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,
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.
Here it is! New years again. A time for reckless abandon where we swear we will do things differently in the coming year so that we can eat whatever we want now.
What a perfect recipe for low self esteem. Waking up onJanuary 1st and saying to ourselves “I should not have done that”. “I really shouldn’t have eaten like that”. I’m going to humbly suggest that we look at this new year’s differently.
Let’s ask ourselves a question. What do we really want out of the new year’s holiday? Do we want to celebrate with friends? With family? Do we want to feel less alone in the world? Do we want to feel more alive? Do we want to skip it this year and go to bed early?
All of these are really legitimate ideas. There is probably a way for you to move towards any of these goals. Make dinner plans – go to a candlelight yoga class – go to church or temple – take a hot tub – invite someone over and watch a movie – go to the movies by ourselves – take a hike – you get the idea.
What we don’t need to do to move towards our goal is binge eat. It doesn’t take us anywhere. It doesn’t solve our problems, or connect us to the world around us. Wherever we are this new year’s eve, let us allow it to be pleasant. Whether that’s going out all night because it’s fun, curling up with a movie because it’s relaxing, or anything in between. We can eat what want but let’s not do that eating as celebration leading to despair thing this year.
That’s my plan—join me!
As always comments and intentions are welcomed. Share on our facebook page, or email me back!
May we all be held and happy this new year’s and in the coming year.