504 Main by Holly Lefevre: Mind, Body, Food...The Road to Complete Nutrition
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mind, Body, Food...The Road to Complete Nutrition

Honestly I have struggled with how to approach this. I try to keep my content light and happy or entertaining (I hope!) and not go too personal, but every time I sat down, this post got personal. I have used every excuse in the book to begin this series of posts, including “I don’t have any pretty pictures to include.” Yes, I know L-A-M-E! This post is long...you have been warned.
Have you seen the Slimquick commercials? You know the ones where the husband quits drinking soda and drops 10 lbs....that is my house. My hubby who considered potatoes to be his vegetable source, started eating salads and dropped white flour from his diet and lost a ton of weight without exercising in a matter of months. I however workout everyday, eat lots of veggies and NADA! Complete frustration. I began talking to my friend Renee, a Holistic Health and NLP Practitioner, AADP, about what the heck to do.

Here is the back story…I have a love/hate relationship with food and it is probably safe to say a mild (to severe) addiction to sugar. In my very early 20’s I would exercise and then justify eating ½ gallon of Thrifty Mint Chip ice cream. Then I met a much older man (who I thought was also much wiser) and we dated. He suggested I eat healthier…duh (for now we shall leave alone the idea that he just wanted to date a really hot 20-something chick)! Additionally, I was moving out on my own at the time and had no idea how to cook. So the timing was perfect, he suggested a book and a way of eating that I loved and embraced for 4 years – no dairy, no meat, no oil, no sugar, no salt – Vegetarian+. I looked H-O-T and felt great. Eventually we broke up, I started dating future-hubby (who never met a meat or potato he didn’t like) and I fell off the wagon…just a little.

Fast forward…I battled with 5-10 pounds after this. Good or bad, I am tall, 5’11”, and can hide the extra pounds so that it doesn’t seem like so much. Then I got pregnant. And I ate and ate…chocolate chip pancakes…more mint chip ice cream…and pickled green beans (yum). I gained a staggering amount of weight. I was really appalled and surprised – I just didn’t think for a second it was that bad…until it was that bad. Over the course of the next few years I yo-yo’ed with my weight.

I have been to Weight Watchers, I have seen a nutritionist, I have the South Beach Diet book (never used it), the Atkins Book (NEVER used it), and the Six Week Body Makeover system (sort of used it). I also have just about every BeachBody exercise system (Yoga Booty Ballet, Power 90, Slim in Six) – and I have used them all, Winsor Pilates, The Firm – do you see a pattern…I used to stay up late watching infomercials…just fascinated by them!

I eventually got to within 10 pounds of pre-baby weight…and then I was “knocked on my butt”…we moved from So Cal (I am a native So Cal girl…boo-hoo!). I compensated for the move, the lack of friends, and the 55 straight days of foggy weather that summer with a lot of wine and chocolate chip cookies and gained back some weight.

I got pregnant again and vowed I would not do to my body what I did the first time…and I didn’t. I walked 3-4 times a week…long walks, and ate really well, and only gained 15 pounds. So technically, I have lost the second baby weight, but still have the first baby weight. And, I have not been able to make real and lasting dent in the number on the scale since….but I refuse to accept this.

Fast forward again to 2009…it is high school reunion time and I reconnect with Renee on Facebook. She talks about nutrition and has a way of approaching and accepting food that I understand, that I want to be able to adopt fully. We talk a lot about body image and I realize that even when I was thinner, I was still self-conscious…so while losing weight is important, so is fixing the negative body image issues, not just for me, but so that they are not passed on to my kiddos. I also have an “A-ha!” moment…

I was at the beach with Joe. A friend and her daughter joined us. Joe just wanted to play in the water, but no one wanted to do it with him. I had my bathing suit on, but not really for that purpose…more for necessity (like in case I had to rescue him from the sea). He kept asking and he was sad…and bored. And finally it hit me…how do I want my kids to remember me…the mom sitting on the beach who won’t get in the water (of course they don’t know the reasons…yet) or as the mom who was willing to jump in and play. I chose the “play.” A HUGE step for me, and the moment when I realized what I needed to do for me and for my kids.

