renee-michelle-harris_web.jpgEditor’s note: The following is another in a series based on the writer’s efforts at losing weight.

After four months and several coaching sessions, I am 30 pounds lighter and arriving at a place along this journey of weight loss that is loaded with change. And change is what this experience is all about.

My sessions with Coach T – Charles Taylor — and Shakira Clemetson of Charles and Shakira Unlimited have taken me deeper than I’d anticipated, facilitating a healing that is imperative for permanent change in any area, especially weight loss.


As the wise Shakira told me in a recent session, “A light-filled mind leads to a lighter body.” What she meant was that when I am faced with stressful or anxious situations that, in the past, would have led to overeating or eating the wrong foods, I should seek the light of God. Her rationale is that the more I get still, silently connecting with the God presence within instead of turning to food, the void that I was seeking to fill would get filled with something far more substantive.

Overeating, or any addiction, for that matter, is designed to fill a void. Although the reason for the void certainly varies from person to person, the source for filling it remains the same. What I’ve learned for sure is that whatever a person’s religious or spiritual belief, the God or Higher Power of his or her faith can fill the emptiness with a rich, soothing presence that surpasses all understanding and effectively nullifies an unhealthy craving for anything else.

Although prayer, meditation and journaling have been mainstays in my life for many years, they have taken a much more prominent role in my life of late and the difference is amazing. Not only am I noticeably slimmer — slipping recently into a smaller pair of jeans that my daughter bought for me a few years ago brought tears to my eyes — I am changing in other ways, as well. The fear that fed the weight gain is gradually dissolving, being replaced with a calm confidence that can only come from God.

Deepening my spiritual awareness has resulted in a burst of enthusiasm for living like I’ve never felt. The best way to describe it is to have you picture a huge blank canvas that, despite a full array of vibrant paint nearby, has only a small corner fully painted. I’m ready to paint my masterpiece.

Living full out has taken on a greater sense of urgency and has led me to another significant change. Although I will continue to chronicle my weight loss journey in South Florida Times, my role here as associate editor is coming to a bittersweet end.

Bitter, only because I will certainly miss my SFT family. Never have I worked with a more brilliant, dedicated and professional group of people. The

environment that Robert Beatty, the newspaper’s publisher, has created is one in which the pursuit of excellence is a given and the elevation of dialogue throughout South Florida is taken to heart. And what this former social worker has learned about journalism from current Executive Editor Mohamed Hamaludin and his predecessor, Brad Bennett, is priceless.

Sweet, because what’s next on my path is the pursuit of my long-desired filmmaking career, a divinely inspired passion that is the perfect culmination of my life’s journey – personally and professionally.

I “stumbled” into screenwriting many years ago and the interest grew to include directing. After completing a solid filmmaking program, it’s time to take the plunge. I have written several scripts and will take my first, Keisha’s Journey, from paper to screen over the next several months. I hope that you will continue my journey with me – and will be in attendance when we screen the movie during the spring/summer of 2012.

This is not good-bye but, rather, so long. I appreciate your support and invite you to stay in touch via Facebook (

keishasjourneythemovie) and on the movie’s website,

• Charles and Shakira Unlimited is a comprehensive, spirituality based life coaching program that inspires clients to live H.I.P. — Healthy, Inspired and Purposeful – lives. They may be contacted at 954-591-8542

or via Twitter at

Renee Michelle Harris may be contacted at

Photo: Renee Michelle Harris