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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Reflections on 'Being A Pilgrim' for Thanksgiving Holiday

Being A Pilgrim by Mark Nepo

To journey without being changed
is to be a nomad.
To change without journeying
is to be a chameleon
To journey and to be transformed
by the journey
is to be a pilgrim.

As we ease into our Thanksgiving holiday, remember what it's really about! America is a free and rich land (despite the recent 'crisis' and the strife the country is experiencing over these past 8 years) and most people can live reasonably well. Those that struggle at least can find somewhere to find help and/or someone(s) to provide shelter, clothing, and food. So, please -- give thanks, take rest, have fun, give joy, and find peace -- for yourself and for one another. Do enjoy your favorite foods and drink, but don't overeat and/or drink excessively. If you find yourself going that route, why not pack the extras up and bring it to a nearby homeless shelter. Better yet, why not just buy and make 'enough' -- not too much and donate the rest of the money that you would've spent on the surplus food to feed an army when you were only having 8 or 10 people.
We need to strive to be constantly transforming ourselves -- life is our 'journey' and the minute we just stop and stagnate and accept the 'status quo' for ourselves, well, we just drift or look in the mirror and find one day we're just looking at another being -- not the person we want to be or hope to become. Pilgrims takes pilgrimages to holy places to find inspiration and purpose -- a higher power than our own -- our God! Make the pilgrimage to your own 'wholeness' and 'wholesomeness'. Keep food and drink (w)holy this Thanksgiving and keep your momentum going as you continue your transformation to a beautiful you!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

What IS a diet anyway? You must understand this before you embark on yet another one!!

The minute someone tells me they are going on 'a diet' to lose weight, I immediately ask them "So, what's your diet now?" More often, people say "Oh, no, I'm not on a diet now -- I eat everything and anything." or they tell me what newfangled 'diet' they've been following with no results or first great results and then they put the weight all back on within a month, etc., etc. PLEASE -- STOP!!!!

The word diet simply refers to the food we/you eat. It really shouldn't mean some pattern of food intake meant to be followed temporarily for a certain purpose, be it weight loss or to control cholesterol, fat intake, or foods you can't tolerate, or for whatever reason. One does, frequently, have to be on a modified diet to control symptoms from a certain disease or condition and/or damage to the body. For example, people who must follow a gluten-restricted/free diet, people on a simple-sugar restricted diet because they are diabetic (Type 1), children with PKU who MUST follow a phenylalanine-restricted diet, etc. But, even these folks have to follow this way of eating for life. It's not something one goes on and off. It's a part of their lives that they follow without giving it a second thought -- well, if they DO eat against it, they could have severe problems, like excruciating pain, hyperglycemia and diabetic coma, mental impairment, and death.

Likewise -- eating a certain way to lose weight MUST be a lifetime pattern and a diet that can be followed and sustained. Otherwise, it's just a band-aid to a sore that will never go away, in fact, it will get WORSE. A balanced, sensible diet is THE magic bullet to getting weight off and KEEPING it off -- FOR GOOD. The point is -- you STAY on it for life because you WANT TO -- you like what you're eating, you get joy from eating and food and so you should. Food is a wonderful gift and blessing. Eating is fantastic!!!

 I certainly LOVE to eat, but I LOVE eating healthy. THIS is the win-win, my friends. Learning to love healthy foods -- actually CRAVING healthy foods just as much as you crave that donut or those chips or that beer and pizza or that double-fudge brownie. When consumers start DEMANDING health, industry and the media and restaurants will start kow-towing and SUPPLY us with tasty, lovely, BUT HEALTHY foods. It's already starting, but we truly have to keep at it, folks. You want to be healthy and gorgeous -- well, make your diet make it happen! Go for fresh fruits -- crispy tasty apples and pears at this time of year. Bake a fruit cobbler made with an oats/walnut-based crunch topping over the fruit and then dollop some low-fat yogurt on the side to serve. Make vegetables tasty by adding tomatoes and a bit of parmesean cheese to them or season them with spices. Roast potatoes whole with just a spray of olive-oil on them with some crushed rock-salt and tyme sprinkled over them. Meat with natural juices are much tastier than with heavy gravies on them. Eat more legumes like peas, beans, chick-peas -- make a bean-based big pot of chili this week made with fresh cilantro leaves broken in during the last few minutes while it simmers. Serve with low-fat corn muffins. There are SO many great recipes today that emphasize high-fiber, low-fat versions of the traditionally fattening things like muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. TRY these recipes -- you'll be SURPRISED how tasty they are.

