First Things First

I have to feel my body in order to feel that spot. I have to connect the line of communication and clear away the static. As we all have heard, good communication comes from honesty and trust. We have to be on the same team with our bodies.

During my first semester in college (12.5 years ago), I didn’t know anything about the cause and effect relationship with my body. I was missing friends from home, had a pregnant roommate and generally didn’t know what to make of this new life I was supposed to be building. Eating filled some void it seemed and I built up a lot of static. (50 lbs worth in the first semester and another 20 over the next three years of dieting). I didn’t realize that although it tasted pretty good for the 35 seconds in my mouth, that cafeteria burrito or soft-serve ice cream and non-fat double grande mocha, left lasting negative effects on my H. They didn’t solve my problems. Honestly though.. how could I know? The only message I could hear was actually from my jeans… saying “damn girl… can we get a little breathing room here?” And lets be clear that my jeans had I have Never been on the same team, so if couldn’t hear anything from my body why would I listen to those guys?

Weight watchers, the Zone, Non-fat, Atkins, Metabolife, Fat Flush…I tried all of these to lose weight. But since I was only half-ass listening to a few pairs of jeans, I wasn’t motivated. It was an outside source.

The Diets

Now Weight Watchers may have changed over the years, but there were a few reasons it didn’t work for me.
1. It was based on meetings. So I felt like if I couldn’t attend a meeting I wasn’t going to be held responsible. They say groups hold you to your word… unless you can avoid the groups.
2. It didn’t teach me the right things. As long as I kept my points within the target range I was ok. So although I could eat all the veggies I wanted, I opted to eat less, but higher point value food. Also cafeterias didn’t exactly post point values.
So I ate crap on Weight Watchers. It worked for a few lbs at first but then I learned the game and blamed the program for my failings. Drop out.

The Zone was decent. The concept of keeping carbs, protein and fat in balance worked wonders for a family friend so I thought I’d try it. Really great theory if you can prepare your own foods. But I didn’t have time to read the book front to back and again the school cafĂ© didn’t show nutrition facts.

Atkins and Non-fat were uncomfortable. If I remove anything from my diet in total I will end up craving it. Then I’d fulfill the craving with binging and we would be right back to square one. Also Atkins died of cardiac arrest. Maybe coincidence, maybe not.

After graduation came Metabolife. I was married at the time to an Army officer. He thought since he worked out every day he could eat whatever he wanted. And guess who was the good wife who made it for him and therefore ate it herself….? Ephedrine was all the rage on posts across the country. No need to learn to eat just pop a pill to up your results. I took it about two weeks. I was often sick to my stomach, my heart raced and I was wide awake all night. I couldn’t handle it. Within a year, pro athletes and army cadets were dropping dead of heart attacks during workouts. All were using Ephedrine.

Last diet I was ever on… Drum roll…. The Fat Flush Diet. This is by far the closest to how I eat now. It taught me which foods make my body work better and which inhibit the processes. Ultimately it required too many specialty supplements, but it is an excellent resource and I still use recipes and concepts from its pages.

All fell short. They would piss me off and I would run to that non-fat Mocha to make it better. More Static.

An Epiphany

I was 24 and had fairly recently given up on the Fat Flush. I heard somewhere that women are more susceptible to bone loss and we should get our calcium from food and dairy products. It does more good and more is absorbed than if you get it from a supplement. So I started drinking a glass of milk before bed every night. Oh my gosh! I got some serious signals. I was bloated and I couldn’t lay down, every angle made my stomach hurt and spending time in the bathroom didn’t make it any better. Turns out I was not digesting dairy. I was lactose intolerant.

As I looked back then on years of drinking milk and dairy products, I had these similar symptoms. After a bowl of cereal in the morning it was a long ride to high school. Cheese pizza (for lots of reasons) made me lethargic and bloated. I just figured it was standard.

NEWS FLASH: Our bodies are designed to take what they need and fight the rest. No ache or pain is standard.

I was overloading my system with cheese, milk, ice cream, cream of mushroom soup, yogurt. I thought it was dairy so it was good for me. Its true though… we have all heard it… too much of a good thing, can be harmful. It was creating static and I couldn’t hear what my body was telling me.

So I started cutting down, no ice cream, only soy milk. Cheese was only on pizza, which I loved so much, but since I was cutting down on the static, I heard my body every time I had it. Sonja, for real, enough with this. And generally I would tell it to go to hell, its yummy.

But now that I could hear my body… It opened up a whole new world. I began listening harder for what it would tell me after I ate other things. Bread, Candy, Soda, Beer; all those things.

