This piece originally appeared in betterafter50.com
Way back when, we were young moms, balancing a kid or two (or more) on one hand, and a household and perhaps a job on the other. Our lives were hectic and we were constantly in motion running from one activity, meeting, obligation to another. There were many times we grabbed what we could and ate on the go or from off our kids’ plates.
Now that we’ve reached a “certain age” and things may have calmed down a bit more–our kids are older and possibly out of the house, and we have some more time to focus on ourselves and our own well-being–that doesn’t mean we are any less stressed internally and that our eating habits have changed for the better.
In “Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!” author Lisa Lewtan sets out to help us take a hard look at the lives we lead and how to make the adjustments needed in which to create a thriving, nourishing environment. It’s not a “diet book” in the traditional sense, but it does guide us on how to approach our diets in a sane and healthful manner. It’s not really a “relationship book” in the classic sense of that genre..but then again, it is loaded with strategies on how to better handle our often very complicated relationship with food. And it’s not really a “how to book,” but the chapters are jam-packed with practical advice about how to “finally figure out what your body needs to thrive.”
“The food you eat is one of the best health investments you can make.”
I approached this book as a “mere spectator,” someone who did not have any issues with food, unlike author Lewtan, a certified health coach, who admits very early on to at one time being all of the things her title addresses: Busy, stressed, and food obsessed. When she quite literally almost ran herself into the ground, she pulled herself together and began to scrutinize her lifestyle and dissect her habits, piece by piece,
in order to figure out just what was causing her to crash and burn. This detective work and her method of self-care have led her to a more calm, stable…and healthy life. Reading about her own challenges encouraged me to take an honest appraisal of my own habits—both good and bad. (And yes, this “mere spectator” finally admitted to herself that the handful of chocolate chips she has with her morning coffee each day borders on obsession, and probably has something to do with the afternoon stomachache.)
Lisa’s methods in spurring the reader on to action involve using powerful verbs such as “investigate,” “alleviate,” and “eliminate.” In page after page we begin to learn how interdependent we are with the foods we eat, and how that relationship can be a vey toxic one. She helps us weed out the “bad” and weed in the “good,” with help being the operative word. There are no lectures as she puts us in the driver’s seat so that ultimately, the conclusions we arrive at are our own.
Identify your habits, and why you eat…Are you hungry? Bored? Happy? Sad?
Think about what you eat…Are there foods that “trigger” your patterns?
How does what you eat make you feel? Full? Depressed? Sick to your stomach? Guilty?
Judgment is thrown out the window and mindfulness is brought in. Being mindful about what we eat and why doesn’t mean being obsessive. In fact, our obsession is what is leading so many of us on the path to ruin. Helpful charts and assignments to assist us on a better path, the one to reconnecting with our bodies, are included in every chapter. This is not a reference book filled with scientific terminology about carbs and protein, and in no way does Lewtan advocate one “diet” over another. What is provided is encouragement, with a little humor thrown in for good measure. Dancing, meditation, everything that may help you get in touch with your emotions and forge a connection with your true inner self are recommended…even encouraged.
The author doesn’t expect miracles, and she does account for setbacks. Her message is “Stop being so hard on yourself, just be honest.” She inspires us in her mission to rid the world of the over-stressed crazy-woman. We believe her–even when she says you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while allowing yourself to stray every once in a while. The main thing is to “ditch the inner critic bitch.” If by the end of this book, you have learned how to stand up to that “bitch” in your mind, then Lewtan’s job has been done.
“Life is short and being too restrictive is not fun or particularly mentally healthy.”