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ORM Reality Check: Where Our Ideal Creativity Meets Practical Resistance

Food and Love: Nature's Offering
Grow Love!

In April, my husband, Fred, lost 32 pounds in 30 days. Experts and common knowledge will tell you that this isn’t really possible–especially not without health risks. Lucky for him, he’s never heard that kind of information. To his credit, he rarely listens when people talk about food’s nutritional composition and/or the body’s responses to it. And he has successfully avoided the statistics of experts on these matters. In fact, if someone starts talking about a change in diet, you’ll see him exit stage left pretty quickly. It’s practically an art form.

There have been some exceptions, however. This time, it was a back injury that lingered for more than six months. He went to several professionals, and finally came home with a date for what he dreaded most - back surgery. He didn’t want to have it, but he also didn’t think there was another option. Resigned, and frustrated with his lack of mobility, he decided he would lose weight ahead of his surgery. If nothing else, he thought he would have an easier time with healing. Little did we know, this choice would make such a difference to his body that he would be able to cancel the surgery. That was two months ago.

In the 20 years I’ve known Fred, I’ve watched him repeat this pattern of weight loss a handful of times, with 100% success. He keeps it simple. He says he’s going to do it, and then he does it. And to drive it home a little further, he does it well within the time frame he sets for himself. (For the record, this doesn’t transfer into his daily tasks… yet… but fingers crossed!). Contrary to what scientific evidence has led me to believe about rapid weight loss, when he sets out to do it, he actually appears to get healthier with each passing day. His skin and his eyes become brighter and clearer, and his overall mood is elevated. In the past, I didn’t question his ability to make it happen, because I’d watched him do it before. This time, it’s been a minute since he tried.

He’s over 50 now, and studies continually show that it becomes so much harder to change your body when you don’t remain vigilant about working out. And even when you do, things become ‘stubborn’ after 50. I’ve been reading those headlines in Prevention Magazine for most of my adult life, so I am well-versed in the decline we should expect to experience as we age. I resisted the temptation (it wasn’t easy, either) to share my extensive knowledge on the subject with Fred. You know, to spare him the let-down that he was about to face when he encountered the physical reality of what he was asking his body to do at this stage of life. Turns out, the cosmic joke was on me.

It was clearly my belief system that would require reworking here, not his. As I realized that truth, I felt the dull, familiar sting of fear that was craftily woven into all of those articles about aging. I realized how many times I had based my choices and my values on what I was reading, regardless of how I really felt. More importantly, it most definitely shaped my mentality and my focus. The magazine’s cover always showed me an ideal body that I would never achieve, which I knew at the time was a trap. In addition, it set me up with a month’s worth of conversation about health and wellness, which I really enjoyed. It always provided some cool ideas that I loved trying whenever I felt ambitious. What I didn’t realize until writing this, was how much pressure Prevention Magazine was low-key putting on my mental state year after year by developing and then playing into what had become my biggest fears - being out of touch with my body and getting old. I knew to expect this behavior from Cosmo and GQ, but I let my guard down with Prevention. Doing so prevented me from being able to feel Whole within myself for many years–or at least played a role. I thank the universe once again for showing me that just because I think a thing is true doesn’t mean it actually is. Frankly, this is one of the best things I continue to learn over and over again, as my beliefs change before me.

Fred never questioned himself on this. He just got excited about the task before him, and set some intentions. He started seeing a chiropractor who worked on the scar tissue in his ribs. He quit eating processed foods (for the most part), and he broke up with his long-term comfort food - milk. Not milk products, just the liquid. The weight fell off quickly, and he was shocked to learn that he never even missed his daily dose of milk. He thought this would be a personal challenge because his relationship with milk was the most consistent one he’d had for most of his life. We used to joke about that when it was time to buy milk, but only because it was true. Not only was it easy, he hasn’t missed it even once!

He’s very aware of the bouncy spring in his step, and it registers with him that he hadn’t been conscious of the nose-dive his demeanor took while he was in pain. It’s made him re-evaluate his thoughts about his older pains, physical and emotional, from a broader perspective. He’s actively making new connections that have helped him discover the early roots of his relationship with his body - and food, by extension. Food has always been a comfort to him, and he’s found a balance so that he can still thoroughly enjoy it! From cooking to eating, he still embraces the whole process, and finds pleasure in transforming old pain into new habits.

Pain, whether it is mental, emotional, or physical, takes us pretty far from a balanced mental state, pretty quickly. Frequently, it happens so fast that the underlying pain gets overlooked and then covered up. I find that fact fascinating and it reminds me of how quickly people can slip into depression without even realizing they had started to fall. The last thing most of us want to do is hurt. We know pain is an integral part of life, but we still take steps to avoid, outrun, or deny that we feel it if we can. When we invite or welcome pain, we are asking for some type of punishment. Again, this is human nature, and we must trace the roots if we want the whole truth.

Our weight is more than the measure of our physical matter. It is part of our personal energetic expression, and it directly relates to our emotions and/or our belief systems. It contributes to the condition of our health, but it is not the full picture. Quite often, it tells a misleading story that shows up before we do. It can become a shadow to our personality, shaping a narrative that we have no control over. Judgment is alive and well in modern times, and sometimes the weight of life’s ongoing judgment is enough to create heavily saturated bodies that are working dilligently to carry the weight of life’s journey. Our beliefs about how we look, and more importantly, how we feel about how we look - are tied to the opinions and off-the-cuff remarks of the people who have commented about those things throughout our lives - Our Mentors and Our Tormentors.

The weight of words is largely affected by emotional conditions, even as it shapes our beliefs in the long-term. No one teaches us that. If they did, we wouldn’t walk around holding onto the worst things people said to us as children. We might have overcome the effects, but there is very little forgetting words that have caused us pain. Back to my stellar scientific evidence: I have read that people are far less likely to remember compliments than criticisms. It’s become part of the human condition to dwell on hardship, while moving quickly through joy. Perhaps we’ve gotten it jumbled in our minds? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time!

When someone is prepared to receive criticism, they are more likely to view it as a resource than someone who is suddenly blind-sided by what feels like mean comments. We must also understand that ‘prepared’ is relative, and some people will never be ready to hear anything negative. It’s often because they have too many childhood experiences where their intentions weren’t considered–and that happened a lot. We aren’t living that far from a time where “children were best seen and not heard”, so we are pretty new to authentic conversations about how we feel, mentally. 

As we all contemplate the formation of our mental state during Food Week, I encourage us to challenge our strongly held beliefs. Studies say all kinds of things, but there are always exceptions to the rules. It is true that the more we talk about what we’d like to accomplish, the more we create the conditions to make them happen. At first glance, our world may seem like an uncomfortable place to try new things, or learn, or grow right now. The limitations imposed by politics, religion, and social influences make it hard to go all in on anything, but challenging the beliefs that hold us back will always help us feel more whole. And when we accomplish the seemingly impossible with relative ease, we can sit back and smile - knowing that we have successfully bucked the collective belief system once again. Thanks Fred!



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