“The Eating Guidelines:” A Spiritual and Physical Practice

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eatingIf you struggle with food (regardless of your weight), I have a wonderful resource for you. Geneen Roth is the guru of food and weight issues. She leads powerful workshops and is the author of nine books, my favorite of which is Woman, Food, and God, a #1 New York Times bestseller.

Even though her work focuses on the deep emotional aspects of problem eating (such as using food to numb, distract, or punish ourselves, or to rebel), I’d like to skip ahead to the prescription for making peace with food. Geneen writes:

In the food and weight arena, the Eating Guidelines are both the spiritual and physical practice. They provide a precise path to the world of being in the moment as well as well as a concrete path to feeling well. They are descriptions of what eating would look like if you had no problem with it at all. You’d listen to your body. You’d eat to nourish yourself. You’d love yourself with food. The Guidelines are exactly what you will come around to when you are tired of aching joints. Of lugging yourself around. The Guidelines are nothing more than understanding that your body is yours and you can eat as a way to be yourself. After all these years, all these diets, all these pounds gained and lost and lost and gained, after eating to resist and rebel and fight, you realize that eating can finally be—and always was—for you, only you.

Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines

  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  4. Eat what your body wants.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied [physically].
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.
If you are intrigued (or at least tired of the fight), I would highly recommend that you check out Geneen’s work. Why Weight? is an excellent workbook designed to get you in touch with your eating and food issues. Women, Food, and God then takes the conversation to a whole new level.
Thanks for checking in, and have a beautiful week.

Inside Out: A Powerful Message

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If you haven’t seen the film, Inside Out, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. And if you have seen it, you might be wondering if you agree with it’s message. Let’s take a quick look at this.

Inside Out is a story about how our psyches are made up of various parts, emotions, beliefs, and structures, and what happens when difficulties (inevitably) arise.

It begins with a little girl who has had a beautiful childhood. Her parents have bent over backward to make her their “happy girl.” Because these first few years were successful, Joy is the dominant leader of her inner world. We also see the figures of Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, but Joy clearly runs the show. Lucky child, huh? (Not everyone has this experience).

When the little girl’s family moves to a new city, however, (emotional) disaster strikes, and chaos blows a storm through her psyche. Joyand Sadness accidentally get ejected from “Headquarters,” and everything gets crazy. Our “happy girl” loses not only her happiness, but her ability to feel anything but despair. She becomes lost and disenfranchised, and one by one the major areas of her life (family love, trust, playfulness, etc.) go black, and come crashing down. It is devastating.

Throughout all of this, of course, the audience is rooting for (and very much expecting) Joy to save the day. After all, who else could turn things around? We have to rise above, right?

But in the end, it is Sadness who emerges as the hero. Why? Because she was able to help the little girl feel what needed to be felt in order to reconnect with life, and move forward. Joy, alone, just couldn’t deliver.

This week, I invite you to feel all of your feelings: joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and anything else that shows up. You don’t have to police your mind for “bad guys,” because there are no bad guys there. By allowing what’s authentic in the moment to emerge, it is able to pass on through. Only when we celebrate some emotions and reject others, (or over-attach to certain emotions) do we get stuck and run into trouble.

Thanks for stopping by, and please join me here again soon.

Being True to Yourself: A Matter of Life and Death?

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For years I’ve been fascinated by accounts of “the other side.” NDE’s (near death experiences), life-between-lives hypnotherapy sessions, channeled information from people’s deceased loved ones—you name it, I’ve read it (or it’s on my list). Nothing interests me more, except possibly my children, and anything with frosting!

I just read Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani, which is the true story of an Indian girl (Anita) who grew up in a multi-cultural (and multi-religious) setting that was so filled with mixed messages and Self-denial, that she desperately lost sight of who she was.

Later, in middle age, Moorjani was diagnosed with lymphoma. She fought a four-year battle, and when she could fight no more, ended up in a coma, 90 lbs., organs shut down, with lemon-sized tumors all over her body.

What happened during the coma was truly remarkable. Not only was she shown breathtaking beauty, love, and understanding of the workings of the universe, but a spontaneous physical healing occurred. Within a few days, her test results revealed that she was cancer-free. Moorjani writes:

Before my NDE, I used to suppress my upsetting emotions a lot, because I used to believe that they would attract negativity in my life. In additions, I didn’t want to concern others, so I tried to control my thoughts and force myself to be positive. But I now understand that the key is to always honor who you truly are and allow yourself to be in your own truth.

Bottom line: putting yourself last, trying to be someone you’re not, supressing your authentic feelings, manipulating your thoughts to stay “positive,” behaving codependently, never feeling good enough, and/or not asserting your truth, really take their toll.

This week, I encourage you to assess how well you’re taking care of yourself, expressing yourself, and generally being true to yourself. Make a commitment to improve at least one area of your self-care, knowing that this will benefit not only you and your body, but everyone who loves you.