I have a handful of really expensive belts ($500-$900) that were supposed to be critical long-term investment pieces into my wardrobe. Some of them I even got fitted and cut special for me. The thing about high-end belts is that you can throw them on a cheap pair of jeans (I bought a couple dozen pair on Amazon for $25 each!) and it’ll make them look like a really nice pair of expensive designer jeans.

After having the baby I noticed my jeans were getting really uncomfortable, and my belts too. My weight kept going up and up with no sign of stopping. I was getting a “dad bod.” I outgrew my jeans and my belts and was sequestered to the “sweat and track pants” part of my wardrobe. While I really enjoy the comfort, it put a big limiter on my style. This felt heavy and bad.

Part of what makes Divine Dish so special is its aim is to satisfy and fulfill you completely. Its aim is NOT to “fill you up and get you high” like so many restaurants in America seek to achieve. It’s this very contrast that is a guiding principle of Divine Dish and what sets it apart from other options to solve the problem of “feeding yourself.” It’s supposed to be a complete solution, and it’s still under development. It’s a new thing.

I had been following the instructions I provided for Divine Dish; eat as much as you need to feel satisfied, and nothing more. Not less.

It took me a lot more to get satisfied while having a newborn. The emotional energy required to raise a newborn is significant. I wasn’t getting restful sleep, there was a lot of stress from all the new stuff going on, and the hormones flooding my body were causing me to desire more food and gain weight.

I’ve never had the experience of growing out of my wardrobe before. It was kind of like they say getting older feels like. It felt like an important part of me was dying or being left behind. It was sad. I kind of just accepted it and focused on the work of my day, living my life.

As the baby stabilized, so did I. I was able to start getting restful sleep and could establish a routine again. Starting over from scratch with a new routine meant I could create the routine I wanted, rather than what I had just been doing before. It was liberating! I slowly implemented a 5 day a week workout routine where I would lift weights on specific parts of my body for four days and do cardio a fifth day.

The more established it became, I was able to add meditation after my workouts. My self-care and personal hygiene improved too. I already had the routine of Divine Dish established firmly in my life. It took years to re-wire the deeply ingrained habits I had from earlier life. Divine Dish isn’t just a set of menus, it’s a lifestyle healing program. It has been steadily healing my foundation for years and it’s working really well.

3 meals a day 7 days a week at the same time each day, it’s a lot of work coming from a culture that has learned to disdain the time wasting ritual of preparing and eating food. “I don’t have time to make food with my busy schedule!” It says, and so we have ubiquitous fast food restaurants in every city, town, village, and hamlet all across America. We also have “fast casual” restaurants. They’re like fast food but you sit down at a table and pay a waiter to bring it to you and fill up your drinks, rather than get it handed to you in a bag through a window.

This culture of “eating is a nuisance chore” has a negative impact on our cultural psyche in the West. It says we have more important things to do than feed and care for ourselves, and so we have an obesity epidemic which causes health issues. Some of us don’t have enough energy to go any further and so we kind of just sit there, stressed and overweight.

But others will go further, that’s why we have another ubiquitous manifestation of Western culture; the gym. Almost as numerous as the fast food restaurants, we have gyms everywhere in America. Some you can just show up to 247365 and unlock the door with your membership card. Every New Year millions of people make a resolution to “get healthy and lose weight.” Every year most people fail those resolutions and the cultural wheel continues to feed the diet and exercise industry.

If you’re one of the few “sexy people” who manage to survive all this and then show up to the gym sixty five days a week and exercise enough to get lean and ripped, you’re probably a crazy person. Or a hurt person. Or a fitness hobbyist. Or a professional athlete. Or you put a huge amount of resources into it. Or you’re doing it just fine but you’re doing it to cover up the cultural wounds you and everyone else is suffering from. The wound that says self-care is a waste.

I experimented with all this. I did all this. I grew up an athlete. I played on soccer teams, I was MVP of my 6th grade baseball team, I scored many goals as running back for my flag football team, I played basketball, swam for my high school swim team, I was a leader in my High School Marching band. I was active as a kid and I went on to learn weight lifting, yoga, holistic health, and even studied human anatomy in University.

I wanted to be healthy for the joy and pleasure of it all. Our culture worships these people and the ones who really succeed seem to be the ones who are programmed differently than me or get a motivating sense of satisfaction from being one of those fitness model people. Then they can take to Instagram, amass followers, and enjoy the attention. Not you? Not me either.

All this stems from a cultural sense of inadequacy and lack of fulfillment. American culture, which drives the cultural programming for Western culture, is relatively new. Part of what makes it so special is that it’s experimental, it tries new things, it’s magnetically attracted to progress. It’s driven to success, prosperity and power. I love these things about my culture, I’m a lot of these same things. But I can’t and I won’t blindly follow the cultural bandwagon when it’s careening off a cliff.

