Posts

Allowing Food to Nourish You

Sally was overweight, unhappy, and on the brink of emotional exhaustion.  After numerous counseling sessions, this is what she decided to do:

One, I started eating a simple, healthy breakfast each morning.  This was my only guideline; that it had to be healthy.  No list of special foods, no restrictive diet, no calories to count, lie about or eat.  Nothing.  What surprised me was that I was being asked to make my own decisions, and not rely on someone else’s idea of what I should consume.  I was given complete freedom to eat when I wanted, and how much I wanted.  It just had to be healthy.  Actually, this frightened me, because I wanted to be told what to do.” [1]

Sally was really frightened when I asked her to make her own decisions about food and about making food the right kind of friend.  Here’s the rest of Sally’s story:

So I chose to eat a large breakfast of whole grain cereal and lowfat milk and some fruit each morning.  It was bulky so it made me feel full.  It wasn’t sugary, so my insulin level did not increase.  I knew all about this theoretically, but it wasn’t easy to put into practice.  A big part of me (which was most of me) hated it.  I missed my usual two jelly donuts and three cups of coffee with lots of cream, followed in a few minutes by grazing in the fridge for a few leftovers from the night before.  But I’d made an agreement with Dr. Jantz to do this, and besides I was desperate.

The second thing was even more amazing to me.  I was asked not to weigh myself at all in between sessions.  I’d already sent my scale “on vacation,” so there was no way to weigh myself at home.  But I was not to weigh myself anywhere.  This was difficult.  How would I know if I was making any progress if I couldn’t weigh myself two or three times a day as I’d done most of my life?  I didn’t understand it, but I said I’d stick with the program and obey the rules. [2]

I’m happy to report that Sally is doing quite well, self-correcting along the way as she’s still tempted to return to her old way of thinking about food.  She’s rediscovering what food is all about — it’s there to nourish her body and is not a substance for abuse.

When recovering from emotional exhaustion, you quickly learn the benefits of decreasing the amount of fat and refined carbohydrates in your diet.  Additionally, when you start to take seriously the reports of increased risk of heart disease and cancer associated with these high levels of fat, I hope you will quickly choose to self-correct.

You will read food labels more carefully and seek to interpret the wealth of information they contain.  This is a far cry from the ineffective calorie counting and roller-coaster dieting you may have engaged in before.  You will also stop frying your foods and breading your meats.  You will learn that broiling and baking are better alternatives to cooking foods in fats and oil.  You will also begin to investigate food supplements that are specifically designed to help rebalance the body chemistry of those who are emotionally and physically exhausted.

Sally had to learn that dieting and bingeing were terrible obstacles to her stressed physical health and mental stability.  Each round of dieting caused increased hypertension and a rise in her blood pressure.  When she finally understood that dieting and bingeing were making her more prone to stress-related illnesses, heart and kidney disease, and stroke, she knew she had to make a change.  To do this, Sally had to start listening to her body.  She had actually forgotten what it was like to eat normally.

This all began with a commitment to a proven, effective program of permanent weight loss and a deep desire to join the 2 percent who succeed in losing weight permanently.

Can you relate to Sally?  Perhaps now is the time that you, too, need to learn to see food as healing you, making you strong, and filling you with vitality.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 37 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

[1] Jantz, Losing Weight, 110.

[2] Ibid.

 

Reintroducing Physical Activity Into Your Daily Routine

We live in a convenient society, with transportation systems to take us to all our destinations. We live in an accelerated society, where speed trumps just about everything.  We’ve gotten used to driving around at the store for twenty minutes in order to find a closer parking spot.  High-rise buildings have express elevators to avoid the time-consuming possibility of too many people wanting in on too many floors.  Efficiency equates with speed.  If it’s done quickly, it’s done well.

The problem with our efficient society is we’ve designed out the component of people getting themselves where they need to go.  We’ve factored out a good deal of the built-in physical activity of many functions.  As you continue to incorporate good habits into your day, look for ways to reintroduce physical activity.

Below are suggestions.  These are not meant as a checklist, but rather as a way to stimulate your own imagination as you think over your day and how you can incorporate more movement:

  • If you drive to work, park farther away from your building and walk.  Be sure to factor in some extra time to do this so you won’t add to your stress by being late!
  • If you take a bus or subway, try getting out at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way to your destination.
  • Once you’re at work, consider using the stairs instead of the elevator.  If you’re on the thirty-seventh floor, start out by walking the first to floors and taking the elevator the rest of the way.  As your physical condition improves, work toward increasing the number stairs you walk versus the number of floors you ride the elevator.
  • Instead of always asking other workers or subordinates to obtain needed items, stand up and use the opportunity to stretch a little on your way, and get that item for yourself.
  • Whenever possible, use the stairs instead of escalators at stores or buildings.
  • If you’re going to be doing a variety of errands in a central location, park your car in the middle and walk from store to store instead of driving to each one.
  • If you need to speak with a coworker, walk down the hall to his or her office instead of picking up the phone.
  • If you have a cell phone, plan to place some of your calls as you are taking a walk around the block.  Take care of business and your health at the same time!

By achieving a higher activity level during the day, you help your metabolism maintain a corresponding higher rate.  The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn.  You feel more alert, your mood is more optimistic; you’re less tired and cold.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 30 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.