I’m not a compulsive over-eater when it comes to cooking savory food, so it doesn’t effect the majority of my work as a personal chef. My thing is sweets. One bite and the “off switch” just disappears.
Personal Chef Julie Anne Rhodes
Two days into reading A Course in Weight Loss, and I realized the obsession to overeat appeared to have been lifted. I made cupcakes with a visiting friend and her daughter, and ONE was enough!
Maisy and Jewels: one was enough
However, when I started procrastinating over the lessons, I did have a mini midnight binge. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that even though I got a head start on the rest of you, I am still struggling through the first two chapters. I vacillate between excitement (I do believe this is the missing link to a lifelong battle with my weight), and intense resistance. I have to remind myself there is no prize for being the first to finish the lessons – the prize is in finishing them, so I started taking an honest look at my fear based resistance.
I have trouble with terminology that has religious overtones; God, Divine Mind, Holy Spirit etc. It is not as if I haven’t already accepted a power greater than myself – I am over 12 years sober, but when I asked myself why I’m so resistant to mere words, I realized I’m still haunted by an incident that traumatized me as a child. My child’s mind was incapable of differentiating between religion and spirituality, so the two were still subconsciously interconnected. Even though I thought I’d long since moved on, I was still clinging onto the terror of religious persecution. A brick in the wall that needs to come down.
This is deep work! I’ve found that I need to read a little, set the book down and slowly digest the information, then go back to working on the lessons when I’m ready. The beauty of this book is that I feel like Marianne is gently leading me by the hand through self-discovery, and letting go of that which no longer serves me. Her guidance makes it feel safe enough to explore; but if I am going to authentically let myself go to these dark places, I can’t just rush through the process.
Have you ever remembered a classroom as being huge and frightening as a child, then returned as an adult, only to realize it is not as big as you remembered? The room is suddenly put into perspective, and there is no longer anything to be frightened of, so you can let that fear go, and move on. To me, that is what tearing the wall down, brick by brick is all about – letting go of the subconscious emotions and fears that keep me stuck in an emotional experience (that in turn triggers my self-destructive behavior). I need to acknowledge it exists, feel it, and move through it, to a place where my healthy self can exist without those extra ten to twenty pounds I put between me and the world.
A celebratory lunch: Alana, Marianne, and Cheryl
Since we will all be working at our own pace, I want you to feel free to leave comments, share ideas, or ask questions about whatever point you are at in the book. Share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Marianne will hopefully check in when she can, but we can also help each other, so do chime into the discussion. I only ask that everyone please be respectful of each other’s feelings and point of view. This is an exercise in supporting each other through a spiritually cleansing process.
Obviously eating healthy, and getting exercise is an important factor too, so I’ll throw in a few yummy recipes for good measure, but I suspect making those healthy choices will come more naturally as we delve further into this journey together.
In the meantime, what, if any resistance or road blocks have you hit so far? How have you moved through them?
Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Soup
This is one of my favorite holiday first courses. This soup has great depth of flavor – making it a healthy, comforting, and elegant choice all rolled into one.
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and 1/2 inch dice
- 3 carrots, peeled and 1/2 inch dice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 large leeks, sliced in half lengthwise, cleaned, and 1/2 inch dice
- 2 Bosc pears, peeled and 1/2 inch dice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra for garnish
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2). In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash and carrots with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then turn out onto a sheet pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper to taste, and roast in the preheated oven for ten minutes.
3). In the same large bowl, toss the leeks and pears with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add to the sheet pan with the butternut squash and carrots, tossing everything gently, to brown evenly in a single layer, and roast for an additional 30 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender and golden brown, tossing everything again midway.
4). Remove the vegetables from the oven, and transfer to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Use the white wine to deglaze the sheet pan, and add the juices to the vegetables. Add Brandy, broth, thyme, bay leaf, and ginger, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for one hour.
5). Remove thyme and bay leaf, then puree the soup with an immersion blender, or carefully in a blender in batches. Add white pepper, and season with salt to taste.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with crusty bread on the side, and garnish with reserved thyme, or with a dollop of crème fraiche if desired.