Nobody is blind to these cultural issues stemming from the dinner table, but they don’t start there. They start from a misunderstanding of what is required to create abundance and while the spirit of drive is there to create it, our culture has some fundamental issues with it.

I’m reminded of this passage from Le Petit Prince:

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the merchant.

This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need for anything to drink.

“Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince.

“Because they save a tremendous amount of time,” said the merchant. “Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week.”

“And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?”

“Anything you like…”

“As for me,” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was highlighting this core issue in his work in 1943. We work so diligently to do the work our culture dictates, but we forget along the way about ourselves. We forget the whole reason for it all, which is to experience love. God’s Love.

That’s what Divine Dish aims to bring us back into alignment with. Yeah, it’s a huge amount of time if you’re used to taking pills to quench your thirst. But what many people don’t realize is that time saved is time lost experiencing the pleasure of self-love. This self love starts off slowly.

It takes time to establish in your life. Many people start with just a few dishes a week, if that. It takes time for the consciousness that Divine Dish provides to sink into your life. You have to chew on it and process it. You have to decide you prefer it to the alternative, the one we have been programmed by for at least a hundred years. It takes time to change on a level this deep.

For me, I’m getting results. I have never before had the experience of outgrowing a wardrobe I had built for myself. I had trouble gaining any weigh at all before Divine Dish. I remember being malnourished as a kid because there wasn’t enough real food around to eat due to poverty, and I was really active. For much of my adult life I weighed around 120 pounds. I used to joke that one of my dreams was to get fat. With Divine Dish I was able to achieve this goal and made my way up to 180 pounds. For the malnourished skinny kid, this was fat for me.

I had to go this far in order to find the emotional comfort and security I needed to feel safe in my body. After experiencing a lifetime of starvation, I needed to know emotionally that I was safe. That I had more than enough food. That good, healthy, satisfying (on all levels), delicious food would always be there for me. It brought me deep comfort and security to be eating Divine Dish like this all these years.

It only got better with time. The menus themselves got better, Divine Dish’s processes improved, and I got better at cooking in the kitchen. There’s something so powerful about being able to cook yourself and your family amazing food. It inspires such a deep sense of confidence and self-worth. It makes you feel really good about yourself.

Upon establishing a proper self-care routine with Divine Dish, it was foundational to my life. It established the base routine for everything. I have to eat and I have to sleep. These things are non-negotiable to my well-being. My well-being is my most important fundamental asset as I cannot achieve much without it. I cannot live a life of joy with an empty well. I cannot help others fill their inner wells if mine is first not full.

With that handled, I could build a fitness routine that suited me. I don’t feel stressed or guilted into it, I feel incredible. I feel liberated. It feels so freeing to do my workouts. I feel delighted to meditate afterward. I was able to know from a deep emotional place, that I am provided for. That it’s safe for me to relax. I didn’t like the way my body looked in the mirror so much, and I didn’t like the way my clothes no longer fit me or how uncomfortable I had become in my body. I was gaining muscle in my workouts but I can’t see too much of my results underneath the layers of fat I had put on. So it was safe to begin the process of weight loss.

Weight change is so easy on Divine Dish! It’s absolutely effortless! All you have to do is eat more when you want to gain weight (increase portion size, add snacks, add protein-milk smoothies) and if you want to lose weight, you either decrease portion sizes or just don’t finish everything on your plate while still eating to your satisfaction.

You should not starve yourself, because then you’ll have to make up for what was lost when you starved. For me, it’s really easy with all this foundation laid. It’s like a fun game I play at my meals. “How little can I eat while still finding total satisfaction?”

Remember I was starved almost my whole life. This is a huge breakthrough! To walk away from my plate comfortably with some food still on it is a big accomplishment. Today for breakfast I didn’t eat one of my sausages and I skipped the toast with jam. It’s a lot of food to not eat, but I’m still satisfied. I am also excited to not eat these things because it feels so compelling on every level not to. My mind, my body, my emotions, and the goals in my heart are all in harmony, so I’m effortlessly moving toward my dreams without losing anything along the way. It’s pure joy and bliss!

You can achieve this too, one step at a time. Take your time with it. I have a lot of foundation beyond just Divine Dish laid in my life that allows me to make rapid progress (remember it has taken me years). I also have had a lot of trauma to heal around food and self-worth, but I’ve done it. I am doing it.

Today I weighed in and am down 7 pounds in just a couple weeks or less of beginning to relax my food intake. It’s exciting and compelling and self-reinforcing. Afterward, I went and put on a pair of jeans and one of my belts. I’m writing this in pure joy and victory and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.