I have struggled with this blog for three days now; I think perhaps there are three blogs here. Please note, this is only my opinion, and not proven facts from on high. Take what works for you and leave the rest. But do let me know what you think.
Someone I greatly respect has a story; it goes like this: There are three ways you can make a decision; a good decision, a bad decision, or no decision. Now making a good decision is the best idea and the answer we want; making a bad decision can be an excellent opportunity for learning and growth; but making no decision is the worst decision we can make, because it leaves us in a kind of limbo where nothing gets done.
With this blog, I want to start a series of teaching you what the body does and how the body works with food, so you can better understand how the food you eat affects your body, mind, and spirit.
First, I want to say that the Course in Miracles tells us that the body is given to the mind as a tool for learning and growth. The Buddha on his six-year path to enlightenment, had a period where he limited himself to only one grain of rice a day. At that time, he believed that fasting was one of the best ways to acquire wisdom.
He lived on a grain of rice a day, and later, nothing at all. His body became so thin that his legs were like bamboo sticks, his backbone was like a rope, his chest was like an incomplete roof of a house, his eyes sank right inside, like stones in a deep well. His skin lost its golden color and became black. In fact, he looked like a living skeleton — all bones without any flesh! He suffered terrible pain and hunger yet continued to meditate.
For six long years he did these practices and in spite of the great pain and suffering he did not find wisdom or the answers to his questions. He finally decided, “These austerities are not the way to enlightenment.” He went begging through the village for food to build up his body.
Then he tried many other ways of eating until he finally realized that providing enough food for the body to be satisfied, limiting the times food is eaten and focusing on meditation and spirituality, is the path that worked best for him.
Food and eating are the most intimate experiences for our lives, because food literally becomes our body’s parts. In future blogs, I want to tell you real specifically about how the nutrients we eat become our body’s parts, but today I want you to notice that the Buddha took six years to find his way to peace and freedom. Be patient and be gentle with yourself.
What I think is wrong with obesity management in America today, is that we are blaming the person with the disease. Obesity is the symptom, the cause, or the result of some other problem.
If you went to your doctor with an ear infection and he gave you a decongestant and a pain reliever, you would feel better. But without the antibiotic, the ear infection would continue to return and grow worse.
I think a diet is a period of starvation that happens before you gain twenty pounds. It temporarily solves the problem of the overweight, but it does not address the real problem that causes the overweight.
There are lots of solutions: there are diets galore, there are pills and powders and potions and bars and shakes; there is food addiction rehab, other food addiction programs, compulsive overeating treatments of all kinds and stripes.
The question is, what is the real problem FOR YOU? Is it that you had some awful emotional experiences and when you stop over eating, the feelings come up and hurt you? And you cannot stand them, so you eat to put them down?
And when you eat certain foods, do you feel like you cannot stop? And then if you do stop, maybe you get the feelings or maybe you just do not know how to live life without those foods. Or maybe no one had the time or willingness to teach you how to live life.
My friend’s point here is, very few decisions are final and unchangeable. You make a choice, try it out, and look at the results. How close did I get to my goals? How does this feel? What part worked for me and what part didn’t?? And what do I need to do now?
To the client who says, “I cannot imagine living my life without this food, but it is hurting me” I need to ask, “Have you ever lived without it for a time?”
The only reason I can see to put down foods you love, is that the life you get with out them is so much better than the life you’d get with them, that it is worth the sacrifice. And we won’t know until we try.
This is why I believe that recovery programs and food plans need to be adjusted to the individual person’s needs. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
I may not be willing to do forever the things I am willing to do today, but let me be clear about a few things that I have never seen work:
Willpower does not work. If you don’t have willpower, you wouldn’t be trying so long and so hard.
Isolation does not work. We get sick in isolation, we get well in community. We all need the help of others to live our lives and solve our problems.
Wearing a recovery program that feels like a straitjacket will not work; it will not give you the freedom to live your life.
And this is what I believe: that we each need to find a way of living and working and eating and praying that works for us. It has to be individualized just for you; and it may change as your needs change; but the goal is to find what works for you long term.
In future blogs and courses and writings, I’m going to try to help you figure that out for your own path. So, stay tuned.
Thank you for reading this, and please comment below.