Posts Tagged ‘Anna Neiman’
Today I thought I would take a moment to talk about our social life and how it relates to weight loss. As we all know, weight and body and food can be difficult. But why is it that friends and social experiences, around food or not, are entwined in our process of change? Here are my two cents.
When we are in the Peaceful Weight Loss process two things happen. We are changing from the inside out and with this change, our externals (or everything that has always been) are no longer in complete alignment with our internal landscape. One thing I hear a lot in this work is how difficult it is to have the weight piece not match the internal shifting because explaining that you’re doing all this “weight loss” work when you’re not exactly losing weight makes zero sense to most. They, and we(!), want to see results to know change is happening. An intangible paradigm shift is NOT weight loss. At least not right away.
Within this same line of thinking, being able to articulate every minutia of change is impossible. So therein lies the rub. How do we stay intimate or connected to others, or more importantly, in our current life as we know it, when our process is so personal and subtle? Furthermore, we have relationships that may or may not be about/around/connected to food specifically, but often when we’ve made shifts with our relationship to food, they are not in complete alignment with how we interact socially: eating, drinking, types of food, food environments, who and how we spend our time with, etc.
This can be confusing for everyone involved. For example, when we have a drug buddy and stop using, where is our common ground now that drugs are out of the picture? More so, when we have a baby, we connect with others who are also going through the tender experience of newborn-dom, however, when our children become their own people, and we become more seasoned parents, we have all grown and changed, and may not have anything in common anymore and perhaps, upon reflection, never really did.
So we plug away to reach our weight-food-body goals with the acceptance that all things shift and change, not just the number on the scale. And if we continually do behaviors that we we don’t want to do because that is what is comfortable or socially acceptable, that’s what we’ll do until we no longer need to suffer in this way. So we can either change our behaviors, or shift our environment until the external matches the internal. As Thich Nat Hanh says, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.”
May we all feel completely integrated in all aspects of the self.
So I just found out that my name means food. Does anyone find this as funny as me?
For someone who has struggled with food and weight, to learn that in Hindi my name means food (or ‘rice’), seems a little ironic. So I decided to write a brief newsletter reminding us of the love side of food, rather than the difficult part of our food relationship. Or more specifically, what to do into the new year to avoid a big food explosion ending in the “this year will be different” resolution.
The holidays are upon us. The average american gains 10 pounds over these months every year. And if you’re reading this, we can assume that that is the opposite of what you want to happen. So try this over the next couple of weeks.
Bare down. Not with food, but with your practice. Do it daily. Decide beforehand and plan what you will do. Yoga nidra every night? Breathing and moving for 20 every morning with your favorite class in the mix? 10 minutes of pranayama in the bathroom stall at work before lunch? Watching a video on YouTube or for 5 bucks here with me each day? Forget about the struggle that is food for a minute and shift your focus towards yoga. Do your practice consistently and allow it to uncover whatever is. Perhaps it will provide necessary breath around all the emotions that come up rather than pushing them down. Maybe it will give you a needed break from family and work. Even more, it might even remind you that peace is your birthright. It can only help, right?
So enjoy the specialty foods that surround you, rather than being at war with them. Let your practice support you in taking delight in this time of year and the foods and feelings that accompany it.
Tonight I am sharing in this historic moment with friends and family. There will be a lot of food, drink, and dessert. Not my typical Tuesday night fare—I’ll likely eat more than usual. But I have a plan.
Breathe. A lot. Do some yoga before and after. Trust in the long game, and not worry about the specific calorie count today. There are bigger and more important things to think about. The ability to reset is the Peaceful Weight Loss bija. Our practice is always there to bring us back to what we need to do. This is the after party.
So, may we all remember our practice today, tomorrow, and beyond. All of the other pieces, in or out of our control, will know their place, with a grounded perspective.
P.S. Please vote.
There is a theme in the Peaceful Weight Loss process that is a microcosm of this day in age. It’s the feeling that you’re not doing enough or getting enough done. It’s the thought pattern that you’re not engaged fully in a [weight loss] process when you are, or as a Transformation participant articulated this week, feeling like you’re “avoiding” something, even when you’re not.
This happens all the time—this feeling of inadequacy or falling short in the effort you need to be successful. Often when we trace it back, or look more closely, my clients, and others involved in the Peaceful Weight Loss process, are in fact fully engaged and doing plenty.
So why do we think we’re underachieving, or not accomplishing enough and how much do we need to do in order to believe that we’re on our way to where we want to be?
With weight loss specifically, we are looking in the mirror, and not always seeing “results” from all the work we’re doing including the internal changes that we’re making. If we’ve had disordered thinking around food, our bodies, our weight, then there is much to be done to untangle, or unlearn what we don’t want to do anymore. We are also required to shift our reaction and change our nervous system through practices that help us feel better. And this takes time (and has nothing to do with food, at least to begin.)