All of this leads me to asking Renee to come visit for the weekend and talk to a group of ladies that have similar concerns. I was not really sure what to expect, and the evening turned out to be quite emotional. I, in fact, was emotional for weeks after. I was finally realizing some of my issues and preparing to tackle them.

One of the most important things I realized is that, as a mom I am responsible for the little nuggets of wisdom I put into the kiddos heads. They also pick up on everything I do – how I act and react, what I say and how I say it. To be a good mom, I need to be happy with me. I need to be able to take some time for me…even if it is just 20 minutes here and there. I need to sleep. I need to move and exercise and be a positive example. It is true, when I am sleeping, eating better, working out and taking time to “work on me,” I am happier and a better, more patient mom.

These are some other thoughts I walked away with that night. I KNEW MOST OF THEM, JUST NEEDED TO HEAR THEM AGAIN. I will elaborate on them in future posts (if anyone is still reading after this long-winded one).
1. Food is not the enemy. It is a source of nutrition, energy, and power…if it is the right food.
2. Pure, natural (organic, if possible) food in it’s original state is the best source of nutrition.
3. There is a physiological and emotional connection to food and always will be. It is about learning how to tame it.
4. You do not have to give anything up (except for health reasons), but you must realize when it is OK to have a smaller serving of that special thing and make sure it is not frequently eaten.
5. Stay away from low-fat and non-fat processed foods.
6. We need the right kind of fats in our diet – olive oil, avocado, etc.
7. Good carbs are not the enemy. 

My family already eats pretty healthy...of course, there is always room for improvement, but for the most part, I would give us an A-. I know what is good and bad for me...for us. I know how to cook it. Now I just need to find that "something" that is missing to make me really get the connection.

Now, of course I also realize there are many ways of thinking and many ways to approach a healthier lifestyle. Each person has to find that approach that works for them. This is what I am hoping will work for me and my family. I am open to hearing ideas and learning more. In the coming weeks I will be sharing some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G recipes that are healthy and delicious.

Do you have any issue that you feel like sharing? A story? Something that has worked for you? An "A-Ha" moment?

Happy Eating!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or food expert. I am simply sharing my thoughts and ideas. A doctor should check you out before you begin a new eating or lifestyle plan.


  1. Great post! If you haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, I highly recommend it. It changed the way I shop for food. We're not 100% organic around here but we're rapidly getting there. For example, when it comes to meat, I will only buy organic and I eat vegetarian meals in restaurants. Wait a minute...I see an idea forming for a post on my own blog! :)

  2. Yikes! I am so that mom! I don't like getting in my bathing suit for the same reason...what a swift kick in my butt. Thanks for the food for thought today. I needed that!

  3. wonderful post..great insights and tidbits of info..( I love Wayne Dyer..guilty pleasure)....and you are right a happy Momma is a healthy one...Im so glad you got in the water...those are some of my happiest times with the kids...the ocean is our favorite place...!your friend Renee sounds like a winner..!!

  4. Yea for #7. With limited time to prepare meals, varieties on pasta are our regular go-to dinners.

  5. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Wow...just what I needed to read today. Thanks. And thanks for the book suggestions. By the way, you've been tagged, I hope you'll play!

  6. Holly---

    STANDING OVATION! I am so proud of and happy for you!

    I am trying to do the same. I lost 5 lbs right after New Year's b/c of a stomach bug, and I am being careful and keeping it off (so far). I am trying to eat smaller portions and make it to Jazzercise 4x/week. I also need to stop eating off of my kids' plates after meals, but I hate wasting so much food!!!