Don't fool yourself by going on and off temporary crazy diet plans. Make YOUR diet the plan for life!! Contact me for more tips -- I can help you!!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

"I eat flowers now and birds follow me." Mark Nepo

Oh how I love the words from the poem "Surviving Has Made Me Crazy' by Mark Nepo.
For me, it says it all. That is, now that I've finally 'gotten it' -- duh-- after all these years, I eat healthy -- I eat and enjoy my food, while keeping food in perspective. Food is a gift and a pleasure, so like beautiful flowers -- and needs to be enjoyed as such and respected. To OVEREAT is like taking away the simple beauty of a lovely bunch of flowers by piling bunch upon bunch on top of each other, losing sight of the simple, exquisite beauty of one or one bunch. Take care with lovely food, take in only as much as your exquisite body needs to flourish and thrive and be glorified! Nurture yourself, yes, of course, but don't 'smother' yourself. And guess what happens -- you will become the radiant beauty, the gorgeous specimen of your species, the deep pink perfect rose or the glossy flawless white gardenia standing out proud and firm and healthy..... and all the birds, twirping merrily as they fly by, will stop in awe and follow.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini

That's right, as in itsy weeny teeny weenie! I'm aiming to wear that on the beach next summer!! Now, mind you, I don't know if I'll really actually don one, but the point that I'll BE ABLE TO if I fancy it, is the kick! Truthfully, to me, looking great physically doesn't mean one has to flaunt it, shamelessley. If one 'has it', people seem to notice you anyway, especially if you dress well and take care of basic grooming. These are habits that don't take alot of money or time -- even inexpensive clothes look great on a toned and fit body and when one is healthy, the skin is smoother, the face glows, and eyes sparkle. Eating balanced and healthy and getting proper exercise are the absolute best beauty treatments out there! No amount of facials, injections, extractions, plastics, etc., etc. replaces the tangible, visible effects of healthy lifestyle. People are just plain stupid if they can't see the value for money in that!!!! Guess what, folks -- there's alot of stupid people out there! I know, I was one of them. Even with all my knowledge, credentials, and degrees in medicine and nutrition, I got 'stupid' for a number of years. I let myself go. It's an awful feeling when you feel a certain 'person' from the inside and your outward 'you' shows the world someone else. The end result is that you become 'invisible' -- like the two opposing images of 'you' clash and implode one another to, basically, destroy both -- there are no 'winners'. It's no way to live and I wanted 'out'....soooo, I started practicing what I preach!!! Actually, for the years that I became obese, I stopped practicing -- I couldn't get up in front of people to give a talk about nutrition when I, myself, embodied the opposite. In all fairness, I DID eat healthy -- just too much food! And, I'm a comfort eater and I got into comforting myself a WHOLE lot those days (also with chocolates, chips, and other high calorie, high-fat food). I even stopped seeing private clients, even though the minute I clicked into mode, patients totally forgot what I looked like -- they KNEW I knew my stuff and would be someone who could help them, even if I, paradoxically, couldn't seem to help myself. In that way, I found most people quite understanding and forgiving. But, I stopped seeing private clients, too -- even if I was helping them -- isn't that pathetic?! I mean, talk about 'flaunting' self-importance! But, you see, it was ME who was relentlessley unforgiving of my own frailty. I didn't even care that I was blessed with my education and 'knack' for successfully treating folks, I was so stuck on myself and my 'poor me' situation. I was physiological/psychological hell and the door to the 'way out' seemed hermetically sealed and I was getting more and more claustrophobic and weaker and weaker, and well, willing to 'evaporate'! So, you know what I did?! I just 'let go'. I begged to Whatever/Whoever from above and beyond me. I guess what I did was -- I gave it all up to God. Now, I know what you're thinking -- what!!!! -- a religious nut! Think what you may, I'm the last person you'd ever meet who would strike you as such, but I am CONVINCED there is a wonderful, loving God who took me in hand and brought me back. Funny thing is, I've actually tried NOT to believe in God, being all skeptical and uber-questioning every little discrepancy and 'man-made' need for this and for that, but, in the end, God's belief in ME, in the goodness of the crazy nut (me) He created -- brought me back to Him. I can't explain it, I can only live it -- and I have faith. So, my dear friends, it's about faith! I'm living the truth of my body, nutrition (as much as is known), and fitness, and the rest (the vibrancy, the glow, the healthiness, the joy) just, thankfully, comes with the package. Wow, what a fantastic surprise!!!!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Post 2008 Olympics Reflections

