Archive of ‘Weight Loss’ category
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,
Remember that Saturday Night Live character who said “it’s not how you feel, it’s how you look!” (Thanks Billy Crystal aka Fernando.)
I‘m changing the saying to “it’s not what you weigh, its how you feel and look!”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that beholder is us. Often what we really deeply want is to look better. Not for others, but for ourselves. We are the ones that look in the mirror and say “I look great” or “not so much”.
The funny thing is that it’s not what we see that really determines our judgement of ourselves. It’s how we feel. When we are strong, have eaten well, and put on our favorite clothes—we look better. The scale number does not matter at that moment. So don’t step on it! It’s that mental state that allows us to move forward toward our goals of peace and ideal weight. Now I know that this isn’t everyone’s experience, but it’s my experience and enough of my client’s experience, that I thought I’d share with the rest of you.
So what do we need to do to have more days of positive self judgement?
- Put extra effort into eating meals that you love AND that seem satisfying and healthy to YOU. Shop for ingredients you love and cook or assemble your perfect meal more often.
- Practice in a way that makes you feel more embodied, empowered, and alive. That may be releasing tension with deep relaxation or a movement practice that embodies you. (Our videos are all online here if you need a place to start or join our 9 month course, Transformation)
- Wear clothes that you love. I know this is a tall order but find something that you like (comfort is key) and buy multiples if you need to. Help yourself love yourself.
By doing one or all of these things, we pave a way for more positive thinking around and through our process. We get to live a more pleasant experience and have less of those horrible, “I hate myself” days. And remember: “You look marvelous.”
May we all enjoy this embodiment today,
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.
It’s not working!!!!
How often do we hear ourselves saying this. We get on that scale, or put on that old pair of pants and things are not better. We get frustrated, angry, sad, despondent or all of the above. Maybe we quit? Give up? What’s the point?
This last question is the only one that matters. What is the point? Are we trying to lose 30 pounds this week? Are we trying to eat as little as possible? What are we really trying to do here?
It’s important to regroup when we get frustrated. Numbers on the scale don’t always mean that we’re doing something wrong. Peaceful Weight Loss is the ongoing process of eating and LIVING in a way that brings us more mental contentment; shifting our body in beneficial ways.
We get frustrated when we are not losing weight even when we are not actually at a point where we are making changes that would facilitate weight loss. It’s important to recognize this and shift into a mental space where we are calm, centered, and most importantly clear.
This clarity often comes from practice. Asana with breath, yoga nidra, breathing, meditation. These practices are designed to shift us into a state that is more balanced. We can then ask ourselves “what is the point today?” What do we need to do this day that will bring us more peace and put us on a path to being less heavy?
If you are in our 9 month course then the answer will be to work on this month’s coursework. If you are dieting then find useful, pleasant ways to be on that diet. Let’s not let our frustration mind derail us from the contentment and joy that is available right now as we read this. Take a breath and find your practice.
May we all be happy,
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.
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,
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,