    I have the Omnivore's Dilemma, and have only read the first 50 pages and left it a long time ago. Need to pick it back up, as well as some of the others your friend suggested.

    Great post!
    p.s. are you coming for Snarkler? We're getting close and I wanted to check in....

  7. It sounds like you've got a very healthy outlook on it and that you kinda have it figured out where you've been falling short. Bravo! I wish you every success on this! :)

  8. I'm so impressed and that list made me wanna take a nap. At some point I am putting up a post that has an award for you. Hopefully today...maybe.

  9. Holly, BEAUTIFULLY written and thank you for sharing some of your personal battles. It takes a lot of courage to do so.
    As a family I have to admit we probably would only score a C if someone were to grade our food choices - mainly because of my lack of planning.
    I look forward to your future posts dear!

  10. Great points to ponder! Thank you!

  11. I've been waiting to hear the outcome of your Healthy Happy Hour. These are good tips. Not new to me but I still like a refresher now and then. I have been trying to eat healthier and those book recommendations look interesting.

  12. I keep going back and forth with how I feel about dieting and my body, etc. One minute, I want to just be happy with how I look even if I'm carrying an extra few pounds, and then in the next minute, I find a picture of me from my wedding and all I want is to be stick thin again. Hmmm...what to do.

    Maybe I"ll go make a sandwich. :)

  13. Love this...all of it. I am not a mom so I don't need to do this for my kids, but for ME! I have really changed the way I eat in the past year. Could you possibly recommend the best book of the books you suggested? Or are they all for different purposes??

  14. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Wow, I seriously needed this today, thank you! I have some health issues that I'm trying to conquer by loosing weight and can't seem to find my motivation. I've never had the "ah-ha" moment, but oh how I wish I would!


    I look forward to future posts on the subject!


  15. I wore a bathing suit twice while big fat prego! What's worse is the thing is black with a huge white stripe across the bust. Talk about SHAMU! But I did it for my kids.

    Like you, I am very tall (six foot) so I hide the weight well. However, my image is and always has been greatly distorted. The thinnest I ever was, was when I got married. I weighed 134. Wore a size 6/8. Yeah that is too thin. I am aiming for 165 this time.

    I graze. I love sweets. And I eat chocolate, particularly when stressed. But chocolate has a calming agent. It's a fact! ;) I digress, in the last couple of years we have gotten really lax in the healthy eating department. I also have very picky eaters. I am looking forward to seeing and trying new and healthier recipes.

  16. I thought this was an interesting post. I never gained a pound for years and years...and when I would actually gain a little it was gone in a few days. Once I got past 40 I found it harder to lose weight and easier to gain it. I noticed how I got puffy if I had too much salty food, or ate in a restaurant (all those hidden fats and salt). i found that eating beef made me feel heavy and I don't eat nearly as much of it as I used to.

    I'm now over 50 and while I'm not "fat"...I am certainly a good 10-15 pounds over what makes me feel the best. Between a medication I take and age...losing weight is hard, even though I cook often and love fruits, veggies and lean meats. I also love dessert!

    I just bought a Wii Fit. This was only my second day and I love it! I slept so well last night and I was looking forward to doing it today. I hate exercise, so I'm thrilled with this. I don't know if I'll lose weight, but I'm moving more and certainly drinking more water. I'll let you know if it helps!

  17. here is my conclusion

    i have cut out fast food and soda b/c i only buy healthy groceries - if i could just drive past wendy's without pulling in i'd be ok

  18. Oh Holly....
    You know, I have to very best-friends in my life. My old college buddy that was my doula at Emma's birth, is my mentor in all things mommy and the christian walk, and then there is my other friend....food. I was always very thin and petite. I'm 5'4 and never weighed anymore than 115....until I met my hubby and had Emma, which even a few pounds is really noticeable on me. She's two and I'm nowhere near my pre-baby weight. I turn to food in every way and it's frustrating for me so I know it's frustrating for my family too. Which, coincidentally, just makes me sad that I disappoint so I eat more. These things you've touched on are near and dear to my heart and big change is needed in my lifestyle habits. Thank you so much for tackling this subject and inspiring me to finally get a grip on my eating, not just for me, but for Jon and Emma too!
    Kelli @ SustainingCreativity

