Monday, August 29, 2011

Southern Comfort, not just in a bottle

Let's admit it, most of us find some comfort in food. In the south we have made an art out of comfort eating. I mean every time grief is involved we try to say we are sorry by bringing a green bean casserole or a bucket of fried chicken! Right? Come on admit it you know its true. Whether we like it or not many of us struggle with eating in times
of stress, grief, and even joy. I think this comes from both natural and learned behaviors. The key to conquering our vices is awareness and planning.

Believe me I speak from personal experiences here, I find myself looking to food at times to provide what I feel like I am missing out on. We disguise this often in terms of reward. I have had such a tough day, I deserve "this or that." I have found that there is nothing wrong with enjoying food and there are times, yes you indulge, which is expected and fine. The difference is when you are continually "rewarding" yourself daily or weekly. Part of the key to weight loss is learning moderation along with food choices and significant exercise.

One of the questions that I often ask myself which has helped me so much in my own weight loss has been this: "why am I eating (or wanting to eat) this right now?" Sometimes the answer is, I have planned for this and it's ok, which means I am aware this is something out of the routine but I have conserved some calories and I know that have or will have exercised an adequate amount. Then there are times that the answer is, "I am feeling sad or overwhelmed or I am bored." It is important here to say "ok I don't need this vice," and find a different outlet for my stress. I admit that sounds neat and clean and it doesn't work always! Believe me I live in and experience reality :) but if we continue to ask the question, it can work.

The more you ask this of yourself the more it works. I use this question when I find myself eating at unplanned times and when I am eating or wanting to eat something outside the norm. Of course I don't ask this of myself when I am eating a breakfast or lunch that I have planned out and know that my choices meet my goals and are part of my eating plan. I do ask this question when I find myself sneaking into the cabinets mid afternoon hoping against all hope that I might stumble upon some sour cream and onion chips that I swore I would never buy again! ;)

Till next time....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hiding The Soul

A big hello to you all who read my entries. Hope you have been having a great summer! I wanted to write about something that intrigued me this past week. I have been in Boston Mass for a conference in which I was surrounded by counselors, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement specialists. In one of the case studies we were discussing,the individual was working through grief and in that time had experienced significant weight gain. As we were working on the case as a group someone said I think this person is "hiding her soul, and the weight gain is symbolic of that." Hmm.... some deep stuff right?

This immediately sent me inward as I thought about my own experience and all the years I spent hiding my soul. For me, I am convinced this was true. I have never been able to name the exact issue that led to my extreme obesity. I mean I cant point to a certain place and time and say, yes this is where at all began! I wish in some ways I could say that, because then I could analyze the whole thing and maybe better understand. Instead over a period of time, pound by pound, I covered up my soul. Feelings of discontent, self confidence issues, feeling forced into certain models or roles, I allowed all of this to cover the light inside me. Instead of taking control, I sunk deeper into a myself. My external condition was representing what was taking place internally, I was hiding my soul.

That has been the work over the past 3 years, this past week marked the anniversary of when I began to dig back to the surface of who I am and who I was created to be. I had no clue back in July of 2008 that I would begin a course that has been and continues to be the hardest challenge of my life. I have clawed my way through over 220 pounds but I am not finished. I am continuing to uncover my soul. I still have emotional, physical, and spiritual work to do. I am far from finished but I know that I am not alone. I sense that some of you are with me. Lets continue to unearth that which is the better part of you and me.

Till Next Time.... Travis