When we plant bulbs in the Fall, we work hard to get them in the ground (acquire them, weed, dig, and plant) but we don’t see the beauty of their bloom for the time it takes for our planet to travel halfway around the sun. Their evident growth and beauty takes time, just like a sustainable shift in our body and weight. We may be disappointed when we don’t lose weight immediately or see a difference in the mirror or when we put clothes on, but we shouldn’t be. Working on our mind and body is a process that has many facets, all of which need watering and nourishment.
This is why practice is key. It helps us with our mind when it tells us that we’re not doing enough, that something has to happen now(!), even though something IS happening! Getting our thoughts to recognize this is an important practice. If you are making shifts and feeling better about choices you are making, wiring practice, drinking enough water, enjoying micro-practices including breath, eating regularly, shopping in a non reactionary way, getting enough sleep, [fill in the blank on whatever one thing that you’re working on today]—you are doing enough. Each step leads to the next. The flowers will only bloom if the bulbs are properly taken care of.
So when you wind up seeing the number go down on the scale, you’ll see that enough was truly enough. But for now, It’s our job to keep on keepin’ on and move in the direction of where we want to be. Inside and out. You are your beautiful landscape.
May we all know our true potential and find peace within ourselves at the same time,
Are you looking for your next step to do enough? Join us for our online course. You can call in every other week to connect with me and the rest of our Transformation community as a way to remember and know that you are heading in the right direction, one step at a time. [Here’s more info].
I spoke with a Peaceful Weight Loss client this week. She said (jokingly, but not) that she was looking for her “Aunt” in the fridge. She correlated the search for late night foods (you know, the bluurrr from 5pm-bedtime) to longing for someone or something. The food brings temporary comfort—something most of us can understand (especially if you’re part of the PWL community at large).
I can certainly relate this metaphor. When we’ve struggled with our weight, food is an issue. It manifests in different ways for each of us; we don’t eat enough much of the time, we eat too much; we starve then binge, we binge then starve, too much, too little….on and on. The key ingredient is the suffering.
We often think that it’s our feelings—missing our Aunt—that bring us to binge or eat in a way that isn’t working for us. But here’s the thing. It’s not just filling the space and soothing our emotions that we are doing and it’s not our feeling blue that is our eating problem. Often when we are “searching” for what to eat, the simplest thing is right in front of us: We haven’t fed ourselves enough nourishing, yummy food (you fill in the blank of what that is for you) and we land in a place of both blood sugar crashing and the need for satiation. The difficult feelings make it a perfect storm. But we are extremely resilient human beings that have been through lots of hard things. And if our blood sugars are stable and we consistently allowed (or not deprived) ourselves satisfying food/s, the feelings would just be there, by themselves, not causing an unbearable barrage, exacerbated by starvation, exhaustion, and fear (of when and what we’re going to eat again).
So I leave you with this. Your loss and struggles are real. You are also strong and capable. Enough sleep, water, practice(!), and regular eating throughout the day from the time you wake will set you up for less and less food behaviors that aren’t serving you anymore. But don’t take it from me. Do an experiment this week and find out for yourself.
- Eat 6 times/day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack daily.
- Get 8 hours of sleep/night
- Drink 8ish cups of water/day
- Eat things you like, even if someone or something told you they’re “bad”.
See if by putting your effort towards these things brings you more comfort and ease. Maybe this will also allow you to miss your Aunt, rather than search for her in the fridge.
May we all be peaceful,
For many of us our self esteem is tied up in our weight, and the image of our body is determined by our self esteem. Weight is just one part of this trifecta. It’s a lot to consider when trying to lose weight and be a happier human being.
It’s chaos. First there are the numbers. The numbers on the scale. The numbers in our head of what those numbers should be. The numbers that size our clothes. Well, maybe letters, too. It’s a lot of input. Then there’s the mental states. And of course there’s also the feeling states. What’s strange is how we feel in our body is often clouded by all of these other pieces. It’s a lot of weight to bare.
When I was carrying a lot more weight, I “dieted” often. I limited what I ate and when I ate. I stopped looking at the scale, and I numbed myself with food, alcohol, relationships. I didn’t eat for long stretches on the off chance that I might eat again!? And then of course, the inevitable would happen. I binged. I binged nightly. I told myself that tomorrow I would be different. Yet, there were no nights that this didn’t happen. It was a ritual. A habit. Comfort. I was also in a state of constant anxiety. This cycle left me feeling worse instead of better day after day. The thought of changing was heavy and my weight and body goals were getting further and further away. I hated what I looked like and what I felt like.
