Sunday, November 17, 2013

The marvelous body.

Sometimes I feel kind towards my body (see: The "Perfect" Body), but usually I feel uncomfortable in my skin.  Towards the end of 2011 (the year I started this blog) I realized part of my emotional eating was linked to my lack of self-love.

Self-love?  Am I supposed to love myself?  Isn't that self-centered and selfish?  I took some time to research this on a spiritual level.  I knew the world would tell me to love myself, but was it okay with God?  I learned that it was indeed.  "Love thy neighbor as thyself" does not translate into "Love everyone except yourself." God loves me unconditionally, and I need to love me too.

I started a "Getting To Love Me" journal to record things about myself, to explore who I am and what God wants me to become, but I still struggled in the self-love department, especially when it came to my physical being.

At the beginning of October I prayed, "Please help me find one thing I can do on a regular basis that will help me like [I still struggle with love] myself better." I felt I needed a specific suggestion... something precise or measurable that I could do.

The very next day after uttering that prayer, I heard a talk by Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle.  He said,
"Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple.  That truth--refreshed gratefully each day--can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it.  And those decisions will determine your destiny.  How could this be?  Because your body is the temple for your spirit.  And how you use your body affects your spirit."
Into my heart entered my answer, "Each day express gratitude to God for something specific about your body and you will experience a positive change, you will grow to love yourself."  

Wanting to record the insights, I went to my "Getting To Love Me" journal, and realized I did not have anything in there about my body! Talents, blessings, abilities, ideas, strengths, weaknesses, aspirations… but nothing about my physical self!

So I started a new section, My Body is a Temple of God, and I record, almost daily (I'm not perfect), what I'm grateful for concerning my body.  
  • I am thankful for my fingers.  They can play the piano and write.
  • I am grateful that my body can hula hoop.
  • I am thankful for my uterus which expanded and allowed a safe and healthy environment for my babies to grow and develop.
  • I am thankful for my ears.  I can hear birds singing, rain falling, snow crunching under my feet.  I can hear music, and the voices of loved ones.  I can hear thunder as well as whispers of "I love you, Gwamma."
I not only record those things, I kneel in prayer and vocally express my gratitude to God. I already feel kinder towards myself and my body.

I'm grateful for Elder Nelson's talk and the answer to my prayer. Here's a beautiful video based on his inspired message:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Time Machine...yeah right.

I saw a billboard with a picture of some exercise equipment, an all-in-one workout contraption.  The slogan began: "Time machine...."

My mind jumped to the conclusion that exercising would make you appear and/or feel younger, thus taking you back in time.  But then I continued reading: " can take you back to size 5."

How disappointing.  Who says 5 is the optimal size?  What does that say about all other body shapes and sizes?

Way to fuel the distorted body image problems that plague our society, advertisers.  Here's my fitness rebuttal for advertising campaigns such as that...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sugar by any other name...

While reading ingredients on a package, I wondered why it had so many different sweeteners.  I mockingly read the label aloud, "Look, hun, this has sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses."  Gasp.

Of course since I avoid sweets, that product went back on the grocer's shelf. Still, I scratched my head, "Why so many sweeteners?"

I assumed it gave the product a distinct flavor by combining different sugars, but I recently learned the truth… by naming multiple sweeteners, it keeps "sugar" from being first on the list of ingredients.

I learned this while reading The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler, MD.  He submits that food product developers are willing to exploit the lack of consumer awareness.

"If a food contains more sugar than any other ingredient, federal regulations dictate that sugar be listed first on the label.  But if a food contains several different kinds of sweeteners, they can be listed separately, which pushes each one farther down the list." 

Breakfast cereals are notorious for "hiding" the sugar.  "Cereals often include some combination of sugar, brown sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and molasses."

He goes on to state, "Whatever the true motive, ingredient labeling still does not fully convey the amount of sugar and fat being added to food, certainly not in a language that's easy for consumers to understand.  The Kellogg's Frosted Flakes label, for example, indicates that the cereal has 11 grams of sugar per serving.  But nowhere does it tell consumers that more than one-third of the box contains added sugar." 

Thanks to David Kessler, I am wiser to packaging's wily ways.

(Above quotes are all found in The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler, MD, p. 103.)

Monday, October 7, 2013


Our car has a digital reading that indicates the average miles-per-gallon with each tank of gas. If we drive mostly highway miles, the mpg is higher; city driving brings the average mpg down. Our speed, acceleration, stops, and other factors also affect the mileage.