Hi Everyone,

Well, the Olympics are over and we enjoyed watching those athletes create new world records. At some points while watching, I found myself saying 'these people are just SO GOOD at this or that (whatever/whoever I was watching be it Michael Phelps in the pool or the gymnasts, etc), they must be CRAZY to spend so much time, energy, and focus to reach the levels of achievement in their respective sports. But, then I thought -- are they? Not at all -- they're not crazy -- they just see themselves as WINNERS! They see themselves as the people they WANT to be. They strive to be their 'personal best' because they feel they CAN! It's actually quite pure and simple. The notion of 'personal best' is cool. It means you're not really so much in a race or comparison with others as much as you are with yourself. It allows one to look inward -- to take time, energy, and to care and to LOVE oneself. This is much better than achieving success or accomplishments because one feels they have to be the best above all the rest or others. The dynamic of comparison and wanting to win, no matter who or what is hurt in the process (especially who -- very cruel thinking) can invite nastiness and negativity. Thinking in terms of 'personal best' is much more constructive. I believe each one of us, whether consciously or unconsciously, thinks about what our own 'personal best' version of us we are. It's such a great feeling when we look and feel our best. We are truly filled with happiness when we know we've achieved success at something we've worked hard at. When we visualize ourselves at our 'personal best', we feel good. We all actually WANT this for ourselves and CAN have it for ourselves. The difficulties arrive in knowing HOW to become our 'personal best'. Well, finally after years of fumbling and losing my way, I feel so good about saying that I've found out HOW and I'm DOING it!!! You know what I've found out?? Living out the 'journey' is almost as rewarding as achieving my 'pb'. The day-to-day decisions and behaviour that go along with doing what it takes to realize the vision of myself at my 'pb' has made life so rich and full and just so joyful, in and of itself!!! I KNOW I'm on my way to becoming my personal best!! And I'm so filled with energy and zeal, I want to share it with EVERYONE. I can help you. Just let me know. I know how and what to do. Just let me know if you need help. And know this -- it doesn't take 'craziness' to get to this level -- it takes truth and awareness, and commitment, and staying the course and, darn, it feels so good -- great, in fact -- IT'S SIMPLY THE BEST!!!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Becoming the person I'm meant to be

Hi, everyone.

As we get older, we often find ourselves morphing into a person who doesn't reflect on the outside who we feel we are inside. It has nothing to do with the process of aging,itself, but more with how we treat our bodies (and souls!, dare I say) AS we age. We eat too much, perhaps drink too much, become too busy,too harried, too caught up with keeping up with 'the Joneses', stop being active physically, etc., etc.
It's not a great feeling to look in the mirror and hardly recognize the person staring back at you. Worse yet, have you ever found yourself walking by a store shop window and turning your head to see who the big buffoon or cow is walking 'next' to you only realize with painful horror that it's you!! Scary, my friends, very very scary.
When I turned 50 y.o., I said to myself "MJ -- that's it!!! You deserve better than ending up living the remaining 20 or so years you have left as a 'frumpty,dumpty'. You were created a beautiful, vibrant, bright person and worked hard for so many years to be THAT person and were for several years the person you were meant to be and life was great! Somewhere along the 'merry way', you morphed into looking like someone else, while still inside being you -- get it back -- get it back"! And so I did, ladies and gentlemen. I started eating 100% healthier, I started exercising, I started simplifying my life wherever I could and concentrated on spending time with people and in places and situations that I found made me stronger, better, and happier. Of course, I still have responsibilities and stresses and am kind and giving to people -- even folks that are difficult and unfair, but I choose my path -- I'm not led into negativity out of guilt or by being pushed or feeling trapped. But most important, as I said earlier -- I'm leading a HEALTHY lifestyle. It was HELL at the beginning to get started and to STAY on course, but, after about 3 months, I started to feel just a wee bit more like 'me' again! Now, after almost 2 years of keeping at it -- I not only look and feel great, but I look and feel even better than when I was in my late 20's/early30s when I THOUGHT I looked my best! I'm wearing clothes again that enable me to reflect the style I want to embody and emit and, man, it feels great! In short, I'm on the fast track to becoming the person I'm meant to be. I'm so filled with it that I want to share this mission with the world. I'm really trying to get my children to grasp the importance of this. Man, if I had started when I was in my late30s/early40s, Lord knows what I could've accomplished or who I could've helped! It's never too late, though. I read a poem in the late 90s that started me on my journey to become the best 'me' and filled me with the desire to pass this legacy on. The poem is called 'Of History and Hope' by Miller Williams. I will post here the excerpt of this poem that I keep posted on my bulletin board:

".....But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children...

All this in the hands of children, eyes
already set on a land we can never visit --
it isn't there yet---
but looking through their eyes, we can see
what our long gift to them may come to be.
If we can truly remember, they will not forget"

Won't you join me in 'remembering' who you are again and bringing yourself back?
I can help you, too. Let me hear from you!