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Part 1: FUEL – Your Mind, Body and Soul

Do you find it strange that in writing about fuel, body isn’t listed first? While fuel is typically thought of as a substance to make something move (planes, trains, automobiles……..people), it has the potential to mean so much more.

Megan and I have spent countless hours discussing ways we fuel our mind and soul. So often, individuals who don’t find ways to fill up on mind and soul affirming experiences end up filling their bellies with too much food or food that robs them of their peace and potential.

Tired ~ Grab a fancy coffee; Bored ~ wolf down some cookie dough; Stressed ~ Gobble a bag of chips; Angry ~ eat the lovely, nutritious dinner you prepared until you are stuffed. Oh, and don’t forget to eat in front of an electronic device. This will ensure the added feeling of complete disconnection from the present.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s another way. People in South American and European countries have the right idea……Naps! Research shows a 20-30 minute nap is just enough to boost energy, concentration and mood.

A few minutes of yoga, meditation or simply taking 10 deep breaths can do wonders for filling your mind and soul.

Megan loves to sing (and I might mention, her voice is angelic). She once told me singing is the one activity she does in which time stops and her soul feels full.

I could spend hours in my yard pulling weeds, raking, planting, transplanting and trimming. My gentle, loving mother-in-law, who passed away 11 years ago, was an avid gardener. I always feel connected to her when I’m up to my elbows in dirt. Subjectively, my yard may not be the most beautiful one on the block. But that is irrelevant, because my mind is rarely as clear and at peace as when I’m puttering around in my yard.

So what about fueling your body? Of course food gives our bodies energy and nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other disease fighting, and performance enhancing substances. Sadly, however, food has become a subject that fills most people with worry, fear and uncertainty. This in turn leads to difficulty feeding our bodies in a way that is joyful, healthful and flavorful. What if we trusted our food choices to give us nourishment, but to also bring us satisfaction, enjoyment and connection to family and friends? Below is my favorite definition of how this may look:


Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

*Author, Ellyn Satter, RD, MSSW

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