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My Soulful Living and Food and Feelings Columns from WLS Lifestyles Magazine

(please note: these articles may not be reproduced without permission from WLS Lifestyles Magazine)

WLS – Lifestyles Special Issue 2010 Soulful Living  (WLS Spring 2010)

I’d like to begin this article by emphasizing that not all people who are in therapy, or who are working to maintain long- term weight loss must revisit their childhood in order to move forward. However, if a person chooses to explore his past, the intention behind the exploration should be solution-focused and approached with a sense of self-compassion and curiosity. The purpose is not to re-victimize, place blame, or get stuck in retelling old stories, but rather to help him understand how his reaction to past experiences may be contributing to his present-day struggle with food, weight, and negative self- regard. Once armed with this knowledge he can then respond to his world differently.  Read More..


WLS – Lifestyles Winter 2010 Soulful Living  (WLS Winter 2010)

Sophia was molested by her grandfather during her early childhood. When she finally summoned the courage to tell her parents about the incest she remembers feeling frightened by the huge drama it created in her family. Her parents were outraged at what happened to her, and made it clear that it wouldn’t happen again. But, Sophia felt responsible for hav- ing been the source of chaos and turmoil for those she loved, and didn’t like knowing that speaking her truth made people unhappy. She also felt guilt about revealing this awful secret. Being the bright intuitive girl that she was, Sophia came to the conclusion that it was not safe to allow her voice, the voice of her soul that is, to be heard. If she kept silent, handled things on her own, found ways to be perfect, or worried enough, she could keep bad things from happening to her again, or to the people she loved. And that worked for a while.  Read More….


WLS – Lifestyles Summer 2009 Soulful Living (WLS Summer 2009)

Over the next five years, Dawn completed the course work necessary to become a Healing Touch Practitioner. Early in her training, she learned that Healing Touch was not just a series of hand placements and techniques that she had to memorize; but rather it was a way of life, a way of being in the world. It demands of its students intense self-reflection, and a disciplined routine of self-nurture. It requires one to relate to the world from a spiritual perspective. She began to more deeply internalize the principle of unconditional self-love and was able to finally comprehend the value and power of accepting what is understanding that all stress is caused from resisting what is. She incorporated healing touch in her hospice work, started a small private healing touch practice, and became a mentor for healing touch students. Life was good, albeit hectic.      Read More….


WLS – Soulful Living (WLS 2009)

I am excited to share with you part one of a two part story about Dawn Peralta, RN, CHTP, whose spiritual journey led to healing her relationship with food and making peace with her body.  I met Dawn eight years ago.  She was 28 years old, the mother of two young children, working flu time as a visiting nurse, and married to a man whose job required that he be out of town for several days a month.  Feeling depressed and out of control, she sought counseling.  She reported a history of physical and emotional abuse.  Her father drank heavily, as did most of her extended family.  Read More….


WLS – Soulful Living (WLS 2009)

As I was thinking about the concept of Soulful Living and wondering how this issue’s column would evolve, I happened to open a book to this passage: “You are a powerful, loving, and creative child of God.  Your Divine light is pure and bright in Truth.  Don’t be afraid of your power, your magnificence, or your wisdom.  When you succeed, you inspire others.  When you change your life so that it’s more aligned with your interests you inspire others.  Be powerful!  Be magnificent!  This is who you are!”  Read More….


WLS – Soulful Living Fall 2008 (WLS 2008)

The foundation of my practice is based on my intention to support people in living a life that honors their highest good.  To that end I assist my clients in connecting with, and responding to, their inner wisdom so their life is an authentic expression of their soul energy.  Clients are challenged to be conscious of their every thought and action and evaluate it’s appropriateness for supporting their highest good.  Through this process clients develop critical thinking skills necessary to identify and change core belief systems, and behaviors that are in conflict with their soul’s purpose.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings Storm (WLS 2008)

Self-love and compassion, owning the consequences of ones thoughts and behaviors, reclaiming power over food, and living a purposeful and authentic life are words that come to mind when I think of people who have been successful at maintaining  long-term healthy weight loss.  These people seem to be so comfortable in their skin, they have an air of serenity, peace, and contentment about them.  They are kind to themselves and others.  Self-caretaking is a priority in their lives.  They are not boastful, and do not need to be the center of attention.  Given that the only true measure of success is joy, they are successful.  They have the ability to live in the present, and are physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings 0108 (WLS Jan. 2008)

I recently came across this quote by Deepak Chopra: “The possibility of stepping into a higher plane is quite real for everyone.  It involves little more than changing our ideas about what is normal.”  This is exactly what my client, Gracie, has done over the past two years as she has come to reclaim her power over food, and learned to live in a way truly reflective of self-love and respect.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings (WLS 2007)

