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.
It’s dark! I’m writing this in New England and it feels like the middle of the night. It’s 9pm.
The shortest day has come and gone and now we can look forward to more light. Each day we get a few more minutes and just when we think we can’t take the cold and the dark anymore, it will be Spring. Of course we know this – it happens every year – but it still feels like winter is a permanent state. And every year during this time, I can’t really remember what summer is like.
Our weight loss process is a bit like this. Every day we move around – plan meals – try to eat more whole foods – meditate – step on the scale – quit – re-up our commitment – go to yoga class – weigh ourselves again – wonder why we did that – eat a healthy breakfast. And in any given small time frame – a day, a week, a month even – it can seem pointless. We aren’t where we want to be. It’s cold and dark and frustrating.
Then, of course, we have the option of taking the larger view. In the shorter days of winter I try to take a walk even if its brief while the sun is up. I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. I enjoy the day and in exchange my body and mind are happier and healthier. I accept the present and things feel better.
As we plan and enjoy our meals, do our yoga practice and find the present, we notice that eating well and breathing are really fantastic experiences that feel great. And if we keep our awareness here we find it easier to sustain. Then we wake up and it’s spring again. There is so much less effort to do what is good for us because it’s coming naturally.
Yoga is the noticing of our natural bliss.
May you find your bliss this holiday season.
With deep love and respect for you and yours,
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.
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.