Soul Food Junkies – Do They Run in Your Family?

After years of research, filmmaker Byron Hurt blessed us with the documentary Soul Food Junkies, which tells the story of his father’s love affair with soul food and eventual death, likely related to an overall unhealthy diet.  This story is exactly why I do what I do. I know first hand what it’s like to have family members addicted to unhealthy eating. In fact, I inherited the trait.

Did you catch my Krispy Kreme Testimony? Well it didn’t start there.  I remember my mother telling the story of how the neighborhood doughnut shop used to give her a courtesy call at her request each morning at around 4am to inform her that the doughnuts were hot and ready to be picked up. Sound familiar? She told me she would get three dozen; one for her, one for my dad, and one for us 3 kids to share. Damn shame, huh?

At some point during the documentary Byron touched on the fact that the comfort his dad got through soul food was likely his way of escaping the pain of the loss of his first born son. I, too, know the comfort of food after losing a child. That’s exactly how Sweet Tooth Therapy was born. Fortunately for me, I was able to catch myself after gaining 12 pounds and switch from baking and eating for comfort to baking and selling.

If you ever watch The Biggest Loser, you may notice a common thread, other than obesity. My hubby would watch the show and say “wow, he really loves food.” And I’d always say “no, he’s loving the comfort the food is giving him in the midst of some deep pain or void.” And sure enough, somewhere during the season, Each contestants’ demon is revealed. Molestation, rejection, secret homosexuality, abuse, loss of a child, parent or spouse; something devastating is usually brought to the surface.

Myles Munroe was the first person I ever heard say “when you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you abuse it.” And that’s exactly what soul food junkies do. And all other food junkies for that matter.
It’s a combination of food abuse and self abuse. The ethnicity of the food has nothing to do with it. For me it was sweets. For my mom it was good food, period. For Byron’s dad, it was soul food and fast food. It’s interesting how food abusers are often seen as food lovers. it’s like a person can abuse another person and the one being abused can actually think they’re being loved.  When you really love food, you’re too selective to eat just any and everything. And when you are loving yourself, you only eat what you need and no more. When it slips over into greed and gluttony, there is no love in that neighborhood. I’m just sayin’.

If you find that you’re abusing, or neglecting yourself by habitually overeating and having an unhealthy diet, the main thing is to fix what’s eating you, and then you can fix what you’re eating. When you try a new diet and don’t deal with the real internal issue, you’re just putting a bandaid on a deep, infected wound. You deserve better treatment than that.

I thank Byron Hurt for sharing his father’s story. I know it will get the attention of someone who is self medicating with food, and hopefully cause them to take notice before it’s too late.

Have you ever felt out of control or like a food junkie? If so, what, if anything, did you do to turn it around? Do you, or someone you know need prayer in this area?

You can watch Soul Food Junkies online until January 22, or purchase the DVD.

21 Days to a New Habit

We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  Well, let’s test it out.   Three weeks ago, a few of us worked on shrinking that kangaroo pouch for 21 days.  I’m not sure if we were as successful as we had hoped to be, so let’s try it again.

Starting Monday, we will begin our official 21 Day Challenge, and here are the rules:

1.  Choose 1, 2, or 3 healthy habits you would like to develop and/or bad habits to end.  Please, do not try to be Wonder Woman and shoot for a total life makeover complete with 10 new habits and a new attitude.  Baby steps.  One main habit is what you need to work on.  If you just HAVE to multitask (like myself), you can choose up to 2 additional habits.  Remember, the goal is to form that one main habit by the end of the 21 days.  We will do this again so it’s okay if you aren’t a completely new person when this ends.

2.  Sign up for fitoracy via my group link

3.  Pull out your credit card and put your money where your mouth is.  For $21 you can challenge yourself at 21habit.comYou’ll pay the $21, and each day that you do your new habit, you earn a dollar back.  At the end, any money that you didn’t earn back is donated to charities listed on the website.  Don’t you just love it?!

4. Check in with us daily on the facebook page for support, encouragement, and to let us know how you’re doing.  Congrats on your new habit!

Ready… set… go!

Did The Olympics Inspire You to Get Off the Couch?