I wonder what if our bodies had a digital readout to indicate how our choices affect our physical mileage? 

After exercising, the "healthometer" might indicate an increase in quality of life. Drinking a spinach smoothie might increase it too, whereas eating a candy bar might show a decrease.  Each body is different, therefore the indicator would be for our own personal DNA, similar to a car's gas mileage varies according to year, make, and model.

Yep, I want a healthometer.  Where can I find such a thing?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Swing away care.

Feet in the sky,
Breeze through my hair.
Float, soar, fly,
Swing away care.

I promised myself I could go swinging today. When I went for a brisk walk at 5:30 this morning, I stopped by the condo playground. There were puddles beneath the swings from recent rain, and it was dark, but I attempted to swing anyway. The creaking and groaning made me wonder if the plastic playground would withstand my adult weight. Mental images of angry children storming my condo made me decide to leave that swing set alone.

Later in the afternoon, still itching to play, I drove to a nearby park where they have a beautiful, solidly built, swing set.


I tried to capture the feelings in rhyme (see above).

Now I find myself longing to play on the 21 musical swings in Montreal. Swing and make soothing to the soul.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Yes, we have no banana slicer.

A friend posted a link on Facebook. Nothing unusual about that, except that I actually clicked on it. I rarely click on the links friends post (who has time to read a thousand links a day? okay...maybe a hundred), but this one caught my eye because she promised it was hilarious.

It was for a banana slicer. I know, that's not funny, but the customer reviews are a hoot!

Later, when visiting friends, I told them about the witty reviews. Brian quickly searched the slicer and read aloud several of the tongue-in-cheek comments while we howled with laughter.

Now it's become a running joke. Cindy came to stay with us a few days, and Brian sent a text requesting her return because he didn't know how to slice the bananas. I responded, "Cindy knows how to slice bananas??? I might put her to work tomorrow morning when I have my cereal!"

Later, as my husband cut some over-ripe bananas into chunks (to freeze for smoothies), I took a quick video of the procedure and sent it to Brian to brag about Kurt's talent, but admitted that he has yet to master the skill of thinner slices.

I recently read that laughter (30 minutes a day) aids in weight loss. If that is true, then why does Santa's belly shake like a bowl full of jelly? (Hohoho.) Still, it does help with healthy living since it lifts the mood, brightens the outlook, and is, after all, the best medicine.

If you need some laughter, click here, and scroll down to the customer reviews.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Food Tramp

Thanks to streaming television, I got hooked on a TV drama, watching one episode after another. Eventually I tired of the main character. She slept with almost anyone, for any reason. Sad? She would sleep with someone. Angry? Sleep with someone. Hurt? Sleep with someone... It disgusted me. What a tramp! Couldn't she have a meaningful relationship? She just used men.

Then it dawned on me, her relationship with men was comparable (in some ways) to my relationship with food. Sad? I eat. Angry? I eat. Hurt? I eat.

She and I are trying to fill a void. She uses men. I use food.

So, I put a sign on my fridge: "Don't be a Food Tramp."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


How does the saying go? "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Or something like that. Well, I need more play. 

I read the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown. He submits that the opposite of play is not work; it's depression. That was a new concept to me. Surely, if I'm not playing then I must be working, right? But he points out that work and play are not enemies. We can make work playful by finding the fun. And we can work harder if our lives include play.

For several months I've battled depression, again. I've puzzled over that, since my depression decreased dramatically when I gave up refined sugar twelve years ago! Why was it back? I think in part due to the emotional "demons" I am working through, but now I realize the lack of play certainly "plays" a part.

I made a list of activities I enjoyed as a child. 
  • hula hoop (I was the unofficial champion while in the sixth grade.)
  • hopscotch
  • swinging
  • marbles
  • coloring
  • roller skating (I used to have the old metal kind that clamped to my saddle shoes, and wore the "key" dangling on a shoestring around my neck.)
  • tether ball
  • hide-and-seek
  • kick the can
  • pretending to travel (I still have my mother's alligator cosmetic case I used as my "luggage.")
  • pretending to be the Romper Room lady 
  • pretending to be the weather person on TV (That was back in the day when they drew the clouds and sun on the big map.)
The challenge is to recapture those activities, or find other recreation that gives the same sensation or satisfaction. For instance, rather than playing hide-and-seek, I could go on an outing to seek out hidden treasures in my community, or go on a video scavenger hunt.

