This post originally appeared on John Hodgkinson’s blog:

If someone had said to me sixteen years ago when I wrote my book for the first time there is a correlation between my physical well-being and my mental well-being, I would have called it hogwash. Of course, sixteen years ago being an author was completely different from being an author today. Why is that you may be asking? Because the author of today controls his or her own destiny.

Let me set up the circumstances that have brought me the opportunity to brand my body and see the correlation between the foods I eat and the Divine Author Within state of being.

I met Tom Bird for the very first time two days after 9/11/2001. At the time, the only thing I had on my mind was becoming an author and learning how to become one from Tom Bird. Today, people call him their guru, their mentor; many of us call him our friend. A friendship was formed the weekend following 9/11 between Tom and me that has transcended more than I ever expected.

Fast forward to May 30, 2017; one of my granddaughters is graduating from high school in Glendale, Arizona. That same day, for the first time in more than five years, I’m seeing my estranged son and his wife. As he walks up the stadium bleachers I open my heart to invite him in for hug. He shuns me and says only one word to me for the next two days, “Naw.” My heart breaks. Thank God, I had cataract surgery earlier in the week and the doctor told me to wear sunglasses, day and night. They help to hide my tears. I remember one of my friends telling me a couple of months prior to get my cataract removed. She told me that it would be the best thing to do. She recommended SharpeVision for this surgery, so I did look on their website to find out more about the services they offer. Cataract surgery is nothing but removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens. In the beginning, like most others, I was skeptical about the post-surgery complications, cost of the surgery, and its success rate, etc. I spent a lot of time researching cataract surgery costs, read testimonials of those who have done it, and more. Anyway, coming back to the point, now my vision is much better.

The following day at the graduation party, whenever I walked into a room where my son, his wife, and his daughter, my other granddaughter nearly four years old whom I have never met, would move to the next room. Not he, not his wife, not even my ex-wife had the decency to introduce me to my younger granddaughter for the very first time. However, this graduation event wasn’t about me, so I said nothing. I hid my sorrow behind the sunglasses.

The following day, after the graduation party, June 1, I head for home. It is pretty hard to keep from thinking about what had transpired and to avoid the tears because of the last two days. Nearly half-way home, in Yuma Arizona, Tom Bird calls me. “Hey big John, where are you?” he asks.

“I’m in Yuma, Arizona, halfway home.”

“Do you feel like making a return trip to Sedona next week for the Retreat?”

Of course, my answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”

Soon after passing through Yuma, I came to the conclusion that it is my son who has to own the decision to cast me out of his life, along with the responsibility to own it. I’ve been wearing a coat of arms long enough. After living 67 years with a father who has hated me since the very first day I was born and who still hates me today, I decide this is my son’s lesson, not mine. “I’m just going to love them,” I tell myself.

On May 30, I weighed 328 pounds. I was done being an overweight, obese man. I quit bearing the brunt of my failed relationships in my body and decided to re-brand my frame. Unfortunately, I have no plan and I don’t know where to begin. I’ve tried every diet there is, but none of them had the answer to what I need to do. One week later I’m in Sedona. When I see Tom, he walks up to me and says, “Hey, big John, I’ve talked to my wife and she’s doing a case study with ten people regarding nutrition and we are adding you to the list.” It’s not ten minutes later that I’m meeting Heidi Bird for the first time. I introduce myself as Tom’s Project Coordinator and the new member of her nutrition study. She looks at me with a befuddled grin; Tom walks up to introduce us, and a new friendship begins.

Soon after the retreat, Tom and Heidi come to San Diego. While Tom was busy doing workshops, Heidi and I are forming a nutrition partnership. By the second day, she knows my whole life story. A bond is formed. She is now my Nutrition Coach and I am her study partner. Weekly phone sessions begin. In the first week, she teaches me not to use the term, “Diet. Take the “t” out of the word, what does it spell?” she asks. “You get the message just like I did, it spells ‘die.’ Most diets kill a part of you, but they never transform you. That’s why we call our process  ‘ transformation of life.’”

During the second week Heidi says to me, “Remember this. If you feel like crap, it’s most likely you’re eating crap.” Looking back on my life, I ate crap and I felt like crap, most of the time. How do you feel most of the time after you eat something? Notice how you feel and you’ll understand what I’m saying.

My doctor once said to me, “Don’t ever ask for a referral to have gastric bypass surgery. You know what it takes to change things.”

Yes, she’s right, I do, “Move more and eat less,” at least that’s what I used to think.

During the second nutrition phone conversation with Heidi, she tells me, “You don’t have to give things up, but you do need to add nature’s natural healing foods — fruits and vegetables — to your food base.” Then she goes on to explain why they are nature’s most natural healers. It’s because they come from the ground. Eating them grounds you. They are nourished by the sun and water, the most natural nourishment there is.

The next session she teaches me about “balance.” Going along with Heidi’s belief that we don’t have to give up everything, we come to the conclusion that adding healthier foods, healthy thinking, and foods from the ground, we begin to balance things out. Imagine yourself on a teeter totter, me sitting on one side at 304 pounds (Notice the weight loss since May 30?) and you on the other side of the teeter totter at 180 pounds, what’s going to happen? How will you get yourself down? Only two choices, jump or wait for me to lift enough weight to let you down. Something has to be added or subtracted to balance the beam. The same goes for nourishment.

One week later, I’m confessing that I have had a bad week. “I ate crap and I feel like crap,” I tell her. My writing skills are weak, my work attitude is not broken, but I’m not at the top of my game. I’m tired and unfocused. Even one of the authors sends me a note after the PublishNow webinar. asking me if I’m okay. It showed. Confessing to Heidi and to the author is enough to get me back on track. After the session, Heidi sends me the primary food circle. I do some research and find there are primary foods that nourish the various aspects of the circle of life. Which of these areas of the food circle belong to an Author? At first glance, all of them. However, I believe there is a correlation between the two directly at the top and the two directly at the bottom. At the top you find, Spirituality and Creativity and at the bottom you find Home Cooking and Activity. Nowhere in the food wheel is there any mention of fast foods or junk foods. So why do we eat them? It’s simple: “20 seconds of pleasure.”

As authors, we find the food groups that nourish the Divine Author Within to be nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Easy to make these as home served meals. I use the term “home-served” because we each have our own preference, cooked or raw. I choose raw. Most Authors find themselves sitting more than they should, so what about activity? How does that play into the circle of life? Do I need to run a marathon or even walk a mile to satisfy activity? Imagine this, while sitting at my computer, writing this blog, how much movement is going on. My eyes are moving, my fingers are moving, even my head is moving? Can we consider this movement? Sit at your computer sometime with an IWatch from Apple on your wrist. By the end of the day, I find between my trips to the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room and back to the office I’ve used up 500 calories or more. Thinking we have to do more, such as run or walk a mile, we don’t see all the ways we satisfy activity. As an author, eat foods that nourish your creativity and enhance your spirit, eat from home, see your writing as an activity and you will find that the Divine Author Within will be more productive and stay with you longer each day.

Is there a correlation between eating the foods that nourish us and the Divine Author Within? My Divine Author Within says, “Yes!”