Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The 4-Minute Nurture Diet

I’m riding the spin bike, alone, at the gym, in the spin room, and this song comes on my ipod. And it happens. Again. I get choked up, fighting tears. And I feel the need to share this song with you, not to make you cry, but because of its value. Ok, I’ll say no more. First listen, give yourself the 4 minutes. Here’s the link. Then read the lyrics below.
Lyrics by Noa


It’s 3:15
You have one minute.

Are you ready? 
Now think of all things created
Think of those that you care for
Think of what you've been blessed with
And everything that makes you afraid

Wish for anything
Let yourself dream
Wish for things to get better
Until 3:16

There's a stone in my garden that keeps me committed
And close to the ground when I feel I should run
There's a branch in my window that helps me remember
To reach out my arms and touch the sun..

There are two million ants that live in my sidewalk
Working together to nurture and feed
And the old TV set, with the sad evening news
So I never forget how much love we need

Home-made religion
(In my kitchen)
Home-made religion..

Think of how you've been feeling
And how you've made others feel
Think of what you've been given
And what you need to heal

Wish for anything..
Try to keep still
Wish for things to get better
And maybe they will

There’s a plant in the corner that helps me remember
All of the beauty that grows from a seed
And the old TV set, with the sad evening news
So I never forget how much love we need

Home-made religion
(In my kitchen)
Home-made religion..


It’s hard for me to clarify just why this song make such an impression on me. In just 4 minutes it says so much about how we can shift our perspective, which I think can be enormously helpful for any of us struggling—with eating issues and disorders, with losses, with chronic diseases. Directing us to take a moment, one minute literally, to ask for what we need. How often do we even give ourselves that? The time and space to think about our own needs? And concerns? To acknowledge our fears, instead of burying them with food? To confront our challenges, yet to remind ourselves of the positives around us?

I often direct my patients to start this ritual. Before bed, perhaps while brushing your teeth, identify 2 or 3 positives, things you truly feel good about. Simple, no? And yet most of us go through our days without ever acknowledging these things. 

We are skilled at identifying our failings, where we fell short. Someone will come into my office and I’ll ask about her week and she’ll tell me in great detail how badly Saturday night went, regarding her eating. “And the rest of the week?” I’ll inquire. “Oh, I did fine, really well, in fact” But had I not asked, I would only hear her skewed perspective about her shortcomings, about Saturday’s slips.

As to why this hits such an emotional spot for me? I think she really gets it. Noa, the singer, that is. And it speaks to what I do unknowingly, what keeps me focused and grounded. We all live with uncertainty, never knowing what tomorrow will bring. But some of us are more aware of that than others.

One year ago, Michael came to see me, newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, in poor control. The most lovely guy, and highly driven, within weeks his sugars were in great control. But on October 29, 2009 our last visit, he told me that the previous week he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Just yesterday, one year later, I spoke with him, now weak and limited to his bed. Feeling sorry for himself? Not a bit. He shared the value of our working together and told me proudly that he has continued to keep his blood sugars in good control! Imagine that perspective.

As for me, I am more fortunate. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 8 years ago I lead a normal life biking, hiking, enjoying good food. I am always aware that I can’t control the future. But I could do my part to control my outlook. And I take Noa’s words to heart, and think about what I have, what I need, and how to get it. Because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

How have you shifted your perspective and looked at things differently, to improve things? Has it improved your relationship with food? Have you been able to focus on your achievements, or is that an area you continue to work on? Please share your stories! Looking forward to hearing from you.


  1. Just come home from my physio with a diagnosis of a stress fracture from excessive exercise. Haven't had a chance to fully process it - but have a pretty good idea it's going to have an effect on a lot of things!

  2. Thanks for putting this link on my blog! I have signed up for email alerts!