US Women’s 400m relay – Gold medal winners

I love the Olympics.  But I must admit that somewhere in the middle of week two I’m always the one to complain that it has been on just too damn long.  And then as we approach the final days I start to wish I had appreciated it more, and get a little sad at the thought of the closing ceremony.

This year I allowed the games to be incredibly inspirational to me.  When I think of Gabby going all the way to Iowa to live with a family who not only couldn’t cook soul food, but hadn’t a clue about the trials of a black girls hair – oh lawd.  I don’t think I could have done it!  She is such a trooper.  Her story allowed us to reflect on the power of perseverance, and how far we can go when we are truly determined. Continue reading “Did The Olympics Inspire You to Get Off the Couch?” »

Shimmy Popping My Way Through The Fear

In my last post I mentioned that I had not been myself for a while, and that I’m back to my old self.  I kind of forgot how crazy and daring I used to be.  So what did I do?… I signed up to be in a flash mob – and I KNOW I have back and knee issues, not to mention I still do the wop and think I’m groovin’.

How we feel vs. how we really look

Continue reading “Shimmy Popping My Way Through The Fear” »

Whole Foods Market Oakland has a brand new Wellness Club!

In case you haven’t heard, Whole Foods Market in Oakland has a brand new wellness club!  

Courtesy of Michael Jefferies, Whole Foods Wellness Club Lecturer

One of only five wellness clubs, Whole Foods Market Oakland opened it’s wellness club a couple of weeks ago, offering cooking classes, yoga, and more! Continue reading “Whole Foods Market Oakland has a brand new Wellness Club!” »

Small Foxes on a Road Trip

Yesterday hubby took the fam on a nice little road trip down the coast, or was it up the coast? I don’t know, but it was certainly full of opportunity to eat my way through a small part of California. Good thing I had already decided that I would not be overcome by my sweet tooth, or my fat tooth, or my carb tooth on this trip.

Fortunately for me the first stop was an organic cherry grower. Those made for a nice little snack in the car. Next stop, a bakery – uh oh. Again, remember, I am in control. Breathe deeply, relax, and choose ONE dessert. For those of you who know me, you know that normally I would leave this place with a shopping bag full and think nothing of it – calling it research for Sweet Tooth Therapy (warning, do not click that link unless you can handle sweet tooth porn). But today was a new day. I was overjoyed to find a surprisingly delicious cherry walnut oat cake – kind of a granola bar. I’ll be trying to duplicate that soon. (note to self – remember to take a pic before you start eating.)

Next stop, a spot that reeked of grease and salt and all things fried. Thank God we left in a hurry. We found a more suitable establishment up the road, where they greeted us with a huge hunk of sourdough bread and butter, to which I politely said no. I must have been feeling particularly strong this day, because I also said no to fish n’ chips, AND the blackened fish sandwich. Instead I went for an absolutely wonderful smoked albacore salad (so good I forgot to take a picture before it was all gone – sorry).

As we headed back up the coast, we noticed the streets lined with candy shops. The devil was busy folks. Anyway, we went in and came out without me tasting or touching one piece.

Our final stop was Nation’s. I innocently went in planning to get a veggie burger. I forgot about the pies, and the fries. Of course the cashier enthusiastically offered fries, pies, AND a shake. I don’t ever recall the service at Nation’s being this friendly and thorough. Happily I can report that I left with no more than a veggie burger on wheat, as planned.

At the end of the day I took a moment to count how many small foxes could have spoiled my plan for clean eating for the day – NINE. Think about it – If you face many little innocent offerings of one cookie, a handful of chips, a little mayo, or extra mayo all in one day, that stuff (y’all know what I wanna say) adds up. What if you make it a habit of welcoming the small foxes on a daily basis? What would happen if you choose to refuse the small foxes, and make that a habit?

Nobody means any harm when they offer, or at least I hope they don’t. Really, sometimes people see you being stronger than they are and want to sabotage, but that’s a post for another day. Anyway, it’s your responsibility to stick with your plan. And of course if you fail to plan, then you’ve already planned to fail.

I, by no means, have this down pat. This was a great day that I hope to use to motivate you as well as myself. I want you to know that we’re in this together. But if I can do it, you can do it, one day, no, one small fox at a time. So do me a favor and take notice the next time a small fox comes your way – probably within the next hour after you read this. Be strong, kick that fox to the curb, and keep it movin’. I promise you’ll be so glad you did.

