Posts Tagged ‘eating’
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.
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,
Eating for for optimal health is in many ways the same as eating for optimal weight. The way our bodies regulate our weight is really complex. A dance of hormones, gut bacteria, nutrient absorption, etc all happen every time we eat. And while the science of all this is still developing, one thing is clear. Whole natural foods are always superior than processed foods.
Our bodies of course can break down and use processed foods—we do it all the time. But these foods simply don’t work as well in our body. The end result is poorer health and more unneeded fat storage. There is no great way to get around this. There is, however, a great freedom within this. It can make it so much easier to choose what to eat! Whole foods, yes. Not whole foods (highly processed), no. Simple, right? In some ways.
We eat primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, eggs, and meat. Of course, there are many variations within this. If we start here as a baseline, our food life can be easier. And our bodies will reward us with better health.
May we all find wholeness today,
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.
Let’s keep it simple this year with 5 reasons not to worry about what you eat on Thanksgiving.
- It causes you stress and stress causes you to gain weight and eat more.
- The chances of worrying about what you eat changing your eating behaviors is minimal.
- Thanksgiving is not the reason anyone is overweight.
- It might actually be one of the few times this year that overeating is a reasonable thing to do. (you are not alone)
- Giving yourself permission to just be yourself and eat in a way that is pleasurable, might make your day easier.
This Thanksgiving cut yourself some slack. Try to be in the present and enjoy the day. On Friday, return to whatever part of your process you’re working on. And you may find you never left it in the first place.
May this Thanksgiving bring joy and peace.
I thought I’d write a little about genetics this month. It’s been on my mind lately since I recently realized that 1) I’m not getting younger and 2) I might not be from the best genetic stock (in terms of having a flat belly anyway). There’s been a lot of science around this subject, but really it boils down to this: Your genetics influence your weight – but do not dictate your future.
Genetics is not a static concept. Our genes do not exist in a vacuum blindly dictating our pant size. Genes express themselves differently depending on the input they get. So our diet, lifestyle, stress levels, thoughts, etc… all influence our genes and what they chose to do.
That said, some of us are able to store fat more easily. This might be a good thing if we are in a famine. But for most of us it doesn’t work out to our benefit. This is why our friend eats crap all day, never exercises, and never gains weight. They won the genetic lottery for the overabundant food society.
So where does this leave us? Should we just throw in the towel and curse the genetic gods?
We could, but since we’ve already done that we know it wont help our situation. What we can do is practice the most fundamental concept in Yoga – Ishvara Pranidhana – the practice of surrender. Or as I like to think of it – acceptance. Now what does this look like?
First, it means being ok with the genetic deck we’ve been dealt. There is always something that we can point to that is positive to remind us that our genes aren’t all bad. Maybe you can see? Or have great hair, pretty eyes, or really good blood pressure. There are so many ways the body performs well.
Next, we can accept our situation and practice in a way that is good for us and our genetic makeup. Maybe it’s really important to actively relax every day, or to get our heart rate up, or to take long walks, or to meditate in the morning. What is it that puts your entire system at ease?
We can also eat in the way that truly suits our own needs. A diet that promotes health and well-being at all levels. Timing our meals so we feel great and eating an amount that brings us more energy.
Finally, accepting that our body might not be our friend’s body and deeply understanding that health and happiness trump being skinny every time.
May we all find peace, joy, and acceptance within ourselves.
“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.
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.
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