Archive of ‘2011’ category
The holidays are a minefield for us folks with food issues. It can feel like someone has loaded a machine gun with foods that we often don’t want to eat and we are the target. This coupled with the ordinary holiday stress and we’ve got a full-blown disaster on our hands.
So why is this the case? Is there something we can do differently so that the holidays don’t become a time of weight gain and regret? The answer is yes. And it lies in the power of intention.
A clear intention (or set of intentions) will light the way when the mind becomes confused. An intention is different than an idea in that we contemplate it to send it deeper into our mind. That way when the thoughts are flying above it our intention can ground us and guide our actions. Intentions need to be short and sweet. Clarity is the key.
To set your intention for the holidays – find a quiet place and ask yourself what is the most important thing or two that you need to do to be centered this holiday season. It may be food related (I am not going to eat Mom’s cheese danish because it makes me feel sick) or it may not be food related (I am going to wake up early and take a walk).
Once you’ve found your intention sit quietly and imagine it happening. Picture yourself in all of the situations where you want your intention to be front and center. Then picture yourself after the holidays getting back into your groove having succeeded in remembering your intention.
By setting your intention in this way it will find a prominent place in the thousands of thought patterns that will swirl through your mind as you move thorough the end of the year. Stay focused on your intention, and don’t worry about other goals or desires that you may have. Keep it simple and you will be rewarded with the experience of taking care of yourself this holiday season.
May we all be blessed with peace and clarity this season.
May I please have your attention!!!! Thanksgiving eating is not a barometer of your self worth!!!!
May I please have your attention!!! What we choose to eat on this holiday in no way predicts the future size of our bodies!!!!!
OK – Here it is plain and simple. We have a holiday in this country that is centered around food for most people. If we called it “Food Day”, the overeating that tends to happen on this day would be less confusing. We would collectively overeat and all feel good about it.
I am not suggesting that we all eat as much as possible this holiday. I do suggest that self criticism goes on holiday also. Let’s focus more on enjoying the food we choose to eat. Let’s be fully aware of the uniqueness of this day – a day when food is front and center in a positive way, and we choose to participate fully by enjoying every bite.
Here is our Thanksgiving practice.
“I am thankful for all the joy this food brings.”
“I put aside all the ways food is difficult for me for this day.”
“May we all find nourishment, enjoyment, and peace today.”
With great respect and love – I wish you all a stress free holiday.
I have been so inspired lately by those that I have the privilege of working with. Over the last few months I have watched people move from intense suffering into a place of peace. I have seen people reduce their blood sugars, people move out of chronic pain, and others find a way to no longer binge and purge. I have also witnessed people physically transform as no-longer-needed pounds disappear.
What do these people have in common? They are all open to possibility. They continue to be willing to keep themselves open enough to the possibility of change. Without a fixed idea of what should happen, they each said to themselves “something will happen”. From this space of openness they do their work of finding the breath, becoming more present, and making choices out of a present-centered space.
When we witness others making great change it can be frustrating especially when we don’t feel ourselves making progress. Mainly because we want to achieve what they have. But if we look underneath the achievement to the space that they were in when change began, we see their openness to possibility.
So let us find inspiration from these stories and allow ourselves to stay open, allowing change to come to us.
May we all live in the possibility of today.
We can’t know where we are going if we don’t know where we are. And knowing where we are can be very challenging. On a daily basis most of us assess, then re-assess, and re-assess our re-assessment of what we think we need to do to achieve our weight loss goals. This can be energy draining and non-productive. From a yogic perspective, this is because our unconscious mind is running the show and directing our thoughts in a way that isn’t very helpful. Our job is to ground ourselves in the present and make decisions using all of that which is available to us—our intelligence, our wisdom, and our bodies. It is from this expanded place that we easefully find our way.
