Author Archive

New Year’s Message

First a big Thank You! 2014 was a really amazing year here at Peaceful Weight Loss. Our 9 month course Transformation was launched, adding a new avenue for this work to be accessed by people in their homes. I am personally grateful for all of you who have participated and provided us with feedback to make this offering a truly beneficial experience for everyone. I look forward to implementing new ways for us to stay connected and transform so that we experience our fullest potential.

Like so many people at this time of year, I am thinking about what I would like to happen in the year to come. Much of these thoughts are based in my mundane worldly concerns – work, family, cleaning my kitchen more, etc… but I always try to reserve a space in my thoughts for self betterment. How do I want to expand myself this year so that I am more connected to my better self? And – how can I implement this? The latter is as important as the first. Do I need to set aside time? Do I need some set of information or instruction? Do I need to seek help outside myself to grow and shift?

These questions can seem overwhelming when examined in the middle of what might seem like the chaos of our daily life. This year let’s take the time to sit quietly with these questions. Let’s spend a few moments together contemplating how we can best serve ourselves. I’ve included a short contemplation below – may it help each of us find clarity and intention.

Thank you always for supporting this work and please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re here for you.

With great respect and love,

Brandt

Our Annual Thanksgiving Issue

Here it is again! The annual tradition of gathering together and overeating. This is a non-religious holiday so it effects more people than any other here in the U.S. In my practice I see no other subject as difficult as the holidays. Thanksgiving in particular.

So let’s just say that our collective goal is not to gain weight over the holidays. Losing weight may be a bit trickier but it would be nice if Thanksgiving comes and goes and we are left in the same place physically. What would need to happen to make this so? For starters we probably need to stay in our bodies, grounded and sane-ish for the whole Thanksgiving weekend. It will probably help if we don’t abandon any useful habits we’ve been working on. So, if we’ve been practicing asana or conscious breathing in the morning, we may want to continue that. It may also help to sit back and realize that it’s just a meal, or a series of meals, and we have the ability to make choices at each one.

I get it – with all of the family and food triggers swirling around us sometimes it seems like we are being attacked!

This is why working on our practice is so essential to losing weight. If we develop the ability to stay present then each meal is simply a series of choices. If we don’t practice, each meal is an overwhelming flood of food triggers.

This Thanksgiving let’s all stay present. Let’s commit to our practice whether it is yoga in the morning, a few deep breaths at every meal, or a solitary walk in the afternoon. Let’s use the clarity and presence that will move us toward an enlightened Thanksgiving that we can fully enjoy.

May we all find clarity, peace, and presence today.

With great respect and love,

Brandt

The Grind of Weight Loss

Thinking about what to eat all of the time is a constant grind. Ugh! Many of us want out. If we didn’t have to deal with the food thing life would seemingly be easier. Trying to lose weight makes this matter even worse. It often feels like a small misstep or two can derail the entire process and and all of our hard work is lost.

This perception is both true and false all at the same time. On one hand, if this is our experience we must acknowledge it. It’s not good to pretend that the challenges around food don’t exist. On the other hand, we have many stories we tell ourselves about our bodies, food and weight loss. When our thinking is present centered we simply say, “what’s for lunch?” and when we are stuck in our storyline we say, “I have to eat well for lunch”, or “I need to figure out what to eat that’s healthy, even though I want something else”, or “I can never just eat what I want”.

If this sounds familiar, I humbly suggest finding a practice that allows you to stay more present in your thinking. Whether it’s doing yoga in the morning, finding some calming breaths several times a day, walking your dog after work or all of these things. It is important that we find practices that allow us to not get caught up in stories that ruin our experience. By staying present we see what is right before us with our relationship to food and simply act from that place, rather than the big stories of what has been or what is yet to be.

May we all find presence today,

Brandt

Finding Your Groove

It’s just so tempting.

