Renewal and Nourishing Our Body and Soul

January 6, 2015 in Foodland Chronicles, Health by Joyce Bunderson

A few days ago there were sparkles in the sky …… lots fireworks visible via our view over the valley at midnight. What’s so exciting about turning the calendar page and starting a New Year? I think some of the most important reasons are that people often think of a fresh start; making changes; improving one’s self; and of course, somewhat forgetting about the past.

My first observation as related to myself is that I don’t really want to forget the past; I’d prefer to learn from it. What works and what doesn’t work is a good place to start for those of us who continue to want to learn and grow.

  • To begin with, let’s make a plan to be kind to ourselves. Diminishing our self-esteem does not empower us to achieve our goals. None of us are perfect, but all of us have the ability to improve and to achieve goals. We CAN achieve goals, if we set realistic goals and are patient with ourselves. Just the act of making a specific plan increases our ability to be successful.
  • Many people have given up on the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, because of the failure rate. But maybe if we focus on the fact that 40% of people achieve their goal, we can help ourselves recognize that 4 of 10 people were successful. Maybe we should work to be one of the four; the statistics show that it is possible!!! A goodly percentage of people make it.
  • If you really want to be successful, share your goals with a loved one; a coworker, a family member; a support group – it increases the likelihood of achieving your goals.
  • Trying one behavior change at a time increases the probability of your success. Trying to change too much all in one step is usually overwhelming. Replacing bad habits and choosing, designing and embedding good habits into our lives takes time and effort. Be tolerant with yourself; learn what doesn’t work and move on and continue to learn what works until you’re successful.
  • If you need ideas for where to begin a healthier eating-style you may want to review A Dozen Ways to Nip It in the Bud. Certainly, you’ll want to include moving your body on a regular basis, exercise by any name, if you’re striving to get healthy.

This New Year I decided to share a thought about something that I’ve never written about during these past five plus years of blogging – essentially nourishing our souls. An article in Experience Life magazine, shared with me by my son-in-law, Jeff, motivated my thought process. Jill Metzler Patton makes the case that being fed isn’t the same as being nourished. This idea is fundamental to this blog as applies to the body. She generalizes it to the soul and that too is fundamental to this blog. One of the several observations made by Patton is that rituals heighten our enjoyment of food. Both Harvard and the University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that people, who engage in small rituals before eating, find their food more flavorful. Be sure not to miss the second page of Patton’s article; which lists ideas for bringing meaning to mealtime.

Because it is our tradition to express gratitude before eating, it is an embedded habit. You may want to consider including a similar habit, as it has been discovered to assist people in increasing awareness – helping to focus our intention, a simple ritual brings us into the present moment. According to the studies of Brian Wansink, PhD, one of our favorite authors, a psychologist who studies food use and eating, saying grace or taking three deep breaths helps reduce the likelihood of distracted eating. After surviving yet another holiday season, I’d say that anything that helps us focus on our eating and enjoyment of the meal, might contribute to controlling what and how much goes into our mouth. The more distracted we are (e.g. eating while watching TV; talking on the phone; surfing the internet; or having an intense conversation) the less likely we are to be able to keep track of what is eaten; and the result is that more is routinely eaten. Wansink writes often about the costs to us of mindless eating. Small rituals can help us enjoy mindful eating. If we treat meals as an occasion worthy of our attention, we may discover that we are more satisfied and long less for additional food to fill our emotionally unsatisfied souls.

If we can nourish our body and soul, by bringing ourselves into the present moment positioning ourselves for the success and joy of healthy eating, we’re off to a running start in the New Year. Sending my very best wishes for a truly blessed and wonderful 2015.