Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eating for Your Soul - Program's Intro

There's a major thing I left out from yesterday's intro post. This program deals a lot with your soul and is based on our LDS Christian belief system (this is not an LDS-supported program, but the facilitator is LDS). Our physical well-being isn't only physical but also mental and spiritual.

Jarah and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS). The meetings and program do reference to the Bible, The Book of Mormon and doctrine, although non-members are welcome to attend and do. Being a former atheist, I tried to visualize going through the program with a different belief system, and you can. The goal is to connect to your spiritual/essence side and to be true to that. As my father says, "Take what you can and leave the rest."

Introduction Class to "Eating for Your Soul"

Jarah talks about being at war with food and your body. I liked what she said about our bodies are frustrated, too, and that it has " a thing or two to tell" us. Some of them are:
*"It knows exactly how to keep you healthy, but it has to fight the rules that you are forcing on it.
*"It sends signs and signals all day long that seem to just get ignored.
*"It no longer trusts you ... It holds on to food and stores it for later starving periods. It won't let go of it until it has a reason to trust you again."

She goes on to tell us why we need to listen to our body:
*"The body has no hidden agenda.
*"The body knows how to take care of itself perfectly: Everyday, three or more times a day, your body sends you many signals. Like the Spirit, it is subtle and waiting for you to respond and just like the Spirit, the more you practice listening to your body's promptings, the easier it is to hear them.
*"Listening to your body can be a spiritual experience: ...learning to listen to their body has brought more than just peace about their body; it has brought peace into all aspects of their lives.
*"Your body knows best because it was made by the best." -- I'll paraphrase: many religions talk about the body being the temple of God and to not defile it. Jarah goes on to say we aren't just supposed to keep our "temple" clean, we are supposed to use them and learn from them. (Temples are a big thing in the LDS religion; we go there for additional spiritual learning and ordinance work.). Anyway, we learn by listening.

"The body is a gift given to us to learn from, not to be ignored and conquered."
You have been taught that you need to control your body with willpower and to stop giving in to food cravings. These ideas have brought separation between you and your body.

(I'm skipping over a lot - sorry - but here is what I've hi-lighted for myself).

*When you are in this separation state, it's hard to see what is really going on.
*Weight or the excess is not the real problem but only the symptom to the real problem.
*Throwing diets and exercise (unrealistic programs) at your body is not getting to the root of the real problem, and the weight will just keep coming back. That is what this program is about: getting to the roots.

(Jarah uses the analogy of a weed for weight loss. Diets and exercise are like pulling the leaves of the weed. The weight - weed -- will just keep coming back unless you get to the root).

*Another reason why diets don't work is the good vs. bad food concept that diets bring.
*Doctrine and Covenants 59:18-20 Food is to be used "...both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; ...for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul."
*Do we see food as a tool for torture? As something we crave but can't or shouldn't eat?

How do we get to the roots?
"In each step of the program, you will be addressing the body and spirit. We have these separated in the beginning steps because this is what has happened. The goal of the program is tho harmonize your physical and spiritual needs through the Atonement of Christ. With each step, the body and spirit will come together so you can learn to eat for your soul."

(I like this part -- it's from a leader of our church):
Boyd K. Packer said this regarding out body and spiritual health:
"There are spiritual disorders and spiritual diseases that can cause intense suffering. The body and the spirit of man are bound together. Often, very often, when there are disorders, it is very difficult to tell which is which. There are also rules of spiritual health, simple rules that cannot be ignored, for if they are we will reap sorrow by and by."

What is the Spirit's job in all of this?
The Spirit will help you find the root of the problem, separate the truths and lies about food and know how to properly take care of the body. It will give hope where hope has been lost.

Jarah adds this heartfelt plea:
"This is a cry out to the hopeless: You may be here because someone dragged you here or you told someone you would come, but deep down in your heart you have given up hope for a healthy body. When you do try to get healthy with diets or exercise, it's because you don't want others to think you have given up. You don't try to lose weight for yourself, you do it for someone else (your kids, your grandchildren, or your husband), but this won't do. You need to do it for you. ... [if] you have willingness and desire, [that's] good enough for now. We can work with that."

How does the program work?
"It is a 10 week process. The first 3 steps are about learning to get rid of the thoughts and actions that keep you at war with your body and food. The next 4 steps are about exploration. You need to figure out your body's needs and wants. The last 3 steps are about maintenance.

Each step has a body and a spirit section with homework. At each meeting you will receive the next step. The meetings are a very important part of the program. You will find strength and support in the group."

(Jarah also emails daily thoughts/reminders to support the lesson we are working on that week).

From me: Here's the kicker that may make you exclaim, "What?! Why am I even here?"
Jarah clearly states that this is NOT a weight loss program, although some do experience weight loss. Members and facilitators have many backgrounds of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating.
"We are offering the ability to learn how to find peace in your body in a world that wants you to be at war with your body. We are offering the chance to love food again without guilt. We are offering the ability to learn that your body can be a great teacher for you... However, keep in mind that the key to all problems comes down to one answer, and that is the Lord."

She ends with:
"Yet no matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief -- through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one -- no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit." -- Richard G. Scott of the Twelve

Next post on EFYS - Step 1

1 comment:

  1. Gina - I have spent the last 4 months or so discovering all of this for myself! For me, being at peace with my body is worth so much more than losing 10 pounds. Eating the foods my family likes without guilt is very freeing. I'm getting in touch with my body and trying to listen to it - really listen to it - and am in the process of what that means.

    Please keep sharing! This is exciting stuff!