If I buy that fasting kit I’ll be thinner in 10 days…If I sign up right now for that personal training service it’s going to be totally different from last time…If I just eat 1000 calories a day for the next 30 days I’ll lose……

You know what all these thoughts have in common? They have nothing to do with our current groove. They are 100 percent different from what we are doing now. And why not? We don’t like our current situation so why not try to completely change it? Here’s the problem: It never really works. When we commit to paths that have nothing to do with who we really are, and what we’re actually doing, we can never sustain them.

Instead we need to look at ourselves and ask what the great sage Ramana Maharshi asked everyone to ask themselves – Who am I? In other words, Am I an athlete? Am I a fasting junkie? Am I someone who wants peace? What is it that I could do to put myself on the path to health, healing, and happiness? The answer is – MY GROOVE.

We must be on our path if we want success – not other people’s ideas of what our path should be.

Peaceful Weight Loss is a process to find your groove. Your way of moving, your way of relaxing, your way of eating that feels authentic to you. It is a process with suggestions to help you find yourself. Then the whole changing the way our body looks and feels becomes a natural part of this.

May we all find our groove today.

With great respect and love,

Brandt

Is It Your Time?

Everyone wants to change – to transform – to have things different than they are. It’s human nature to desire life to be better. For many of us this includes losing weight. We often attach our happiness with health and physical beauty to this one change of weight loss. Of course this is a bit misguided. There are many things that we can shift to become and feel healthier, happier, and better looking. We can reduce our stress levels, get outside more, get a spa treatment or an updated haircut (not that I know much about this one!) to achieve much of what we are looking for.

Weight loss itself requires some focus because it’s a longish process. Longish as in more than a week. It certainly does not provide instant gratification. It is often a good idea to find at least some of the other things you desire first and not think that losing weight will make all these other things magically appear.

That said, I always ask my clients this one question: Is this your time? If it is – do it! If it is your time for weight loss, the thought of shifting your diet won’t be overwhelming. Most likely because you’ve found your groove in other ways and you have created the space to do the weight loss dance. If it’s not your time, that’s fine too. Knowing this will help you do other things that bring you happiness. Practice yoga, go outside, do whatever is right for you, and watch your life feel just a bit better each day, every week.

Is this your time? Food for thought.

May we open to transformation today.

Brandt

Surprise Yourself

“If I could just stick to my diet everything would work out.”

How many times have we said this to ourselves? Our diet always ends and things don’t work out. We then repeat the cycle of “If I could just” statements.

I teach yoga class a couple times a week. People come to class really regularly. I mean really really regularly. Way more regularly than most of us stick to diets.

Why is this the case? It takes a lot to get to yoga class in the morning twice a week. There are so many things can derail us. The reason is that it feels good. My students are committed to feeling good.

So maybe all of these diets aren’t doing that. Or maybe we simply don’t take a minute to notice how they’re making us feel. Is this diet’s way of eating working for me? Is the diet making me feel good? There really is no benefit to a diet if it isn’t serving you well.

There’s no way you will come to class week after week if you don’t feel better from it. There’s no way you will keep saying no to bread and butter and cappuccino cheesecake if there isn’t some real benefit, right? If you’re not feeling better, why do it?

So when we’re shifting our way of eating, it’s important that we ask ourselves, “Is this making me feel better?” I mean, a lot better. When the answer is a definitive yes, then we will have less problem staying with it.

And this way of eating may even become more and more peaceful.

May we all live in a way that fills us with light.

Brandt

Beauty

I thought I would write about beauty this month. Because we are all vein. I’m not judging. I believe it’s part of the human condition to want to look our best. Our weight is often part of this. We are driven to be an ideal weight as part of our desire to be as beautiful as possible. Sure, there are other reasons to lose weight. Most of which revolve around health. But it’s a rare person who doesn’t care what they look like.

Our perception of ourselves is often tied to the scale. The funny thing is, most people aren’t attracted to someone based on their weight alone. So many factors play into attractiveness. Posture, confidence, personality, etc. all matter. But what really seems to make a difference is energy. Or more specifically, the quality of our presence. So many people I’ve worked with have had this realization. They find that after “cleaning up their act” – which involves doing yoga and meditation – cleaning up their diet so it benefits them and no longer suppresses their energy – they feel more attractive. And other people find them more attractive. EVEN IF THEY HAVE LOST LITTLE OR NO WEIGHT!