Then I started practicing yoga. I would breath and move and open. It was safe and I always felt better afterwards. Yoga was something that I could addict myself to that wasn’t inflicting pain. I was present, a relief. I didn’t know then that I was changing my system’s entire make up. I just knew that everything in my life was shifting including my body. I binged less. I connected to food and my eating more. I began to eat regularly and different things. My mind was calmer. My thoughts were less destructive. My body felt better. I liked myself more. I valued the art I was making more. My relationships changed…
I write about this life as if it is another person. And it kind of is. I’m different because of yoga. Losing weight and being at peace with my body came in a way never could have suspected. There was no diet plan. I had to get into my body, the thing I was both avoiding and in a constant battle with, to get out of my deep suffering.
What I have seen over the years through the Peaceful Weight Loss work and for those on this path, is that yoga is the key to unlock the weight battle. The idea of losing weight doesn’t have to be so heavy. Yoga practices are the course of action that will lead to a happier, healthier, lighter self. With one goal in mind: a daily practice that leaves you feeling calmer, more energized, and with more space between your thoughts. These system shifts are available to you. If weight loss and healthy self esteem is what you desire, practice is a good place to put your effort for now. The other pieces that are weighing you down will change too. (To find more clarity and guidance, join us Transformation, our 9 month Peaceful Weight Loss course.) You deserve to feel lighter. Let your practice guide you towards a more energized and peaceful state. It’s your birthright to be happy.
Thanks for reading,
Some call it a roller coaster. Others refer to it as a yo-yo. On the wagon, off the wagon. Whatever the metaphor, weight loss can be an up and down, in and out, and all around experience.
Here’s the catch. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if the struggle is decades old, there is another way, a different path, a new and sustainable outcome. Imagine being more peaceful and losing weight at the same time. What would this look like? What would the metaphor become? I’m going with peaceful ocean waves moving in and out of the shore.
I believe that we can make our experience less extreme if we truly want this to be so. When we apply our effort in the right direction, magic happens. So, let’s begin with food. This is usually the first thing we go after when we’re trying to take weight off. It’s also where we think we have the most control. But really, this is where the extreme states happen because we aren’t approaching food in a relaxed way. It’s intense. It’s baggage. It’s manic, frustrating, habitual, and confusing.
So, imagine focusing your effort and attention away from food and set a new “weight loss goal” of practicing daily, or as much as possible. We are now putting our energy towards yoga. But not just any yoga. Your “weight loss” practice should leave you feeling calmer and more energized. Got that? This might be a 15 or 30 minute breathing and moving practice on the mat or a 20 minute yoga nidra in bed…I’ve seen all sorts of practices tone the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest, and heal part) which is what we want. This will lessen anxiety and tell our fight-or-flight part of the nervous system to chill out. We arrive in this state more of the time. Our clothes might not fit differently at first and the number on the scale (if you even decide you want to use one!) may not shift, but we feel better already.
It’s from this place that we can look at our food choices. And incrementally we approach the “food part of weight loss” (because it’s only a piece) with more clarity, compassion, and awareness. But really without the letting go on a daily basis part, we are agreeing to the up and downs that keep the body battle going. (via deprivation, via stress, via life)
If this resonates with you, try it. Forget about food for a minute. Practice daily and ask yourself if you are calmer and more energized afterwards. If the answer is no, tweak your practice, or find us to help you refine. And if this eludes you completely, join our 9 month course to help and prioritize how to stabilize rather than continue with extremes. If the answer is yes, ask yourself what one food thing you want to do today until you practice again tomorrow, and the next, and the next. Like (calm) ocean waves.
May we all be happy,
Well it’s officially winter. If you have the privilege of living in a place where the weather changes in extremes according to the season, you are also blessed with the body’s desires changing, as well. Here in New England it is cold. The lightness of summer’s raw veggie and juicy melons are long forgotten. I am eating more available foods like root veggies, meat, beans, and greens that are cooked down and warm. Warm food makes us feel better, more nourished in this raw weather. So how do we stay on track with our weight goals when what we want to eat is heavier? What does it mean to eat with the seasons while still remaining true to our weight goals? Even so, what does it mean to be on a cycle of eating even when it’s not affected by the weather but is more internal…say, from hormones?
In Peaceful Weight Loss we often focus on how we can bolster ourselves or lifestyle in order to make choices that leave us feeling our best. The ways in which we do this are with self care, yoga practice, sleep, good company, etc. When we have these other pieces of our lives wired, we are able to ride the waves of temperature change, hormonal change, life changing all around us.
We have constancy in other ways so even when we change what we eat here and there it does not mean that we are off track. It may be just the thing to keep us where we want to be. And, when we are nourished in ways other than food (a good movie, a pedicure, yoga class, a walk outside) our food changes don’t seem so wild or ground shaking. We are able to breathe and remember, even with some shifting around, what we need to do. So after the ground thaws, we won’t wake up, we will already be awake.
May we nourish ourselves, so we may nourish the world.