  19. I've been rethinking my grade...maybe a B...our house is pretty much cleaned out of the junk...no soda, etc. We refrain from white flour and white sugar as much as possible (so except in some baking) some remains, but I do succumb to fast food every once in awhile. Thanks everyone for sharing...more info is coming and it won't take as long this time. I am shooting for a post on Thursday or Friday...maybe even one tomorrow....and a GREAT Chili recipe.

  20. This really hit home for me; I grew up eating healthy and being thin, but gained a lot of weight with my first pregnancy which never really went away. Also, my husband is a junk food fiend and that affected my diet. A few years ago he was disgnosed with diabetes and we got our nutrition back in check. I gained no real weight with my second baby but am still holding weight from my first, I'm just now trying to find a way to fit in some exercise. Thanks for also mentioning the no low/fat-free processed food, that's such a load of you-know-what, what a scam!

  21. Anonymous5:05 PM

    This is my year too. I've never worked out, exercised, been very health conscious, however, I've always eaten pretty well (the CA girl in me!). This past year, I've packed on some weight and am very disappointed and discusted with myself. I say no more! This is the youngest I'll ever be again, I have young kids, that will keep me active if I choose it. I have joined a gym and finally have the mindset that I need to do this for ME AND my family. I've been going to the gym 4-5 times a week, to pick up a class or get on a treadmill, anything to get moving and stop being lazy. This is such an awesome post and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you and really looking forward to yummy recipes!!

  22. Anonymous5:07 PM

    OH! P to the S: I LOVED that you mentioned Thrifty mint chip ice cream! Totally a CA thing! Did you get two or three "scoops"?

  23. You should be proud that you make the effort to be healthy. For both you and your family. I especially like the part at the beach where you decided that playing was more important than the other stuff. Good for you.

    As for the food and dieting, I eat a lot of healthy stuff, and like your husband, when it comes to the bad stuff, I just cut way back on it. I might not eliminate it altogether, but I do cut back.

  24. Very good post. I am glad that you are focusing on what is healthy and not just what is the fad at the moment!

  25. You know what I really admire about you and what you've shared in this post is that you seem to realize that it's not about just getting thin but it's about how food makes you feel and what's behind the emotions. I believe once we face the demons that cause us to make bad decisions, we can past that and make sure we take better care of ourselves.

    I'm well aware that the reason I have issues with food stems from my mom and her own issues with food. So I try really hard to not control every bite of food that goes in my kids' mouths and I have no problem with them eating junk food in moderation, of course.

    Our kids do learn from us...they watch our every move. My husband hates veggies and the kids notice when he doesn't have them on his plate. It drives me nuts!

    I try to emphasize that certain foods are good for their brain and help them grow. Now they ask all the time before they eat a veggie or fruit, how it will help them. They're even willing to eat fish now since I said it would make them smarter. It's all about the presentation, I suppose.

    Sorry this is so long-winded...I really enjoyed this post.

  26. Anonymous8:27 PM

    For me, it's a matter of knowing what to do already, just not always doing it. Great info here and wishing you and the family healthy and happy eating!

  27. Thanks for all the info!! Can't wait to hear (read) more!!

  28. :) I need to hear this. I am a stress eater, and have a really hard time when I am pre-menstrual, tired, stressed, emotional, etc. etc.

    I appreciate this wisdom!

  29. What a great post. Really great. I may link to this post from Lose It Bitches! site. I think many of the folks following there may need the reminder about body image.

    It is so easy to put your needs on the back burner as Mom and forget to take care of you.

