— or maybe a better way of saying it is that it all starts in your head. I grew up in a family were the women were all over weight (sometimes more, sometimes less than the previous year at the same time. A line of pictures taken at Christmas, Easter, Birthday or Mother’s Day provide a pictorial history that words can’t even begin to describe. These women are my aunts, my mother and even my grandma—and I know that they love me and would never do anything intentional to hurt me.
–and oh my, did these women know how to cook. Good old fashion “comfort food” meals of homemade, flaky, hand rolled biscuits and hearty sausage gravy; golden fried chicken, mashed potatoes with creamy gravy (made from the drippings), with home canned cream corn; turkey sandwiches piled high with pickles, purple onion, red juicy garden fresh tomatoes and crisp leaf lettuce—slather with a thick coat of mayo. Let’s not forget the desserts: oatmeal, chocolate chunk, cranberry, coconut cookies that it would take two hands to hold; hot brownies that had that perfect gooey (but not raw) center topped with chocolate fudge icing, pecans and of course a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream; or what about the strawberry shortcake with the homemade crust layers that were perfectly flaky, sparkling with a glint only sugar can give and topped with layers of strawberries swimming in lake a sugary strawberry juices all topped with luscious layers of perfectly whipped cream. Yes, my family knows food and we know how to cook. In fact, our greatest strength—became our weakness.
My family doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs—we eat.
Happiness, sadness, celebrations, disappointments—we eat. When we are angry, upset, need a pick-me-up, when we’ve had a bad day—we eat. In fact I probably know the best food to eat for any and all occasions. In many ways food was/is our drug.
Once the term “fat gene” starting making the rounds—I truly believed with everything in me that I had “IT”. I was stuck—that there was no way for my life to be any healthier than it was in right then. All the women in my family were overweight, I was overweight and I would always be overweight.
—it all starts in our heads, or at least our thoughts.
After I had weight loss surgery it wasn’t the “rules” I fought it was the chatterbox in my head. The more I learned the more I realized my health issues weren’t weight issues—they were head issues, or rather thought issues. I also discovered the study of epigenetics—which simply put (and trust me what I understand barley scratches the surface) means that even if I am a gene carry, conditions and factors in my life can switch the gene on (and in some cases turn it off). Epigenetics as it relates to health and weight loss fascinates me—but simply put—even if I DO carry “the fat gene” I have within my power a way to turn it off. Many leading biologist, nutritionist and others are intensely studying this.
One of my favorite brain scientists is Dr. Caroline Leaf. In an August 6, 2012 blog post titled Those Thoughts Inside My Head she says this:
And how many of you have also wondered desperately where those thoughts inside your head come from? And perhaps you have also asked yourself how on earth could you think those thoughts, and wondered why you keep saying and doing what you know makes you feel sick in your mind and body?
As you well know, you are a triune being: you are spirit, you have a soul and live in a body. You are also created in His image and are therefore perfect, with the instilled knowledge of knowing right from wrong and the massive responsibility and gift of being able to choose (Ecclesiastes 7:29; Deuteronomy 30:19). So, it’s not who we are that is the problem; it’s who we have become through the choices we make.
Our soul is our intellect, will and emotions – our mind – and is designed to be led by the spirit. It is with our soul that we understand what the mind knows. Our mind is what our brain does and the brain falls in the realm of the body. Our body does the will of the spirit and the soul. So the choices of our mind manifest in the physical nature of the brain as physical thoughts that impact the health of our body, mind and spirit.
Thinking and choosing produces real physical structures in the brain that are made of proteins and chemicals. In other words, mind (soul) manifests in body (physical thoughts), which in turn impact the soul and the spirit…all three are linked and affect each other. So, if you choose wrong, it becomes a physical reality in your brain, and if you don’t get rid of these physical thoughts, you will live into them and operate from them. This is because everything we do and say is first a thought and comes from a thought. (For much more on this visit Dr. Leaf’s blog or read her books.)
It all starts in our heads:
•success or failure
•winning or losing
•health or being unhealthy
•our ideas of what is healthy
•dieting or lifestyle changes
•excuses or results
This is something we will continue to come back to over and over and over. There are tons of diets, programs, “ways to eat” and “get healthy” or “get skinny” advice being published by the bucket-fuls everyday—and yet as a population we are still gaining weight, overweight, our schools are still full of obese kids, we are still more addicted to sugar than any other drug (more on this later). America is in a health crisis and it’s going to take more than yet another great diet, another great shake or even another health initiative from the White House—it is gonna take us getting serious about our health. It’s gonna take us getting serious enough to get to the root of the issue and our issues
–it all starts in our head.