Soul food – The weigh to thinner peace "Dear Lord, So far today I’m doing all right. I haven’t binged on chocolate, lost my commitment to exercise, been tempted by seconds or over-indulged in any way. However, I’m going to get out of bed in a few minutes
If you’re focused on waist management (and I don’t mean garbage collection), sooner or later you and I must address the question of why we consume more calories in any given day than our bodies burn.
Environmental availability is a daily minefield. We have 24/7 access to quick meals from fast food restaurants. Refrigerators and microwaves at work and home are stuffed with a variety of temptations. Adding a sedentary job and a disinclination to exercise regularly could explain those extra pounds.
I don’t think, however, our environment is the underlying cause of why so many of us are overweight, including myself. (I’m up seven pounds and not a happy camper!)
As Shakespeare wrote, “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars but in ourselves.”
Were I to categorize my overeating, I’d begin with recreational. How much fun it is to dine out with friends and enjoy a special meal! I’ve been in Kauai for the past few weeks, and vacation-eating is a kissing cousin to recreational eating.
“How can I resist,” I tell myself, “the hula pie?” Embarrassing to admit, I’ve researched which restaurant has the best. I’ve spent hours hiking, ocean-bobbing and playing tennis, so I should be able to eat what I want. Right?
Then there’s convenience eating – I’m running errands, realize I’m starved and buy whatever is handy at whatever store is nearby.
Comfort eating is also high on my list. Items here include my favorite foods, like garlic mashed potatoes or homemade bread.
Preventative eating is also important – that is, I’m about to go out the door and realize I won’t be home for several hours. I’m not hungry, but think I’d better eat something just in case I get hungry. How crazy is that?
Craved foods represent a particular temptation. Nothing calls my name as loudly as chocolate covered raisins sitting in a jar on top of the refrigerator. And don’t forget starvation eating – that’s when I exercise heavily, go too long between meals, and become hungry enough to “eat a horse.”
My most common mistake, though, is to eat for energy. Geneen Roth, a regular contributor to Prevention magazine, writes that “Rest is a basic human need, like food and sleep and touch.” I run myself ragged thinking I’ll rest when I get everything done. That moment, of course, never comes. Instead, to keep going, I fight fatigue with food.
Geneen recommends an alternative approach – to become a “steady rester.” Her approach requires us to give up the notion that each moment must be used to accomplish something worthwhile.
Not by bread alone
Geneen also suggests borrowing McDonald’s phrase, “You deserve a break today!” But she suggests a nonfood break – taking time to experience stillness, relax, putter, or gaze out the window. A successful break renews our sense of self and well-being. Finding inner peace, rather than a piece of chocolate cake, is what we crave.
My book, “From Fat to Fit-Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction,” will be released shortly and the first book signing will be at the Book Seller on March 31 at 3 p.m. (Just for the fun of it, the Book Seller is giving a 10 percent discount to anyone whose name appears in the book or who was a Meltdown participant!)
Saturday, I teach a class, From Fat to Fit, offered through Sierra College. On March 21, I’ll tape a NCTV show for later airing. I’ve also volunteered to help a community organize their own Meltdown (see houndpress.com for contest details).
In April, I’ll participate in a women’s leadership summit in Tucson, Ariz. In May, I’ll attend a three day publishers’ conference and Book Expo in New York City. The schedule goes on . . .
I heard that Kauai means “Come. Be.” Returning home, I hope I can learn to be a “human being” instead of a “human doing.” If not, my next book will be titled “From Fit to Fat-How I Turned Myself into a Weapon of Mass Expansion.”
Carole Carson is a fitness and nutrition advocate from Nevada City. E-mail her at email@example.com or write her at The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.
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