Archive of ‘All Newsletters’ category
My pants feel tight and uncomfortable. Are my pants tight? Or is my mind tight?
It happens all the time. We look for something to wear because, well, we need to dress ourselves. And then, poof! A fine mood turns into a bad/sad/angry/disappointed/frustrated/annoyed/wistful/collapsed mental state. It’s a cycle that so many of us struggle with. Our mood being determined by a pair of pants seems like a lot of control to give to an inanimate object, don’t you think?
So how do we combat this unrelenting roller coaster ride of feeling bad about ourselves based on something as simple as what pair of pants or top we wear?
Practice. We practice. I practice. When we get on the mat and breathe and move, even if only for a short time, we are more likely to hold onto our power – our center. We shift our physical and mental state with movement so that even if our body is exactly the same, and our pants are exactly the same size, our “feeling” of “fatness” or “wrongness” is lessened when clothes enter the picture. Because so much of how we feel about our body is a head game. One we can win.
I’m not saying that we can imagine ourselves dropping weight and it will happen, but we definitely feel better when we do a little breath and movement. Consider yoga practice part of the formula for more peace and well-being from this perspective. Mental weight loss is a much better place to live then the helpless “clothes crisis” of a mental state. Not to mention that it’s also a much easier place to begin making small changes if that’s what you want to happen.
I certainly couldn’t have lost weight or attempt to lose weight in pants that make me feel bad about myself. Isn’t that what spandex is for? Start with your breath, and the rest will follow. Including your pants.
May we all feel cozy and comfy on and in our bodies.
That’s a really good question—glad you asked. It’s probably the most important question we can ask ourselves in the Peaceful Weight Loss process. In the past, most of us have moved forward with “a program” whatever it was: a diet or an exercise system. At some point we hadn’t achieved our goals so we stopped. The real failure in this approach is the failure to ask ourselves the question is this working? The reason this might be a hard question to pose to ourselves is that we don’t have the metrics to assess if it’s true. What’s working? How would I know? How do I assess today, or this week, or this month if what I’m doing is a good idea?
In our approach we have some goals for our practice that aren’t directly tied to weight loss. Feeling more centered, calm, energized, clear, aware. These are some of the reasons we practice. We know our yoga practice is useful if it helps us experience these states more frequently. If we aren’t experiencing some shifts from our practice, we modify so that we do. A different yoga practice or switching/adding meditation, maybe a few days walking outside. We change our practice if it’s not working and then when it does we regularly check in to make sure it keeps working.
When our practice is going well in these ways, “working”, we can then make food choices that will move us toward the weight we need to be. In this, we are engaged in our own evolution. Always moving toward our goal of an ideal weight and a peaceful mind.
May we all find our practice today,
I thought I’d write something this month on supplements and their role in weight loss. As you may know, I don’t sell or recommend any supplements on our website or in workshops. This is for a few reasons.
1- Supplements don’t work in any way to change our habits or our relationship to food.
Some substances speed up metabolism. Some block fat absorption. Some make us feel a little less hungry. But none of them fundamentally help us with our main problem. Our relationship to food has been damaged and we need to heal that damage first if we are going to have long term success with our weight.
2- Supplements don’t usually have any science behind them.
If supplements work so well then why don’t the millions of people taking them lose weight? Ask yourself this question before buying. For most, the science is sketchy (at best). Even so, they still get promoted by doctors all of the time. Why?! Money. There is no supplement on the market today with solid scientific evidence behind it.
3- Any positive effect that supplements could have is mitigated by overeating.
In other words – any minor help we could get from supplements is cancelled out by overeating. When obese people drink green tea after meals, guess what happens? Nothing. When overeaters take Garcinia cambogia, guess what happens? Nothing. When someone suffering from bulimia takes green coffee extract, guess what happens? Nothing.
I say this because I want all of us to be reminded that there is a huge benefit to developing a practice that makes us happier, less stressed, and more energized. Not only will we meet our weight loss goals, but our day to day experience will improve dramatically.
We can’t get this in a pill. And if a pill does arrive that does all this, I will be the first in line.
Until then, may our practice bring us peace and stability.
Our mind’s obsession on the body. We are programed for it really. We are always evaluating ourselves and each other’s looks. It’s an evolutionary trait but it’s definitely annoying to put on a bathing suit and see every way in which we could look better. Our minds chide us for all of the dieting and working out that we didn’t do this year. Even if we did – it wasn’t enough. We don’t look the way we want to and it is not OK!!!!
So what do we do with this mind who is telling us that we have failed yet again? Do we tell ourselves we are beautiful? We can but secretly we still know we are displeased. Do we ignore our mind altogether and grab a bucket of fries and hit the beach? That probably won’t make us feel better either.
This is a job for some serious gratitude. Gratitude for everything we have that is good. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but what does it do well? Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we have friends or family that we love. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but it’s better than it was before. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we still get to enjoy being outside in the summer by the waves in this bathing suit. The list goes on.
The practice of gratitude is the antidote to the upset judgmental mind. You can take this on at any time by closing your eyes and saying I am grateful for [fill in the blank].
