The Story I Just Can’t Forget

sunsetA friend told me a story recently I can’t get off my mind.

A missionary was living in a small African village. She asked her friends and their chief if they would introduce her to the people who lived in a nearby village. Early one morning they began their trek. She was excited to meet new people and was eager to get there. They walked awhile, then found some shade and sat down, she assumed, to catch their breath. After more walking they sat down again – they chatted, sat peacefully, then walked some more. In time they sat again. This happened several times and she was getting more and more antsy each time they stopped.

Finally she got up enough nerve to ask someone why they were stopping so often and he said,
“So our spirits can catch up with our bodies.”

Wow – what mind-jarring, life-recalibrating, much-needed ancient wisdom.

How often do we Westerners feel we’re meeting ourselves comin’ and goin’? How often are our crazy-busy minds out in front of us – on to the next thing before the last one is done?

These wise villagers knew well what our western research is spending lots of money and time to discover:

We humans are in need of quiet – of down time. (click on blue for more)

Our brains are not built for a constant flow of information.

We now see more information in one day than our ancestors processed in a lifetime…

Our minds, bodies and even our eyes suffer from the overload.

As a mindful eating coach I spend my days helping people slow down and re-connect with their bodies, to re-remember how to stop and experience the joy of eating and moving again.

The simple practice of chosen-mindfulness changes us.

We begin to awaken – to feel more fully and deeply alive.

And not just at the table.

This is something all of us can do – and – no one can do it for us. Each of us must accept the responsibility for the stewardship of our own mind and soul. In our distracting world, peace will need to be intentionally cultivated – it’s not a given.

You are the only one who can make the space and time to sit in quiet contemplation.

What are you doing right now to relax, to allow your spirit to catch up with your body each day?

Here are a few ideas…you will find your own:

  • Quietly read, pray, meditate
  • Play, stroll, exercise, stretch, yoga, walk, etc.
  • Art – draw, paint, color, finger paint, etc.
  • Music – listen or make your own
  • Play with children, ride a bike, swing…
  • Enjoy your pets, a garden, a hammock…
  • Deep breathing, biofeedback, massage, muscle relaxation

There are so many ways to feel anchored peacefully in yourself again. Find your way.

Especially in the 21st century, unless you move to a village with no wifi, you will need to be fierce for your own peace, for finding your way of allowing your spirit to catch up with your body each beautiful day.

At least 18 Things To Know About Weight Loss

For 60 years our American Dieting Mindset has looked at weight gain and weight loss in terms of calorie consumption alone – how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn up.

Turns out it’s not that simple.

scales 2There are other non-calorie factors that can affect our weight. Knowing this can help us work from multiple angles to reach and keep our best health and weight.

Certainly our lifestyle is the first place to explore and adjust. It doesn’t help to go looking for miracle cures, quick fixes or specialists if your lifestyle is making you sick – but – if weight release continues to be difficult after making consistent and reasonable lifestyle changes, then this list offers other variables to explore.

Here are some possible non-calorie reasons we might struggle with weight:

1. Sluggish metabolism – due to under-eating, under-moving, restrictive dieting, aging, etc.
2. Over-consumption of alcohol also lowers metabolism
3. Certain medications
4. Muscle to fat ratio – Muscle burns more fuel than fat tissue, by far
5. Poor digestion and nutrient absorption – recent research is showing that eating quickly and not experiencing enough pleasure from your eating experience can have an adverse effect
6. Not having a reasonable balance of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein.
7. Poor nutrition
8. Over-consumption of refined sugar and flour can affect blood sugar and insulin which affects the body’s ability to release weight.

Here’s what Dr. David Ludwig, endocrinologist and obesity researcher, has to say:

“Are we really to believe that, for someone on a diet, a cup of cola with 100 calories would be a better snack than an ounce of nuts containing almost 200 calories?

“New research has revealed the flaws in this thinking. Recent studies show that highly processed carbohydrates adversely affect metabolism and body weight in ways that can’t be explained by their calorie content alone. Conversely, nuts, olive oil, and dark chocolate – some of the most calorie-dense foods in existence – appear to prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease…

“All this time, we’ve been diligently following the diet rules, but the rulebook was wrong!”

9. Stress, depression, negativity and anxiety can affect cortisol levels which can in turn affect weight
10. Insufficient and poor quality sleep
11. Menopause and other hormone issues/changes
12. Health issues – hypothyroid, diabetes, Cushing syndrome, etc.
13. Certain food allergies
14. Getting too little physical activity
15. Genetics and family history
16. Insulin resistance
17. Leptin resistance
18. Chronic inflammation

As you can see there are many possible reasons to have mercy on yourself for not being able to lower your weight.

I’ve coached people who have reduced their calories to starvation levels and still haven’t seen weight release – very disheartening indeed. Once they understood that there are other factors at play beside sheer calories we could be about the good work of finding their unique and specific solutions. And so can you.

There is always a way through!

Where Our Brain Path Leads…

“HELP, I CAN’T STOP EATING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON!!!”

Where Our Brain Path LeadsEvery time I hear this statement I deeply empathize with the helpless frustration on the other end of the phone. This was my life – me and two-thirds of the western world. So why is it that once we’ve pulled onto the dieting/compulsive/emotional eating superhighway it’s so darn hard to stop and just get off?

There are many reasons – psychological and physiological. Here let’s take a quick look at something that happens in our brain:

The Brain Path – Think of your brain as a forest where trails are worn down by hiking along the same path over and over again – day after day, month after month, year after year. Running through the drive-thru when you feel bored or stressed creates pathways that become wider and deeper as they are repeatedly traveled. With each emotional or mindless eating experience it becomes more and more natural to head in that direction. That well-traveled path eventually becomes a road, and then a highway through your brain. The strong pull to eat becomes our automatic default. It just feels natural to turn onto the Gotta-Eat-Something-Now superhighway.

The good news is that we can build new interstates in our brain! And as we do, the old compulsive eating freeway will grow over with vines and briars and eventually mighty oaks. In time we will almost forget it was even there.

With a clear motivation, some caring support and the right tools – you can have yourself a brand new path started in no time. That brain path will become a road, and eventually a new superhighway taking you exactly where you want to go…

To feeling great!
   To having energy!
      To pants that fit just right…
                                                                        and to priceless peace of mind.