Return to the garden with self love

return_to_garden_shutterstock_1250699When discussing weight loss with my beautiful daughter, she says that I’ve been talking about the same 20 something pounds for the last twenty years. Actually, it’s just been fifteen years.

Being preoccupied with my weight and body image has penetrated my mind for as long as I can remember.

I’ve read bits and pieces of many books on diet/fitness from “Potatoes not Prozac” to “Sugar Busters” and “Eat Right for your Blood Type. The list goes on and on. I experienced some short-lived success once with Weight Watchers, losing twelve pounds before a high school reunion about ten years ago, but couldn’t maintain it.

Our relationship to food seems to be a major issue in finding and maintaining our perfect, permanent weight. My friend, who is a therapist, suggests to her patients: Ask yourself the question: What am I feeding? Hunger, anger, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, or fear?

Some authors ask us to go back and uncover subconscious thoughts that we’ve stored and may now be sabotaging our goal.  One such scene I can still visualize as a toddler – Eating sugar out of a bowl in an upstairs garage apartment as I watched the children playing down below; another – Being punished for spilling my milk and a favorite of the adults back then – “Eat all the food on your plate.  The children are starving in China.” Of course, there were some warm fuzzies around the food experience as a child. I have fond memories of going to the movies with Mom when we lived at Jacksonville Beach. That was in the late 1940’s. Sharing popcorn was part of it. To this day I love going to the theater, rather than watching movies at home. And yes, popcorn is still part of the theater experience. Here I am reminded of smaller portions. That would be junior size popcorn at the local Cinema, not small or medium with layered butter.

Can’t blame it on genetics, for my petite, lovely 87-year-old mother has weighed within two or three pounds of the same weight since she was 18.

Most all agree that sugar is one of the major culprits inhibiting weight loss. I’ve had my own bout with sugar – craving it, hiding it. A doctor once told me that you crave what you’re allergic to. Also, alcohol, which was once a challenge in my life, eventually turns to sugar in our system. Aristotle coined the phrase, “Everything in moderation”, which has not always been in my vocabulary.

“Sugar stimulates the appetite, destroys vitamins and sabotages metabolism. It makes you hungrier for more food and especially for more sugar,” writes Lucia Capodilupo in Thin through the Power of the Spirit.

My doctor’s response to my request for a food plan was to select an array of colorful foods for my plate and walk everyday.  Similar advice comes from Michael Pollan’s, In Defense of Food simply stated in seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Their similar advice, return to the garden, seems to be the order of the day.

Capodilupo lost 95 lbs. over 20 years ago and still felt like a fat person in a slim body. She discovered that the solution ultimately lies in one thing common with everyone – spiritual issues. She encourages us to make peace with our bodies and the physical world.

Victoria Moran puts it this way in Fit from Within – “Accepting who you are body and soul does not guarantee that you will lose weight. It does, however put you in the ideal position for losing weight.”

From my meditative writings: Love the body. It is sacred. And responds to your love with wellness, vitality and beauty.

Several years ago following a meltdown these words were revealed through me: “You cannot continue to seek God, love others and betray yourself. You must include yourself into the Circle of Love.”

Though my children confirm that they were taught a healthy sense of self-acceptance and self-love, that knowledge must have gotten lodged in the passageway traveling from my head to my heart.

“Investing in ten or twenty minutes of silence every day will help ensure your long-term weight loss by keeping you connected to a source of power that lets your weary willpower off the hook,” writes Moran in Fit from Within.

In the early 70’s meditation became a buzzword in Western culture. Though never having been diagnosed with ADD, I knew that many of the symptoms were my own, from as early as my teen years when my senior English teacher complained of my daydreaming in class to difficulty in focusing, called absent-mindedness in those days, leading to all kinds of embarrassing behavior like misplacing/losing things on a regular basis. Knowing that sitting still and going into the silence would not be a probability for me I asked on a wing and a prayer, “God would you speak to me through my writing?”

From then on, when pen goes to paper I become centered on the page, focused as never before, thus writing has become my form of meditation. Sometimes I enter into a form of journaling; then something profound jumps out on the page as if from a higher realm of thinking. Assignments come to me from the inside and out. Writing regularly can be cathartic, leading to wholeness of the mind and body.  Gratitude lists with just 5-10 entries can change the perception of our minds, transforming a potentially bad day with negative thoughts to a wonderful day with positive thoughts.

Recently a nutritionist, referred by my doctor, prescribed a daily food journal; when practiced, mindless eating can become mindful eating.

Assisting in the feeding of the world is a wonderful suggestion given by Lucia Capodilupo. “We who have experienced the hunger of compulsive eating are in a unique position to empathize with our brothers and sisters who endure the hunger caused by lack of food.”

In this early part of 2010, I will begin again, and turn inward, affirming the Spirit within us all, which is Love.

My intentions:

•Walk, write and drink water

•Return to the garden for vegetables, fruits and self-love

The act of loving self projects a beam of light and love reaching out to others, reflecting back to us.

Self-love holds the keys to the kingdom by opening many doors: the chambers of the heart, loving relationships, healing of the mind, body & soul, and the abundance of all good things

Self-love can bring peace to oneself and ultimately heaven to earth.

Return to the garden with self-love.

Maureen Ramsay Hughes

Maureen Ramsay Hughes is an inspirational writer, a former member of the advertising sales team for Fayette Woman magazine, and a devoted mother and grandmother. She invites your emails to

January 17, 2010
January 17, 2010