This might feel odd because most of us spend a great deal of our time not being grateful. Tip the scales a bit and see what happens!
And a little yoga with breath wouldn’t hurt either 🙂
May we all be grateful right now today.
Every year I get the opportunity to teach at the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham County, Virginia. As I sit in the airport to return home I’m amazed at how different I feel. It’s like my entire system has been reset to a more peaceful state. I’m particularly struck by how my food cravings have left me. I kinda feel just fine.
Then the question I ask myself is what was different there from my everyday life? I was working so that was still happening – I had places to be at certain times – I had an amazing view, but truth be told, I live in a picturesque New England town on a river. I didn’t have the kids with me – but I felt this way before I had children.
So what’s the difference? It’s the regulation – it’s the schedule – and it’s the massive release of stress that happens when it’s crystal clear that you are in the right place at the right time. I think for most of us even when we are on track and doing what we are supposed to be doing we often have a sneaking suspicion we are missing something. So we check our messages “just in case” we might miss something. This constant state of high alert is exhausting and stressful.
What do we do when we are tired and stressed? You can answer this question for yourself. For most of us we try to get out of it with food. Which of course doesn’t work.
So when I get home I’m going to make sure that I am properly scheduled and then I’m going to enjoy the tiny minute areas of downtime in between all of those plans. I invite you to join me.
May we all find breath and peace today,
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.
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,
First a big Thank You! 2014 was a really amazing year here at Peaceful Weight Loss. Our 9 month course Transformation was launched, adding a new avenue for this work to be accessed by people in their homes. I am personally grateful for all of you who have participated and provided us with feedback to make this offering a truly beneficial experience for everyone. I look forward to implementing new ways for us to stay connected and transform so that we experience our fullest potential.
Like so many people at this time of year, I am thinking about what I would like to happen in the year to come. Much of these thoughts are based in my mundane worldly concerns – work, family, cleaning my kitchen more, etc… but I always try to reserve a space in my thoughts for self betterment. How do I want to expand myself this year so that I am more connected to my better self? And – how can I implement this? The latter is as important as the first. Do I need to set aside time? Do I need some set of information or instruction? Do I need to seek help outside myself to grow and shift?
These questions can seem overwhelming when examined in the middle of what might seem like the chaos of our daily life. This year let’s take the time to sit quietly with these questions. Let’s spend a few moments together contemplating how we can best serve ourselves. I’ve included a short contemplation below – may it help each of us find clarity and intention.
Thank you always for supporting this work and please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re here for you.
With great respect and love,
Here it is again! The annual tradition of gathering together and overeating. This is a non-religious holiday so it effects more people than any other here in the U.S. In my practice I see no other subject as difficult as the holidays. Thanksgiving in particular.
So let’s just say that our collective goal is not to gain weight over the holidays. Losing weight may be a bit trickier but it would be nice if Thanksgiving comes and goes and we are left in the same place physically. What would need to happen to make this so? For starters we probably need to stay in our bodies, grounded and sane-ish for the whole Thanksgiving weekend. It will probably help if we don’t abandon any useful habits we’ve been working on. So, if we’ve been practicing asana or conscious breathing in the morning, we may want to continue that. It may also help to sit back and realize that it’s just a meal, or a series of meals, and we have the ability to make choices at each one.
I get it – with all of the family and food triggers swirling around us sometimes it seems like we are being attacked!
This is why working on our practice is so essential to losing weight. If we develop the ability to stay present then each meal is simply a series of choices. If we don’t practice, each meal is an overwhelming flood of food triggers.
This Thanksgiving let’s all stay present. Let’s commit to our practice whether it is yoga in the morning, a few deep breaths at every meal, or a solitary walk in the afternoon. Let’s use the clarity and presence that will move us toward an enlightened Thanksgiving that we can fully enjoy.
May we all find clarity, peace, and presence today.
With great respect and love,
Thinking about what to eat all of the time is a constant grind. Ugh! Many of us want out. If we didn’t have to deal with the food thing life would seemingly be easier. Trying to lose weight makes this matter even worse. It often feels like a small misstep or two can derail the entire process and and all of our hard work is lost.
This perception is both true and false all at the same time. On one hand, if this is our experience we must acknowledge it. It’s not good to pretend that the challenges around food don’t exist. On the other hand, we have many stories we tell ourselves about our bodies, food and weight loss. When our thinking is present centered we simply say, “what’s for lunch?” and when we are stuck in our storyline we say, “I have to eat well for lunch”, or “I need to figure out what to eat that’s healthy, even though I want something else”, or “I can never just eat what I want”.
If this sounds familiar, I humbly suggest finding a practice that allows you to stay more present in your thinking. Whether it’s doing yoga in the morning, finding some calming breaths several times a day, walking your dog after work or all of these things. It is important that we find practices that allow us to not get caught up in stories that ruin our experience. By staying present we see what is right before us with our relationship to food and simply act from that place, rather than the big stories of what has been or what is yet to be.
May we all find presence today,