Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Battle of the Bulge

I had a long conversation with a young woman in her 40's today about her weight.  As with so many women, young and old, weight and it's control dominates her life.  I've been around long enough to see the results of nearly every weight loss plan that has ever been created.  Some seem to work right away while others take time.  More often than not the person regains the weight plus some.  It's as if the body is saying "Take THAT you fool!  Who do you think you are trying to manipulate me into a size and shape of your own choosing?" 

Over the years I've looked into many different spiritual pathways.  I see similarities in all of them.  Many appear to control the believer while others don't have enough guidelines so there's nothing to follow.  While on my spiritual journey I realized some truths about our bodies and how they appear to be controllable with food and exercise.  Do those two things really make a difference in the size and shape of our bodies or is it the mind....set on a course with strict guidelines, that actually does the work?  Is it the time we carve out of our day to devote to our self-care that makes the biggest difference or is it a pill or potion meant to stop our brains from registering hunger and cravings?  Do we become "true believers" when we pick up a new book with a new plan and a new way of preparing the same foods we know we're supposed to eat but find unpalatable?  What IS the truth about our body shapes and sizes?  DNA is most likely the determining factor in what our bodies look like from decade to decade.  Look at family members and you can see common features and how the fat is stored on their frames.

Getting back to the spiritual side of things, I've read many times that our bodies should be considered "Temples."  They are gifts from our Creator.  Since the Creator cannot do physical work on the Earth he/she has created physical bodies for souls so we can live in this world and do his/her work.  Have you ever known someone who spends a lot of time doing volunteer work?  Does that person struggle with their weight?  Do you think that time spent in service to others would be so emotionally satisfying and gratifying that food would be reduced to something to keep you alive? 

Being "food focused" is just another word for food addiction.  Some people get excited when they prepare food that others enjoy.  Some people believe they are Gourmets and know all about blending flavors of food to create delicious meals.  I live near a culinary school and I see the students crossing the street from the school to the bakery for classes every day.  Some appear to grow larger week after week. 

If your belief system included treating your body like a temple and a gift from your Creator, would that change the way you perceive food?  Would you sit down to a meal, say a prayer of gratitude over the food and then use utensils to eat it slowly?  Would you appreciate each bite knowing that it came from your Creator to sustain the body the Creator gave you?  Would you pass by the packages of dead, processed foods in the grocery and head straight for the fresh produce, meats, fowl and fish?  Would you pass by the baked goods and ice cream and pick up some fresh fruit instead?  These foods are all made of just one ingredient.  They are perfect because they are fresh from their source.  I haven't eaten animals in 20 years but I do enjoy fresh fish (not fried), eggs, chicken and turkey.  I don't tolerate grains that contain Gluten nor do I tolerate dairy products unless they are lactose free. 

If there is a pattern of food abuse in your family it would be a good idea to examine those foods and see what they are.  Foods that comforted you as a child are always delicious but may not be good for you as you age.  Women who carry extra weight before the age of 35 often have bad knees in their later years.  I believe that food addiction is very high on the list of addictions suffered by most Americans.  We are bombarded by food commercials on TV and brightly colored packaging in the stores.  It's funny how removing food from it's original packaging and placing it plastic containers changes our desire for it.  Marketing companies work very hard to come up with boxes and bags that catch our attention in the store and make us desire the food within.

If your self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence are tied directly to your appearance you only have one choice.  You will have to stop eating the foods that you know will make you fat and change to natural, health giving foods.  Every time you make an excuse or find a way to justify eating foods that make you fat you are only hurting yourself.  Every bite for the rest of your life will be determined by you and only you unless you are disabled and fed by others.  It is up to you to put less food on your plate and push the plate away before taking seconds.  If you don't work as a field hand you cannot eat like a field hand.  Pretend you are buying food for your favorite, slim celebrity or someone you admire.  Would you put cheap, fattening foods on the table of your favorite movie star?  I doubt it!!

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