Saturday, 2 February 2013


Have a heart? Heart throb? Forgiving Heart? Warm Heart? Brave heart? Broken heart? Take heart? This month hearts will abound and, depending on where you are in your life, your spirit will dance with anticipation or drop to the depths of despair. Of course, most of us will be somewhere in between.

I have had a change of heart - or maybe I should say I am working on that! I have slowly started to inch along learning to face the inner me - that place that decides what I put into my mouth and how much I move my body and why - or even why I don't - do something to take care of me in the first place. I have been inspired by a book recently that is about how to understand and help children who have a weight problem (Weight Watchers Family Power).

Although it was my interest in the increase in childhood obesity in our society today (I relate!) that drove me to this book, my heart was opened to some personal messages that struck home even at my senior state of life!  Weight problems in children are not always about the food - they are about why they are shovelling the food in and sometimes it is not about how much they eat but about how little they move. Hmmmmmmmmmm!

I have also been watching the Biggest Loser this season and seeing the children on this show share about their experience of being the "fat" kid at school - once again, do I relate! Interestingly both book and show agree on many levels. Both indicate that you need to figure out why your child is eating the way they are and also figure out how to inspire them to start moving more. Make it fun, they say. And, be a role model - fix your own eating habits and activity levels. And no lecturing! Find a common ground, someway that you and your child can be healthy and active in amongst the giggles and jokes.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

In my soul, I am still that small child who
did not care about anything else
but the beautiful colors of a rainbow. 
~Papiha Ghosh
My inner child sat up and took notice! (She often reads over my shoulder!)  She said: "See, pay attention! I told you!" The parent in me wanted to argue the point, talk about how serious this is or explain about how hard it is and that I really should try harder but - hearing it through her ears - it sounded judgemental, serious, parental - all about the woulds, shoulds and coulds of life about eating and exercising.  Her voice inched up an octave or two and she cried out: "Can't we just play? Run, sing, shout? Eat well; sleep when we are tired; laugh at ourselves; giggle with a friend; trust that tomorow will be a better day; cry in a moment and laugh in the next; snuggle into a comfortable, safe place when we hurt; and know, deep in our hearts, that all is well right now?"  Did she really just say that?  But........

My inner child threw back her head at all these notions of control and caution bubbling up inside of me (she can often read my mind!) and rolled her eyes at my complaints about sore muscles and aching feet. "Didn't you have fun", she asks, "did you see how fast you could spin that bike? Faster than before? And, wasn't it a hoot to break a sweat with the others last night? And, it was SOOOO embarrassing going to the wrong station for the lunges work out but wasn't it great to laugh with your partner when she threw up her hands at your goofiness? My parent/adult me stopped in disbelief and then considered the world I had created sometime after I turned twenty where running and playing were exercise and eating was wrong and laughing, well laughing I could do but quietly and at the right place in the story or joke and ... when did the world become such a cautious, serious, structured place?  And why?  More research; more exploring.....

Then I stumbled upon this little gem - food and comfort ARE actually connected when we are tiny babes in our mother's arms - this connection stays strong and is at the basis for many a person's need to turn to food for comfort when __________ (fill in the blank with your pain here and ... now I am smiling and saying, see....!)  That safe, cozy place we keep searching for when our anxiety or anger or ..... surface has evolved into our adult version of slurping down a bottle close to the one who loves us from the beginning - the fast food place, the corner store place, the freezer full of ice cream place, the cookies in the pantry place.  We have somehow missed the lesson in the How to be an Adult Workshop - the one about how you learn to be the BIG person in your own life who will take care of you and all your concerns one at a time, in the moment, without camouflaging that angry feeling or the scared one or the out of control one - and without turning to ice cream or toast stuff it down and make it go away.  Of course, if we are gong to go back to this life training thing, we might want to tack on the lesson on owning your feelings, paying attention and learning from them but, maybe on another day!

One of my goals I am launching this month is to take heart, be strong and face the why's of my over eating more honestly. Control is one thing but I believe that unless I can also change my emotional need to eat, the weight I am working so hard to lose will come back. My dream is strong; perhaps my courage to dig deeper will peel back the layers and provide some understanding and healing that will touch my heart, mend my heart, build heart and help it soar!  (Oh yes, and, help me to see the colours of the rainbow!)

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