Melinda Armstrong

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Eating With Your Eyes Wide Open…

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:28 am

It’s funny the things we don’t see.  I am fortunate to have the blessing of nearsightedness to remind me of how lucky I am to have contact lenses.  But isn’t it interesting that despite having crystal clear vision, too often much of what’s present right in front of us goes unnoticed?  This morning I woke up with an idea about weight loss and how so much of the struggle we deal with regarding weight issues has to do with what we do not stop to see.

When was the last time someone gave you something really decadent and yummy to try and you took it?  Was it a slice of pie?  A fresh pizza slice?  A piece of chocolate or a juicy mango?  Well, let’s not get into the good vs bad perception we have of any of these foods.  That’s for another conversation.  But think seriously about what you did with that yummy treat once you received it.  Did you look at it?  I mean, REALLY look at it.  Did you notice the glistening of fat, the oozing cheese or the crumbly crust?  If you didn’t, then you really missed out on something.

Eating is about so much more than the act of placing the food in our mouths.  It’s about engaging all of our senses in the process.  You smell, you see, you taste.  You feel the textured, you hear the crunch!  YES!  This is how we are supposed to be eating.  I know, I know you’re too busy to smell it, see it, feel it, blah, blah, blah.  But let’s consider the possibility that it is only when we do take the time to engage all of our senses that we can process our foods completely and let them nourish us as they were created to.

I am a weight loss coach.  That’s one of the hats I wear.  I do so because after my own weight loss journey I was inspired to help other people achieve success in that area.  I’ve learned a great deal in the process of helping people look at their weight.  Specifically, I’ve learned that the most important step is not examining food choices or exercise habits.  I have learned that the most important step is increasing personal awareness of how we treat ourselves.  How we eat is as important as what we eat.  No, successful weight loss is not likely to come about if we regularly consume large amounts of nutritionally poor food.  What we eat does indeed matter.  But, let’s consider the possibility that we would naturally shift to consuming more nutritionally supportive foods if we ate with our eyes wide open and with a greater sense of awareness regarding all aspects of the eating process.

That muffin, though beautiful and delicious, might not have to be consumed in its entirety.  Maybe a quarter of the muffin would give you what you’re looking for from it.  And when was the last time you allowed yourself to enjoy a serving of fresh anything: berries, veggies, sliced mango?  Try that today and notice how beautiful food is just as it came from the earth.  And what about actual homemade goodies?  Today I will be celebrating the birthday of someone very special.  I made one of my signature dishes: seafood pasta salad.  It’s so good!  To the birthday celebration I will bring that dish along with with a beautiful salad filled with an assortment of greens, juicy tomatoes, vibrant carrots, fresh apple chunks and crunchy almonds.  It’ll be topped with a raspberry balsamic dressing I make myself.  Good stuff!  There will likely be birthday cake at the dinner.  Will I push away the slice offered to me in protest, “Oh, no! Do you know how many calories are in that thing?”  I wouldn’t dare say that.  I intend to receive that cake and enjoy a portion (or all) of the slice given to me.  I will eat it with my eyes as well as my other senses, allowing myself to savor each morsel and bless the person who lovingly prepared it.

Food is meant for nourishment as well as for pleasure.  Let’s slow down today and enjoy every bite.

Today is a good day to do everything, eat, laugh, play…with our eyes wide open.

Peace & Blessings,

Melinda

(P.S. One of my favorite authors on this topic is Mark David.  He has written extensively about the “Psychology of Eating.” I encourage you to pick up one of his books if you are interested in learning more.)

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Thinking Out Loud…

In belly dance, career, exercise, fitness, transition, women on October 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

This is true.  Each and every day, we have countless thoughts that go unspoken. Dozens, maybe hundreds.  I guess it depends on how much time we spend alone each day.  Some of those thoughts are around things we habitually do, say, think, etc.  And some are about things we don’t dare let ourselves speak out loud.  What if something bad happened in our thoughts?  I mean, have you ever just allowed your mind to go someplace you wouldn’t want it to go in real life?  Yes, and then you quickly say, “Erase, erase!!! I don’t mean that!”

What about those other fanciful ideas?  The ones that touch shadows of your wildest dreams.  What about those thoughts?  I have those thoughts.  Probably for as many years as I can imagine I’ve had certain private ideas about the life I wish I had.  In this secret world I danced.  I can remember being a teenager and rocking out in the privacy of my bedroom.  I moved like I was in Flashdance in my imaginary world.  Music has always had a way of transporting me to a place that just feels good.  You too?  At various times in my life I have envied everyone from Debbie Allen to the gym aerobics instructor just because they make moving look like so much fun.  What a life!  These were my secret thoughts.

Then I discovered belly dance at a little dance studio not too far from my house.  Oh YES!  I am a dancer.  Every woman who steps foot into Lotus Dance Studio has an opportunity to feel this calling.  We are dancers, indeed.  I love Lotus.  And my teacher there has been my mentor when it comes to belly dancing.  I adore her.  But, can I tell you, dancing is hard work!  Yes, it is fun.  But there’s a hell of a lot more to it than just moving to the beat.  Today, I have more respect than ever for the discipline of dancing.  Being in that space where I am free to move has allowed me to feel even more free to let my thoughts wander to lovely places.  And that’s when I finally voiced one of my biggest secrets out loud; one that was actually a very real possibility if I let myself go there.

I asked this question first in my mind.  I did.  I googled it, I toyed with it.  And I let it go.  “Naaahhhh, I’m too old for that…I don’t have time for that!”

Then one day my belly dance instructor out of the blue said to me, “Have you ever thought about teaching fitness classes?”

That was weird.  Not weird that she asked, but weird that I had.  It was one of those secret longings that seemed like a distant dream.  To make a sort of short story shorter, I decided to finally listen to that little voice.  My teacher’s and my own inner voice that had been saying, “You know you want to.”

I did want to.  And so here I am, re-inventing my life at 45.  Go figure.  Many people and circumstances have found their way into my world to help facilitate this new life.  It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and possibly the most work.  But I love it.  And all it took was for me to finally listen to my own secret thoughts, say them out loud and say, “YES!”

~Melinda Armstrong