Archive of ‘2015’ category

Genes and Weight Loss

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.

Brandt

Radicalize Your Thinking

This month I’ve been contemplating what it truly means to change your thinking around losing weight. Most big changes require huge shifts in how we think about a problem. In this case, one might think that we have to think very differently around food. Maybe putting our mental foot down and saying no more to fattening foods. Maybe sticking to our diet no matter what. Maybe we need to exercise a lot more – or stop going out for dinner. Maybe it’s all of these things and more? Pretty overwhelming.

 But what if the huge shift is how we think about the problem itself? What if it’s possible to move through the world in a way where this ever looming issue isn’t at the forefront of our mind? What if the huge shift is more of a realization – the realization that we don’t have this massive, insurmountable issue? What if we wake up tomorrow with the knowledge that we, ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, have every resource needed to change our relationship with food and have our bodies be in a healthy state?

We have this possibility. By grounding ourselves in the present, we open ourselves up to this realization. That’s why we practice. We practice to slowly but surely realize that it will be ok. Each day that we practice our minds shift and our possibly lifelong, torturous relationship with food and body shifts with it. Each practice is a step towards a radical mind shift. Can you image that? Can we allow this? Of course we can. We are not a problem.
This is the radical shift: we are the solution.

A little mind food for you this month. May we all experience our freedom today.

With great respect and love,
Brandt

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