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 b