But the biggest challenge is to tell my adult task-oriented self to walk away (or run!) from the to-do lists and go play.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New title.

In 2011 I mainly focused on healthy eating and even though I lost weight during that year, I realized I was still treating the symptom (my weight) rather than the cause (emotional issues). I am convinced that weight will always return unless the core issues are addressed and dealt with (see post: "Give Me This Mountain").

In facing my demons I realized I was out of balance. I had focused mainly on healthy eating, but good health requires a spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, social, and environmental balance.

Thus the new title for my blog: My Healthy Eating Living Challenge.

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Never guess weight."

Next week I have an appointment for my annual GYN checkup. I dread getting on the scale because I gained weight since my last appointment, so when I saw this comedy sketch on Studio C, it made me laugh. Hope you get a kick out of it too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Since I last ate.

"I've never been swimming.  That's because it's never been more than half an hour since I last ate." 
~comedian Artie Lange

I feel like a chest cold is coming on.  I want to take an herbal supplement that my niece recommended to nip it in the bud, but she told me, "Do not eat or drink 30-40 minutes before AND after taking it."

Uh... that's a tough window of time to find in the life of a compulsive emotional eater.

Could someone please administer this to me while I'm sleeping?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Uncommon Restaurant

We recently went to dinner with our daughter and her husband to celebrate her birthday. She selected Communal Restaurant in Provo, where they served meals made with fresh produce from local farms, and "local and sustainable meats and cheeses." The masterfully prepared foods were a delight to the taste buds, making many pleasurable "mmm mmm mmm" moments.

We had a reservation for four and sat at our own table, but in another part of the restaurant a long table invited communal feasting where strangers socialized as they dined.

The menu changes every season as various produce becomes available. I would love to sample foods from every menu. It's amazing how fresh local foods make such a difference.

And a poor reflection on our society when serving  fresh foods makes a restaurant uncommon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools...on me.

Yesterday (Easter Sunday) I posted about marshmallow peeps being indestructible, and a reader pointed out that the information was faulty (thank you, Lynn). I avoid the I read it on the internet so it must be true mindset (hahaha)... but since the article was printed in a trusted, reputable magazine, (and because I was in a hurry) I didn't double check the facts. I was fooled.

I removed the post since I don't want to mislead or give false information.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Food is my wubby.

Sometimes when I head for the fridge, I have thoughts to seek comfort elsewhere...prayer, meditation, yoga, affirmations...but I shove those thoughts aside and grab the food.  I kept wondering, why do I rebel like that? Then an image came to my mind of a child stubbornly clinging to a security blanket, unwilling to give it up.

It made me think of a scene from Mr. Momwhen Jack (Michael Keaton) wants his son to give up his beloved "wubby."  He gives a very clever and witty speech, so I posted it for Comic Relief  on my Reel Focus blog.

Food is my wubby, and I feel rebellious when my inner dialogue tells me I don't need my wubby at that moment. Oh yeah? Well, I'm not giving it up without a fight, so there!

Referring to Jack's intervention pep talk (see Comic Relief: Mr. Mom)... I wish I could toss my wubby into the fireplace like brave little Kenny, before I get strung out on bedspreads (or in my case, bread spreads).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ever hopeful.

I started this blog to help with my healthy eating challenge in 2011. That year I posted 368 times. Last year, in 2012, I posted 50 times. That might seem like almost once a week...if only that were true!  In reality, there were months that I didn't post at all.

On December 30, 2011, I posted about finally understanding why I overeat (see: Day 364 -- Reflecting), and I set out in 2012 to work through some issues. It was a journey. A bumpy, knock-me-to-my-knees, journey. Halfway through the year, I was directed to write about my life (see: "Give me this mountain!"), starting with my earliest memory and working my way forward. (I'm almost done with the Third Grade now...that's right...I'm crawling through the process.)

Along with writing my memoirs, I was prompted to seek counseling to help me through the issues. I chose a therapist who was also a performer, hoping she could understand not only my struggles with emotional eating, but also the creative blocks. On the creative side she was somewhat helpful, but on the eating side she could not relate. At all.

I switched therapists, and that was an excellent decision. My new therapist immediately had me listen to a CD series by Geneen Roth, When Food is Food & Love is Love.  For anyone struggling with emotional eating, I highly recommend listening to those.

