Sunday, January 1, 2012

5 Things That Add More Weight Than Food

Small steps to big results
Day 1 of Your Year To Wellness

I thought I’d start the year off right, by debunking the myths about weight gain and lack of wellness. I’ve stated before that weight is not a true measure of wellness. Whenever I go to the doctor, any doctor, I will not get on the scale. When I was “grossly obese,” (They had to add gross to an already ugly medical term.) I found that my illness, any illness was being viewed through my weight. The number on the scale and then in my medical record determined what steps would be taken. Later I found the research to back up this observation, so I decided that I wanted to be treated as a person and not my weight. Thin people can be unwell just as fat people can be fit. Wellness is the re-alignment of the spirit, mind and body. When the three are working together in harmony, we are well.

We have come to believe that overeating is the cause of fat and an imbalanced life. But in the words of Brother Malcolm, we have been “Bamboozled, hoodwinked, lead astray run amuck.” We are told to eat and eat one moment and then to starve the next. Information is everywhere, but so are the mixed messages of advertising and the weight loss industry gobbledygook.

I want you to be well, not thin, because unless thin is your natural body type, it won’t be wellness for you. Each day, I will share with you what I’ve learned on my road to wellness.

The Year To Wellness book outlines the entire program and the science behind it. This blog will provide supplemental day by day information. (I will not repeat the program from the book, I don’t like to repeat myself---ask my kids.)

I started the Year To Wellness program because I was sick, I’m doing it again because someone else is sick. Okay, confession time, because it really is good for the soul. Three years ago, when I created this program, I had lots of health challenges, but a dear friend and sister had more.

Annette, is one of those kind souls who keeps the earth in balance, so when she asked if I would be tested to be a potential kidney donor, I immediately said yes, then I asked my family. I was tested along with other friends and her husband, and as joy would have it, her husband and I were both a match. We decided to have a kidney run-off and because Jerry was a lot closer to Mayo than me he ran in before I could. Jerry is a brilliantly kind financial fixer wiz dude who happens to be funny. After donating his kidney to his wife, he decided to join in the work for finding donors and now sits on the board.

When I found that I was a potential match for Annette, I immediately started seeking ways to get well, and I did. I am grateful to Annette for being the catalyst on this journey.

A few months ago, I got another life inspiring call from Annette when she asked if I’d be tested as a donor for a woman I don’t know. Since this is a confession, I will admit to you that my answer was not as quick as it had been for Annette. I paused for a moment and wondered where the woman’s family was, I wondered what would happen if someone in my family needed a kidney and then I wondered what would happen if I needed one. But the pondering didn’t last that long; my beliefs wouldn’t allow it. I believe that what we put out, we get back. I have never drank, nor smoked. I’ve done no drugs and I have had a vegetarian lifestyle for 38 years (mostly vegan.) And by the way, all of these things were helpful in recognizing that it’s not always food that makes you fat.

In that moment of reflection I came to see that if I were to do for this stranger what needed to be done, than I and my loved ones would be okay; this is the foundation of my spiritual walk. Long story short, I said yes, and again discussed it with my family. They all thought it was “Cool” or in the case of my sister, “Right on.”

I’ve learned from Jerry and others that the more fit you are before surgery, the quicker the recovery; Jerry did it in 3 days.

So this is my confession. I am on this second journey to be well so this woman and all who are reading can get well too.

With tears in my eyes and much love in my heart, I hope you join me in becoming your best You ever.

Enough crying and on to the 5 things that add more weight than food

·         Stress: Number one killer. Stress doesn’t just add weight, it will kill you, but it tortures you first.

·         Sitting/Inactivity: Our lack of movement is making it harder and harder to move. Sitting at a computer and desk all day long without short movement breaks is not natural to our bodies. We were designed to move; to hunt and gather burning calories while we search for food. Needless to say, that’s not happening. So when we fail to ride a bike or walk to the grocery store or after a meal, we are adding insult to injury.

·         Sugar Free Foods and starving: When you pig out on sugar free, you are triggering a need for nutrient rich foods; which is why you keep eating; your body is searching for what it really needs. Starving messes with your metabolism in ways we will discuss later.

·         Lack of Community: We are social beings and we need a community to keep us active, connected to life and joyous. Research shows that seniors who have a community of folks around them are much healthier than those who don’t. When the community is centered on activities they enjoy, like music, dancing, fishing, you also see a reduction in the diseases associated with aging.

·         Your Trigger Food:  (See my posting What I Eat Won’t Make You Move) We all have a trigger food; it’s that thing that triggers a need to eat something else, then something else. Trigger foods are those foods and beverages that we cannot go without. You will have it every single day. Some folks will start the day with it, while others may use it at day’s end. For me it was popcorn. What we are addicted to, we are often allergic to, as was the case for me. I’m allergic to corn. (Help me Lord.) Even now, I’m thinking of a bowl of popcorn with nutritional yeast and raisins. You may be thinking of a cold diet coke or a bag of chips. The trigger food is not as obvious as you would expect. I thought my trigger food would be bread or french fries as I loved them dearly. But when I stopped eating popcorn, I no longer wanted either of them and my cravings for them actually went away on their own.

This will be a beautiful year. I’ve learned that getting well does not happen overnight. Like the old folks say, if you fall into something quickly, you can fall out the same way. Let’s take the entire year to become the best we can be for ourselves and for those around us.

Happy New Year

Bertice Berry, PhD

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