So instead of stepping on the scale every day we find our practice. We connect our body and mind with our breath. Once we do this we have a reality check. Anchored in the present we ask ourselves “What do I need to do today to be centered, peaceful, and nourished?” When we do this our answers become clear. I need to practice. I need to eat regularly. I need to take a walk after work. I need to call my family. I need to not overeat this meal in front of me. I need to go food shopping. Simple answers come and we follow them.
In this way, we become more and more grounded and less overwhelmed by our suffering. And this allows us to take actions that benefit us.
May we all find clarity and peace today.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything~
I often think that in the process of dealing with my food issues, I installed a reset button in my mind. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what behaviors we’ve done in the past. The question is whether we can “press” the reset button and start again. The more skilled we become at remembering to reset, the better off we are.
Through my own process I’ve come to realize that this is the most important part of maintaining my weight. If I go on vacation and eat too much food that I rarely eat in my regular life, I make sure to find my button after a day or two. If I’m at a social event and eat what feels like the whole cheese tray – I hit the reset button. By returning to myself with a reset, these over-eating behaviors and tendencies don’t snowball and cause me to gain weight. It turns out that limited amounts or shorter moments of non-ideal food behaviors aren’t a big deal.
The main thing that allows this reset to happen is practice. A few minutes of breath and motion or meditation reminds us of our natural state. From this place we are living in choice and the reset button is easily accessible.
So add this to your practice. Worry less about what you did yesterday and more about what you have to do to find yourself today. Resetting is always possible.
We eat with other people.
We watch other people eat.
We read about what other people eat.
We talk to other people about food.
We feed other people.
And they feed us.
That’s a lot of input on a subject that gives us a bit of trouble. We live in a culture that has so many food influences – so many ways of eating – and so many eating disordered people – how are we to decide what information to listen to? When we are in a difficult place with our own eating we are often more likely to listen to our partner, friends, parents. It all sounds so reasonable – it’s working for them, right? Maybe I should try that?
So what do we need to remember in order to navigate the world of eating influences successfully? The most important thing is that we don’t have to be anyone but ourselves. Our personal path has many components and how we eat is just one of them. As we look at the paths of others, we can draw much inspiration. We can get new ideas and try them out for ourselves to see if they apply to us. But in the end it’s our own combination of food, movement, perspective, and rest that will lead us towards peace on all levels.
So next time someone offers you advice on weight loss, make sure to take it in as their personal story. Let it inspire you to go deeper on your own path. In this way we all benefit from each other’s experience, without confusing it with our own.
May we all find inspiration today.
I can’t believe I did that!?
How many times have we said this to ourselves? We have been changing our way of being for months or years, and then – BOOM – out of nowhere an ugly habit rears its head. We look back and say to ourselves, “I thought I was over this”. “I can’t believe I did that again”. “I must be slipping, or even worse—all of the change I’ve made isn’t real now and here is the evidence that I’m not okay”. This is not true.
We are OK. It makes sense that we slip back into difficult behaviors. This is how we humans work. Our old patterns don’t magically disappear (although we’d like them to most of the time). They slowly get overtaken by new ones. Even in the the famed Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, there is reference to the need to practice for a long time before it really takes a hold. We need to step back and take a longer view to actually see what is going on for us.
So what are the real signs of progress? It isn’t whether or not we binged last night. It is what we do after that counts. It is all about resetting ourselves and finding our practice again. Doing this takes effort as well as acceptance. The downward mental spiral where we judge our difficult behaviors is not useful. We accept where we are and then we use appropriate effort to practice, make sure to eat breakfast, go to bed on time, etc…
As we progress on our path, we see that our troubling behaviors lessen. Maybe last year we binged 3 times a week and this year we find ourselves binging once a week. Or maybe we fall out of our practice for a week before we reset but there have been times in our life that it was 6 months before we caught ourselves.
The more we accept where we are—celebrate our successes (no matter how small they seem) and accept the more difficult aspects of ourselves—the easier it will be to find our way toward living peace.
May we all accept what is, so that we may live fully today.