I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t lose weight. I’m simply pointing out that if you want to be more beautiful, practice will help you. If your goals include being more healthy, losing weight, and being more beautiful they might all require the same actions of practice. Moving and breathing, developing presence, and eating in a way that builds energy. We can actually ditch the scale and allow ourselves to develop our natural beauty instead.

May we all experience our own limitless beauty.

Brandt

Intention

Happy New Year friends! I’m going to make a suggestion this year. Let’s all make a collective new year’s resolution. Not to lose 20 pounds or to do yoga every day. Well not exactly anyway.

We already know all about these types of resolutions. We’ve made them before. What we really need to do is remember them! To clear space in our heads to allow ourselves to act in our true best interest. What does this mean? It will require us to slow down and set our intention each and every day. As we find focus and clarity, it is so much easier to take action that benefits us.

So here’s our new year’s resolution. Every morning let’s wake up, take a few breaths, and say to ourselves, “Today I intend to be peaceful, present, and useful.” This seemingly small practice is the gateway to all other practices. A simple intention to right ourselves at the start of the day to realize our goals.

And who knows? Maybe we will like it so much we’ll do it again during the day!

May we be peaceful, present, and useful today and send our heart’s intention into each moment as we move ahead on our path.

With love,

Brandt

What Do I Do?

What do I do? An important question for this holiday-influenced, schedule-shifting, darkest-time-of-the-year month. Let’s ask ourselves what is possible. Not in our unrealistic-fantasy-driven mind. Not in our self-loathing-body-hating mind. Not in our uninspired-spirit-beaten-down mind. Not these – but instead in our open, positive, reality-centered parts of our self.

There are so many obstacles but if we find our breath – let go of our expectations – and ask ourselves this question, the answer is available. What can we do this holiday season to take care of ourselves? What will leave us most centered? What will allow us to feel calm and energized as we navigate the next few weeks? Ask yourself and receive the answer. It could be anything. Keeping your practice through the holidays. Taking a few moments for yourself while visiting with family. Allowing yourself to eat your holiday meals with gratitude and pleasure.

If we take a moment to ask – our answer will come

So this season do what you can do. Whether the answer is big or small – one thing or a handful of things – if you listen you will wake up on new years day with more clarity, energy, and a momentum that has already begun.

May we all listen to and move with our best selves.

Namaste,

Brandt

Every year I recommend a charity. This year I’ve picked The Northampton Survival Center, an emergency food pantry and referral service for Hampshire County that strives to improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and families by providing food and other resources with dignity and respect.

Click survival center to make a donation.

Personal Peace

OK. Here is the deal when you eat too much in one day.

It doesn’t really matter!

The event that causes the most pain among my clients is eating too much. There is so much guilt and recrimination. It’s horrible. But the truth is – in terms of body composition – it doesn’t matter that much. Of course if we overeat day after day we are not going to love the results. But in the short term, it is pretty insignificant.

Realizing this, in a nutshell, is how I personally found much of my peace. After years of overeating and then hating myself for it, I was free! This simple truth is really what I needed to get deep into my system. One binge – one overstep – even one “bad” vacation didn’t really matter. It’s what I did the next day, week, and month that mattered. I proved this to myself. I’m still proving it by occasionally eating in ways that aren’t a great idea and then finding my balance again.

I believe this is what we all desire. The ability to discriminate between a slip and a major fall down the stairs, so to speak. For many of us these two things can feel the same. But they don’t have to. If we continually practice so that our mind is calm and discriminating we can see reality and can accept our perceived faults more easily. We can change larger patterns that don’t serve us AND accept our normal human deviations.

I know this to be true because I have experienced it. I have also seen hundreds of others experience it as well.

So today – Practice and find yourself closer to this place of personal peace.

May we all realize our true potential,

Om Shanti ~ Om Peace

Brandt

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