Does Your Weight Loss Resolution Already Need Resuscitation?

As we approach the end of the first month of the new decade, I wonder how many resolutions have survived. Many started the year hyped up about one particularly popular resolution, weight loss. Possibly the most popular New Year’s resolution, it may also be the quickest one broken.

I have my suspicions as to why such an important resolution gets kicked to the curb before we can even smell the Valentine’s chocolates waiting around the corner. Too many resolutions, lack of resolve, and inappropriate weight loss methods are a few correctable problems that could be blocking you from that svelte, toned body you so desire. The good news: it’s not too late to get back on track or even start your weight loss plan with some simple yet strategic moves.

Over-zealousness has led to the early demise of countless heartfelt resolutions. The excitement of a new year and a new decade can leave one feeling as though they can conquer the world, when the reality is many can’t even conquer the smell of In-N-Out Burger. Attempting to focus on losing weight, improving finances, smoking cessation, and making a career change all in the month of January does not yield a recipe for success in 2010. A more realistic plan is to choose one resolution (weight loss) and focus on mastering it. Regardless of the time it takes, stay focused until that one resolution becomes your new habit, or new way of life. Develop your plan for weight loss, achieve that goal, and move on to the next one. The idea is to be realistic and stick with what you can reasonably handle before overwhelming yourself by committing to an additional major life change. In other words, baby steps.

When people make weight loss resolutions, it becomes quickly evident how serious they are. Choosing to indulge in the first temptation that comes along reveals a lack of resolve. Did you give in to the temptation to skip a workout simply because it was raining? Did you join the crew for a bite to eat knowing that the Cheesecake Factory was your downfall? Such choices would explain why the resolution to lose weight is already a thing of the past at only the 3rd week of the new year.

At least you’re serious enough to be reading this, and that’s a good sign. As I said before, it’s not too late. Next you’ll need to start behaving as though you are serious in other ways. People who have successfully lost weight are those who are not trying to but have decided to make lasting lifestyle changes. They resist temptation to things that take them away from their plan because they are serious about their goals. Here’s an unconventional yet effective way to remind yourself to resist temptation: the next time you’re out to dinner or visiting the employee cafeteria, look around stealthily and check out what others are choosing to eat. My guess is the food choices will match the outcome. Most, if not all, of the people choosing the high fat or high carb options will tend to have a larger than recommended girth, and those choosing the healthier options will either be svelte, or on the way there if they keep it up. In other words, your choices will either get you where you want to go, or where you don’t want to go. Choosing to be serious about your resolution is vital to your weight loss success.

Finally, what is your weight loss method? We are inundated with weight loss plans these days, any one of which could work for you if you just do it. Eliminating white sugar from your diet will lead to weight loss, as will counting calories, purchasing prepared calorie restricted meals, following a low fat diet, etc. The question is how long can one reasonably expect to commit to any of these methods? The weight loss method you choose must last you as long as you plan to keep the weight off. I really hate to see someone spend hundreds of dollars on a weight loss program, lose 30 or more pounds, then regain the weight when they tire of shelling out the dollars. And what about plans that forbid certain foods? If this seems realistic for you, then by all means go for it. More than 20 years ago I gave up red meat. Apparently that was not a problem for me, as I’ve never struggled with my decision. I can’t, however, imagine never eating birthday cake again. So the sugar free diet is not for me. I can imagine limiting my carb intake by choosing foods with a low glycemic index most of the time. This will yield weight loss and make for a method that I can reasonably expect to live with.

Take a sincere look at your chosen weight loss method. If you’ve given up on it already, or find yourself struggling with it, rethink your plan. Take the time to research a few of the countless methods available. You can even take ideas from multiple methods to create your own. With a little effort you’ll come up with a plan that makes since and seems realistic for you.

I’m pulling for your success in your weight loss efforts, as well as your other resolutions. I recommend taking a look back at my previous posts for more helpful tips to get your resolution back on track or started. If you start now, hopefully by Valentine’s Day you’ll have the strength to make it through that chocolate laden day without falling off the wagon again. Here’s to a Happy New Year and a happy new you!