20 May 2010

The Food Issue

It has been consistently documented, talked about, and encouraged.

Every newspaper and magazine with anything to do with health addresses it continually.

Beyond the already difficult body-image issues that Americans struggle with, we know that eating is related to mood: good nutrition is essential to mental health.

Is it really a surprise?

Food is essential to the life of our body.  How could it not be related to our mood?

Eating good food is one of the great pleasures of life.  How could a lack of this not make us feel like something was missing?

For years, I myself have struggled with this.  Even though I have always loved to cook.  I have gone through many food phases.  Raw food, vegetarian, ending last year with the "giving up" phase.  I had resigned myself, at the tender age of 34, to the fact that because I would never a) run or b) go to the gym regularly, I would never be "fit."

And I couldn't imagine that I would ever have time to cook "good meals" with my busy schedule and later evening working hours.

But I was frustrated by how I felt. I went home in the evening with headaches all the time.  I wasn't in shape enough to enjoy the outdoors like I used to.  And it was all making me very sad.  Something had to give.  And it did.

Two people changed it all.  Well three, if you count me.

The first was my wonderful health coach, Katie Decker.  I worked with Katie twice a month for 6 months.  I committed to change.  I kibitzed, I complained, I celebrated.  She listened.   Katie is a wonderful coach, beautiful person and friend.   A good coach at the right time can be just what you need.

And then, I finally bought and read the book I'd been eying for years: French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I was at the airport after a trip to see my beautiful little sister in San Diego.  She was looking and feeling so good, and I wanted some of that.  I saw that book and something clicked.  The next day it was on its way from Amazon. 

I read FWDGF over the course of 2 days.  By the second day, I was eating breakfast--something I have always struggled with--and haven't stopped.  I began cooking at home, eating delicious food, drinking water, going on the long walks I had always loved, the list is endless.

If you choose to read it, do as Mireille says, give it time.  Read the whole thing.  Let it sink in.

For whatever reason, this book gave me permission to live life in the way that feels good to me.  No spandex or big sweats (unless I'm hiking someplace magnificent!).  Just a good 20 minute walk everyday, and 3-4 hikes up the 8 flights of stairs to my office every week. 

I work in downtown Portland and discovered that I spent every week day in the best walking neighborhood in Portland.

I began to see possibility all around me.  Good food seemed possible, fun, and I was losing weight and feeling good.

Next weekend it will have been one year since that fateful reading.  I'm celebrating that by coming out of the FWDGF closet.  It changed my life, maybe it could change yours.  I've recommended it to a few clients like a secret, as if as a therapist I should be above such things.

But a good therapist is never above what helps--why should I be?

To your health!
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