deserve an ice cream cone.”

“I should drink 12 glasses of water a day.”

“Mind hunger is influenced by what we take in through the eyes and ears, the words we read and hear.  Mind hunger is often based upon absolutes and opposites:  good food versus bad food, should eat versus should not eat.”

All of the studies we read, the fad diets we try and the importance society places on external appearance contributes to toxic nutritional beliefs that catapult us into mind hunger and out of body wisdom.  Additionally, these toxic nutritional beliefs cause us self-induced stress which slows down physiologic functions that govern metabolism and calorie burning.  We’re defeating ourselves by these thoughts!

Dr. Bays continues, “When we eat based upon the thoughts in the mind, our eating is usually based in worry.  When the mind is fretting about “should eat” and “should not eat,” our enjoyment of what is actually in our mouth evaporates.”

This is in direct conflict with the fact that we need food to survive and that it was made to be pleasurable.  If it wasn’t pleasurable, we wouldn’t want to do it causing our species to die out.  Mind hunger takes away our pleasure of eating.

“Mind hunger is exactly what lies at the heart of our current disturbed relationship to eating and food.  Our minds do not always tell us the truth.  In order to restore a harmonious relationship to eating, in order to enjoy our food, we must learn to listen to the deeper wisdom of our body.”

Before eating, check in:  are you eating what your body wants or what your mind is telling you is “good” or “low in calories”?  Are you satisfied when you are done or are you justifying “having one more” because what you’re eating is dietetic but void of nutrients?  These are important questions that lead to the understanding of what constitutes mindful eating and a healthier relationship with food.

It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me

You know,  it’s not easy being overweight or obese in this country.   That is one of the main reasons I  isolated myself from others,  even friends and family.   It’s hard enough dealing with the self-imposed shame and embarrassment that comes with being overweight that enduring society’s is painful and unbearable.

A contributing factor is that most people don’t get that most overweight people have tried every diet out there with no lasting success.   What’s worse is that people judge us and believe that we have no self-control, a willpower problem or that we “just let ourselves go.” If it were that easy, noone would be heavy.

Noone wants to endure the health risks, physical appearance or social stigma that comes with being overweight.   What people don’t consider is the emotional pain that causes us to binge or compulsively overeat.  If the emotional reasons for the eating aren’t uncovered,  no amount of diet and exercise will work for the long term, that’s why diets don’t work.

So, I feel very misunderstood and judged for an issue that is emotional but manifests physically.  I wear my issue on the outside so everyone can see it unlike a shopping or gambling addiction.  Yet people have no compassion and judge me instead.

This is my reality and my mission is to raise awareness so I can be understood.

What The Heck Is Mindfulness Anyway?

Seriously, what is mindfulness?  The term is so overused these days that I think the true meaning gets lost.  In truth, the meaning of mindfulness is different for everyone.  Yes, the universal meaning is living and being present in the moment, not worrying about the future or re-living the past.  But, what does that mean?

To me, it is simply stopping what you are doing and looking around.  Ask yourself, “how do I know I’m here?”  My therapist asked me this question when I first started working with her and I tried so hard to come up with a profound answer but the answer is easy.

Right now, I know I’m here because I can feel my feet on the carpeted floor, the chair suppo2012-06-14 20.25.34rting my butt, my fingers on the keyboard and the light coming in through the sliding glass door.  It’s really as simple as that!  Look around and notice what you see.  The best thing about asking this question is that I’ve never ever answered it with a heavy heart, worry or anything but peace.  I’ve always enjoyed my surroundings and every worry or fear just faded into nothing.  Try it, I think you’ll like it.

What’s your definition of mindfulness?  Head to the comments and let us know!

P.S.  The above photo was taken by one of my favorite people – she knows who she is!