At the end of 2011, I had lost weight in spite of my frequent problems with emotional eating, but that's just it...I still had my problems of emotional eating even while eating healthy! On Geneen's CD, she said:

"When you lose weight [through dieting], you don't lose the reasons you turned to food to begin with. You don't lose the reasons you ate. You don't lose your sadness, you don't lose your sorrow, you don't lose your suffering, you don't lose your loneliness. When you lose weight [counting calories, points, carbs, fat grams...] you are still the same person looking out at the world through eyes that don't like yourself, through disappointed eyes, through suffering eyes, through eyes that believe you're flawed in some way."

What does she recommend, if not dieting? She has some guided meditations to help deal with issues about food and love, and she recommends the following guidelines:
  • Eat when you are hungry. (Truly hungry, body hungry, not head or heart hungry.)
  • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspaper, books, intense or anxiety producing conversation and music.
  • Eat only what your body wants. (Not what your eyes want or your mind thinks it should have.)
  • Eat until you are satisfied. (Not stuffed, not completely full.)
  • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others. (Not sneaking.)
  • Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.
Does any of that ring a bell?  I was on the right track in 2011 when I challenged myself to eat when physically hungry and stop when full. 

In 2011, while faithfully keeping this blog, I lost 30 pounds. In 2012, I spiraled out of control while facing my demons with emotional eating, and gained 15. It's miraculous that I only gained that amount. When I used to eat sweets, I would easily gain everything back and then some. So I will take the 15 pound weight gain rather than 40.

Now it's a quarter into 2013, and I although I am still struggling, I am ever hopeful.  I only fail if I quit trying.  I will continue to heal.

And I'm ever hopeful I can be more diligent in blogging about my journey.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Body Image

Wow, it's hard to get started again after a long absence from posting on here. I had good intentions, and even wrote many a blog entry--in my head--but just couldn't seem to conjure up the time needed to post. I thought giving myself permission to post "first draft" writing (see: Back to the Dailies) would help, but it didn't.

I want to change the title of this blog to reflect on more complete health, not just healthy eating. I need healthy balance in my life, including mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Just focusing on eating seems incomplete now, although during 2011 it helped me immensely.

Weighing on my mind lately is my body image. I didn't realize how poorly I viewed myself. Really. I became more aware of this when someone (okay, fine, I admit it was my therapist) suggested I keep track of any negative thoughts for a week. Prior to that, I actually considered myself a fairly positive person. Keeping track of my negative thoughts, however, took me by surprise. Nearly all of the negative thoughts that entered my head had to do with my self-image. I was stunned. By the end of that week, I began to wonder if there was anything I did like about my physical body, and after a mental assessment I came up with a few positive things, but even those were accompanied with disclaimers.
  • I like my hair. But I wish I was better at styling it.
  • I like my eyes.  
  • I like my fingernails. But I need to take better care of my cuticles...and polish my nails.
Most everything else, I was not happy with.

So...I can find positive things to say about almost anything or anyone...but not about myself. I knew I had a few hang-ups about my body, but I truly did not realize just how negative I was about it. I'm trying to be kinder and more accepting of myself, but it's hard.

Last fall I spent three days as a "background talent" for an amusement park commercial. I could ride zipping roller coasters, but what really took an act of bravery on my part was donning a swim suit for the water park scene. Me? Be seen by cast and crew in my bathing suit? The thought was horrifying! And the thought of possibly being seen on TV in that state of dress sent cold chills throughout my body.

After much fear and trembling, I decided to face it head on. I took my swim suit and a pair of shorts to wear over it. When "wardrobe" came around, she must have sensed my uncomfortableness, and told me I could wear a pair of capris and a shirt. She did not want me to feel uncomfortable. But I told her I wanted to accept myself the way I am. So she suggested, "How about wearing your swim suit with a pair of capris?" I agreed.

That was struggle enough for one day, I think. I tried not to worry about my "lunch lady" arms. I tried not to compare my body to others. Not saying I was always successful, but I felt like it was a big step in self-acceptance. Yes, it used to be in better shape when I was young. Yes, my sugar addiction, although in recovery now, caused obesity which stretched out my skin. Yes, I'm fighting the ill effects of previous years of bad health habits. But I can't change those things. All I can do is move forward and do the best I can do with what I have now.

So somewhere in a commercial that will air this spring, I am wearing my swimsuit and capris and stepping out there into self-acceptance.

I might need a tranquilizer when it airs.