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,
Our mind’s obsession on the body. We are programed for it really. We are always evaluating ourselves and each other’s looks. It’s an evolutionary trait but it’s definitely annoying to put on a bathing suit and see every way in which we could look better. Our minds chide us for all of the dieting and working out that we didn’t do this year. Even if we did – it wasn’t enough. We don’t look the way we want to and it is not OK!!!!
So what do we do with this mind who is telling us that we have failed yet again? Do we tell ourselves we are beautiful? We can but secretly we still know we are displeased. Do we ignore our mind altogether and grab a bucket of fries and hit the beach? That probably won’t make us feel better either.
This is a job for some serious gratitude. Gratitude for everything we have that is good. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but what does it do well? Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we have friends or family that we love. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but it’s better than it was before. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we still get to enjoy being outside in the summer by the waves in this bathing suit. The list goes on.
The practice of gratitude is the antidote to the upset judgmental mind. You can take this on at any time by closing your eyes and saying I am grateful for [fill in the blank].
This might feel odd because most of us spend a great deal of our time not being grateful. Tip the scales a bit and see what happens!
And a little yoga with breath wouldn’t hurt either
May we all be grateful right now today.
When I propose that in order to become more at peace around food and body image that a simple practice of movement and breath slowly followed by getting organized to eat in a way that leaves you feeling well as the main focus, the general reaction is, “It can’t be that simple!”
I was reading a book by a meditation master recently and it said that we should let the mind do it’s thing without interfering with it much – and I thought to myself “It can’t be that simple!”
Well, it is that simple. In a way. The actions that we need to take to find ourselves in a better place are simple. We tend to make them more complicated because doing this supports the story that we have designed and told ourselves for years. This supports our idea that the way are doing things is the (only) way things can work.
It is when we allow ourselves to see our obvious current way of thinking or acting that we can see what isn’t really working. From here, we can allow simple change to happen.
So let us all take a step back and say to ourselves, “Some of my old ways of doing things are not working out. I think I’ll try a new way today. I’ll move and breathe. I’ll walk through my day calmly with a schedule in hand, and I’ll eat in a way that seems useful.” It’s that simple.
And as we observe the fruit of this practice we may be inspired to do it again tomorrow.
May we all live in simple truth.