The story of Dr. Jean Marie Davidson beautifully illustrates how the willingness to face the uncomfortable feelings during recovery from an eating disorder, with self-compassion and kindness can lead one to living a life that is truly reflective of self-love and respect.  Through her recovery from anorexia and binge eating, Jean has come to reclaim her power over food and find new meaning in her life.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings 0307 (WLS Mar. 2007)

I’ve yet to meet a person who does not have some sort of addictive behavior, the sole purpose of which is to distract them from the present moment.  People use food, alcohol, drugs, work, exercise, gossip, worry, shopping, sex, “busy”-ness, etc. to disconnect or zone out.  Every day I have clients in my office who are quite saddened by the fact that preoccupation with food, body, and weight issues allowed them to “check out” and miss so many moments in their lives.  The path to reconnection is through mindfulness, and the willingness to be ever conscious of the present moment.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings 0207 (WLS Feb. 2007)

Eight months ago a most remarkable woman registered for my WLS Therapy group.  Her name is Ann.  Over the months I’ve had the privilege of witnessing a beautiful and profound transformation in Ann as she learned to authentically embrace concepts of self-love and compassion.  This is the foundation upon which she has based her recovery from obesity.  Ann has graciously agreed to share her experience with you.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings 0107 (WLS  Jan. 2007)

Over the last two years I have had the privilege of working with a bariatric patient who now calls herself Maya (the name of a Hindu goddess).  I feel both honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to witness the most profound and beautiful transformation this woman has undergone as she has reclaimed her power over food and come home to herself.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings Suzys Story (WLS 2006)

At the writing of this column, my client “Suzy” (not her real name… she wishes to remain anonymous), a 36-year-old female, was 18 months post-op.  She’d lost 120 pounds and was at her goal weight.  She was very committed to the process of her recovery, and as such spent a great deal of time trying to understand how and why she ate the way she had in the past.  She was able to identify several factor that contributed to her obesity.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings 0406 (WLS April 2006)

This issue I’d like to speak to the importance of having a post-operative recovery plan in place.  So many people enter this surgery hoping this will be the answer to all their weight woes.  They spend a great deal of time and energy planning for the surgery, but often that’s where the planning ends.  From there they rely on hope: hoping they’ll never be hungry again; hoping they will never be able to overeat again, hoping they will never be able to eat sugar again.  Guess what??!!  HOPE IS NOT A PLAN.  Read More….


 WLS - Food and Feelings 0106 (WLS Jan. 2006)

Here are some journal entries from a 40-year-old weight loss surgery patient, Keitha, who has spent the last two years on a journey of self discovery.  Keitha had her surgery in January of 2004.  To date she has lost an excess of 130 pounds.  She began participating in the My Self Design program in March, 2004.  When she made the decision to have weight loss surgery, she also made a serious commitment to herself that she would take a long hard look at the factors that contributed to her being morbidly obese.  Read More….


WLS – Reclaiming Your Power Over Food equals Reclaiming Your Authentic Power (WLS 2005)

In the last article I wrote: “Food and Feelings: Making the Connection,” many contacted me after having read the article and wanted to know if I was a WLS patient.  While I am not, I have come to learn through years of working on myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually, as well as working with my clients, that there is a common thread among all of us who have ever struggled to truly love ourselves.  It is that we lose our authentic power when we give something outside of us the power to control how we feel.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings Learning to Let Go (WLS 2005)

“I’m really pissed off that I can’t eat like I used to.  Why am I feeling like this?  I thought I wanted this more than anything.  I used to dream and pray for the day that I didn’t feel so addicted to food.  Now that it has happened, I am angry, because I feel more addicted than ever, but the food isn’t doing it for me like it once did…  I used to be able to count on my food.  I knew after a stressful day at work I could come home and rid myself of all my frustrations with a big bowl of pasta, sausage, meatballs, garlic bread, and a few sodas.  I would have that full, comfortable, nurtured feeling, I can’t do that anymore.

I am stuck with myself.  Read More….


WLS – Food and Feelings The Importance of Making the Connection (WLS 2004)

I had been asked to speak to a Post-Op WLS support group a couple of years ago… around the time that gastric bypass was just starting to become “popular”.  As a psychotherapist who has been working with persons struggling with weight issues for more than 17 years, I was astounded when I spoke to this support group and realized that many bariatric patients have never made the connection between food and feelings.  Read More….


louisa latela , msw,lcsw
t. 856.429.9799
f. 856.656.0409
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