Spring is almost here, and it often brings thoughts of renewal and cleansing. Time to get rid of the old and make room for the new. When we think about our yoga practice, we can be drawn to thoughts of cleaning out our body, but really it is our mind that needs some “cleaning.”
Our recursive, difficult, addictive thoughts are often the most challenging to work with. They guide us into unstable, non-nourishing behaviors that cause us, in the end, to gain weight. As spring arrives, we can make room for more useful and beneficial thinking to dominate our mental space.
So what do we do? How do we design a cleanse that will bring us this much wanted spaciousness we desire?
Just like fasting from food—we need to set aside some time to fast from non-nourishing thoughts. We need to fill our minds with beauty, love, and positive thinking. Let’s take one week where everyday we make time to practice in a way that we enjoy. Let’s read something that makes us happy. Let’s listen to music that uplifts us and spend time with people we enjoy. Go to your favorite restaurant or make that meal you love that you haven’t had in a while. Take a break from the negative as much as is in your control. And these things are.
At the end of your cleanse see if you are changed. Notice if any of these positive thoughts and patterns want to stick around in a more permanent way.
And of course, share your experience with anyone that will listen including us here at Peaceful Weight Loss: firstname.lastname@example.org
May we all find the light today.
It’s February. And here in New England anyway, it’s pretty common for people to have trouble motivating this time of year. The cold weather and lack of sunlight add to the feeling of wanting to shut the alarm off and go back to sleep. How do we stick to our intentions when the external factors seem to be against us? How do we wake up and practice when we just don’t want to?
The first thing is to be clear about our goals. It’s easy when caught in the doldrums to forget that the primary goal of our process is to be happier. Happier people have more energy and experience less stress. And when this is happening we make food choices that support our happiness. It then becomes a self supporting cycle: Better food and activity = happiness and happiness = better food and activity.
So what makes you happier? Does practicing yoga help? Do you need more social interaction and community support (Sangha)? Do you need to read or watch more uplifting material? Do you need to go outside, cook a delicious meal, play with your dog, play music, paint? The more you can feed your happiness the easier motivation will come.
Take the easiest road in. What is the one thing that you can do to begin this cycle today? Keep it simple and be present enough to enjoy it. Whether it’s moving and breathing, going to your favorite lunch spot, or grabbing a new book, you will be feeding your natural ability to move towards the happiness that is always present inside of you.
May we all breathe in happiness today.
There is this great concept in yoga called Tapas. Tapas is the purifying fire that burns out what we don’t need. As we stoke this fire, former patterns get scorched, and we are liberated!
Sounds awesome, right? Where do I buy this fire that will burn out all of my problems? Bring it on!
Here’s the deal – you can’t buy it. I guess you already knew this. It doesn’t come in the form of a “cleanse” or from being in a 100 degree room sweating buckets. It doesn’t come in cased as a promise that you won’t eat ANYTHING bad for you today, this week, this year…
Tapas – the fire – is available to all of us. In fact it lives in us right now. And guess what burns the flame bright? Our Practice. The effort that you put into your practice everyday fans the flame. Day after day, week after week, year after year, you feed the flame with your practice and the fire burns brighter and brighter.
Did I hear you say, “Bummer. I’d rather buy it”? Don’t be too sad. This freedom is easier than you may think. Your practice is mostly about perspective. The moving and breathing, the reading newsletters, the watching self help TV shows, the being generally useful in the world, the keeping good company. All of it fans the flame.
Do we have to place effort this year? Of course. Do we have to kick our own ass every day and deprive ourselves of food? Absolutely not. Everyday we enkindle the fire by de-stressing, finding our perspective and staying present. As our flame grows stronger, this effort becomes easier and easier. And one day we realize that overeating is no longer as interesting.
Sound impossible? It isn’t. We are designed as this. Yoga shows us how.
So let us all resolve to find our practice everyday – no matter what that looks like – so that our flames may burn so bright that all can see.
And if you need a little fanning, drop us an email. We’re always happy to hear from you.
Happy New Year!