Once I heard the communication regarding food I began to hear other things it was telling me. I felt things in my gut, that sternum gut, my heart center. My emotions and desires became clearer and my unH was obvious. I’ll spare us the details today, but I was shortly thereafter divorced. The static began to clear away more quickly. In the short term people used to ask me how I lost all that weight and my answer, fair or not, was “I got divorced.” There was truth in it, of course, but really now I know it was the communication of my team. Recognizing what was good for us and what wasn’t.

Amazingly I didn’t turn to Oreos anymore to help get through the rough days of a divorce. I heard the way they made me really feel and found more peaceful outlets.

Open the line of communication with your body. Start listening and paying attention to how it feels when you eat something. Any thing. After a good solid meal of fresh veggies and lean meat, it will talk to you then too. And the tenor will be different.

I made choices as to what I prefer: the feelings and the sounds my body was bouncing back to me. I prefer a full and clean feeling. I am satisfied without feeling bigger. The sounds aren’t hollow and deprived; they are rich, full tones of health.



I always thought blogging was a demonstration of self-importance. Assuming what you had for lunch or how many steps your pookie took this hour was something we couldn’t live without knowing.

I’m learning, though, there very well could be things that people are writing that are worth reading. There are car blogs, cooking blogs, shopping blogs, and daddy blogs. All offering “you’re not alone” assurance, a little perspective and perhaps a few helpful hints. To a Midwest woman who never felt a sense of relevance from birth, even after being reassured that you have knowledge and perspective interesting to other people, it seems pretty self-serving.

Ultimately I want to share the sense of grounding and happiness I feel. After several “growth experiences” earlier in my life, I have really been able to center myself, find myself and it started when I learned to eat well. I am sharing this now because I would love other people to experience those same feelings. Family and friends hear these thoughts on a regular basis and now this may extend my reach. I’m not a writer or an author as other bloggers started out. I am a woman who realizes there is no holy grail. I will not wake up one day and not have to think about what I’m eating, how I’m going to move my body and keep myself balanced. It’s an ongoing challenge. So my goal here is to share with you how I’ve come this far and the way it works for me.. in hopes that you will find a nugget or two that work for you.

Happiness (not just a song by Charlie Brown and the Gang)

We all have excuses why happiness is a goal and not our current state-of-mind. Today it’s the weather; muggy and sweaty. Tomorrow it’s the weather; pouring down rain. So no real happiness there. Happiness is bunnies and rainbows and sailboats and clean, smiling babies. Well, you need storms to makes rainbows, wind for a good sail and sweaty passion to make bunnies and babies. Happiness is a way of living my life. Giving my body what it needs in order for me to concentrate on being me. So I can offer everything to the things I am… I am a daughter, a sister, soon to be an aunt, a friend, a woman, a connector, a professional, a student, a Chicagoan, a mentor. Keeping my life in balance allows me to perform these roles with consistency, understanding and patience. Keeping it uncluttered and peaceful leaves space for love and friendship. Helping to create pure, organic peace in the world and more importantly…let’s be truthful, my life.

Maybe you are an artist, a performer, a mother, a patient, a doctor, an uncle, a girlfriend, a lawyer, an exectutive assistant… I really do want you to enjoy every bit of each role you fill without feeling overwhelmed. Give gifts of health and peace to yourself and you will be able to give back to a fulfilling capacity.

I have been very careful about using the word Happiness too much. Have really been tired of writing it actually. It is an unfortunate thing, but somehow using a word over and over seems to devalue it. Desensitizes us to its power. We can get bored of it and begin to over-analyze it or tune it out completely.

Change for instance. It has often carried a connotation of opportunity, hope and maybe a bit of scariness and uncertainty. All emotions evoked by the use of it. Now after hearing it repeatedly during the Obama campaign it is more often passed over without pause. The words hope and love may have lost some of their luster. Our culture has even started to cycle through expletives and exclamations because the one before loses its emphasis. Cool, awesome, wicked, stoked. We have to come up with something new.

So I don’t want to over use the word Happiness. It has already been used to the point that we no longer value its meaning the same way we used to. I would love for it to really mean something to you and have a place in your vocabulary and your life. Let’s use “H”.
(For Lyrics to the Peanuts Song go to

The Gut

As a baby I certainly don’t remember being H, but most of us have probably gotten tastes of it. We recognized it as a break from the sad, fat and low feelings we were consumed by in adolescence. As a result of identifying the difference between down and up, I have become somewhat obsessed with being H. The kind of H that comes from the gut. Not belly- gut, sternum gut. The center and most dense part of your body, (it’s a numbered Chakra, the heart center, for you yogis.) The more you pay attention to your body you will feel the spot I mean. All the pure feelings and sense of being come from there. All of them… Anger, hurt, love, and H. They can all be felt in their purest form at the sternum. You’ll see…