  30. Great post - with lots of ideas and "yes" I know what you mean thoughts..lol

    Love to you,

  31. Thanks! We all needed this.

  32. It's important to get personal with this, such an issue for everyone. Thanks for sharing!

  33. I really liked what you said about playing with your kid. Makes me think about my own actions at times.

  34. Great post, thank you for sharing this :)

  35. First of I"m a new follower and I look forward to more of your sageful advice on this topic. I'm in the "I really love who I am on the inside and I mostly forget what I look like on the outside till I try to get dressed (or undressed) or dressY.

    I just blogged about the delusion where I see myself as thinner than I am now and then am really shocked by numbers or by 'obese' classifications.

    I hope you'll check out what I have to say and follow if your amused!:)


  36. T think they key is eating everything in small portions. Diets don't work and starving oneself always comes back with a vengeance.

  37. Great post Holly! I am 5'10 also and can hide some extra weight which is both bad and good. I am at the point where I need to lose about 10 or so to feel great, and you've motivated me to start again. Thanks honey..you are just what I needed today! Kori xoxo

  38. Anonymous11:03 PM

    Great post, definitely gives me something to think about when I can't fall asleep tonight.
    Adding you to my blogroll :)

  39. What a wonderful post. I see myself in this so much. I have never really been overweight as much as I am really not comfortable with the weight I am at (which at the current time is bordering on the slightly overweight level). I eat horrible. Lots of carbs, the pan of brownies for the kids school function, etc.

    Thank you for writing & opening up!

  40. Holly, sorry I'm just getting to this post. Time is so very elusive...extra time I mean...which brings me to my question. Of the books you listed, which would you recommend reading if there was only time to read one or two?

    I have certain dietary needs as a diabetic and I don't feel that I turn to food for comfort. Because of our daily schedule I use more quickly prepared meals than I would like but I'm always up for suggestions so I'm looking forward to your recipes. Thanks for doing this post! It's great!

  41. Wow...you know I could go on for days on this topic, not just the weight loss but the up and down of it all. These books you've listed look VERY good, I'm about to go check them all out. I decided to try going meatless and processed food-less about a week ago and I feel much, much better. I'm trying to let go of being obsessed with the scale and just focusing on being healthy. It's a battle. An every single day struggle to not judge myself based on outward appearances.

  42. Great post. It is amazing when you find something that really works for your body.

  43. I wondered what happened during your Healthy Happy Hour.

    I'm trying to move more and make better choices with food. I have "issues" with food and a severe sugar addiction. It is very difficult to deal with. But I'm trying.

    I'm going to check out some of those books.

  44. I love that whole post. I Friday Followed you and I am so glad that I did. We are a dairy-free family and I love it. We try to avoid things that have hormones or antibiotics added. I will tell you that I am super disturbed right now. Deep breath not at you!! The last few shopping trips I have compared the nutrition facts from the name brand and generic. The generic has been much unhealthy than the name brand. In one case it had TWICE the saturated fat. Yes it was potato chips but really.... Makes me mad they make you pay more for healthy food.

  45. Anonymous3:22 AM

    I love that you had a Healthy Happy Hour. That's a fabulous idea.

    I realized recently that I was consuming so much junk and fast food for soooo many reasons; the solution suggested to me was to set rules around sweets: only eat them in moderation when its a social celebration. No more eating in my car, no more keeping chocolate in my office drawer - only when its social, and only when its a celebration. I've lost 18 pounds in 2 months on this shift in thinking. And I feel so much better about myself. Granted, there is so much more to this revelation and change of approach then I can get into in this commentary, but I just want to contribute to your mindfulness and applaud your willingness to share and start a conversation. Kudos to you! I appreciate this post more than I can tell you...


  46. How's it going with this now? I, too, was and always will be a massive sugar addict. And my body doesn't like it! I'm back to just a little dark chocolate/day. But I find it's exceptionally difficult to fight off cravings when I'm tired (which is all the time).


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!

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