These were the words from a woman in my class. Let’s not jump to conclusions here…I will be the first one to tell you that I’m not the expert. It didn’t occur to me to pursue a “passion” until I was in my thirties after I got married. Now, your thinking, “What does this have to do with nutrition?” Here’s how:
See the picture I posted. It’s one of my passions. No, it’s not making things and hanging them on my wall. It’s growing plants. I love gardening. I love growing vegetables, I like harvesting my vegetables, and I love preserving them. This is a realization that didn’t come overnight. A seed was planted, if you will, when I was younger. I loved the outdoors, and enjoyed helping my dad plant roses and flowers around the house. It wasn’t until I was offended about the cost of vine-ripened tomatoes that I decided to grow my own. I later became a master gardener and now I teach my son (informally) about growing vegetables – in hopes that he will eat them. (I can see him thinking about it. Always a good sign.)
Now, I teach classes about behavior changes related to weight loss. I talk about the importance of exercise, stress reduction, and support systems. I encourage the folks in my class to build relationships outside their immediate comfort zones. Why? Most folks come home from work and feel tired, bored, restless, and unfulfilled. So what happens? We eat to fill a void – a nagging feeling that something is not right. People usually eat for the wrong reasons, not out of true physical hunger. They are emotional eaters or habitual eaters. They either eat because of how they feel (happy, sad) or eat because to the time of day, or because the food is there (who bought those cookies…?).
If folks learn to expand their horizons, their focus will be on the activity they are engaged in doing. These activities will take your mind off snacking, eating for comfort, or because the clock says it’s time.
Initially, I was uncomfortable teaching this class. How am I qualified to teach this class? Then it dawned on me…I don’t think about anything else, including food, when I’m gardening. Over the last few years, this has turned into one of my favorite classes. I had a woman in my class with limited mobility tell me she started a book club in her apartment complex and has met her neighbors! Becasue she lives alone she felt more comfortable in knowing and socializing with her neighbors. People, including myself, start to gain insight.
What do you do besides work? What activities do you enjoy doing? What are your talents? Do you have someone that supports you? If you are struggling with these questions, you are not alone. I noticed that there are quite a few folks in my class that struggle to answer some of these classes. Having a passion can be a step to focusing your attention on what brings you joy or happiness, not just focusing on food. Do you like to volunteer, work at your church, try fishing, join a dance class, etc?
The gods above, a guardian angel or whoever guides you(us) in this universe was pointing me in the right direction. It was less than a week after my class when my student stated I keep thinking what is ‘my’ passion? I saw a possible answer. I was in my local library when I saw a November issue of Oprah that read, “Find Your Passion.” Eureka! So, I have included the pdf from that magazine that might get folks started.
So, about the picture above…I was inspired by a blog that my friend, Bonnie, sent me. Since I’m not terribly handy with a drill I got support from my dad to help me I’m continually looking for more space in my small yard to grow edibles. I currently have a strawberry plant in my “garden gutter,” but will be planting lettuce shortly. We will see if I have outwitted the slugs and bugs that come with gardening. But it’s Ok, it’s part of my passion