I’m often asked, “How do I stop eating sweets?” I would answer: Don’t stop. Instead, find a more peaceful expression of your desires.
Often we crave specific sweets. These cravings may come from life-long food habits. They may arise from many natural desires—the need for sweet foods, the need for more energy (or more sleep), the need to suppress feelings that are too strong to handle. It is important to calm the mind in these situations so that we can see clearly what our true need is, and address it in a sattvic (peaceful) way.
When a strong craving arises, try this:
– Observe your breathing—allow calm to enter.
– Ask yourself—what do I really want? Be specific—if you want chocolate cake, is it sweetness, cake, chocolate, more energy (or sleep) that you truly desire?
– Then ask, what is the best way to satisfy this craving? Cake, a sweet tea, a small piece of dark chocolate, a nap, a walk?
I would also suggest bringing balanced, integrated sweet flavors into your meals. Adding the sweetness of whole foods to your plate is a great way to acknowledge your sweet tooth. Sweet potatoes or roasted fruit are fine sweet additions.
Another healthy way to go would be to make a substantial, nutritious, and sweet dessert that is part of your meal. If your dessert is made from real foods, it is perfectly reasonable to have it be half your meal (see this recipe for banana chocolate pudding, for example).
I like to think of the gentle and sweet feeling these foods give to me and bring that feeling into my asana practice. Bringing a light, gentle, positive feel to your morning practice will certainly improve it. We may also find the pull of non-beneficial sweets not quite as strong.
Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga
I have learned to really take care of me and do things to better myself. I am no longer doing it for anyone else; I am now doing it for me. I don’t feel so stuck anymore, which is a totally euphoric feeling. Thank you for opening my eyes and helping me to see the person that I really am, thank you for showing me a healthier lifestyle for my mind, body and soul.
— P.C., client
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Peaceful Weight Loss in February
Timing is everything. So when is the best time to shift our lifestyle? And should external factors influence our decision? Of course they should. Schedule, weather, work, family … all these things and more come in to play when making big changes in your life. To fight against the current, so to speak, only makes us more stressed.
I’m writing this newsletter in New York during a blizzard. It is cold—my wife feels like baking—I’m going to be inside all day. Is this the best time to start a raw foods diet? Is it a good time to start a cleanse? Of course not.
If the weather is cold where you are, and you are just starting to investigate new ways to find a good weight for yourself, I would do the following:
* Work on food practice that coincides with the season. Winter is a time to eat a bit more, and to eat heavier food. Clearly identifying foods that satiate you keep you warm without bogging you down is a great idea.
* Focus on buying, cooking and eating foods of the season. Sweet potatoes and winter squashes are delicious and perfect for the weather.
* Unstick yourself from food patterns that don’t serve you during the season. You may love yogurt and fruit for breakfast, but at leasty entertain the possibility that a hot ceral might be better for you these months.
* Asana practice, being an indoor activity (usually), is particularly useful during this time for keeping your mood up and getting enough exercise. Most of us walk less in wintertime.
* Winter is a natural time to get more sleep—slow down; be more ambitious as the weather gets warmer.
Why? Surrendering to nature at this time will lessen our stress levels and allow us to function more smoothly. Weight loss, like the seasons, is about change. Change comes not from force, but from allowing things to happen.
Allow yourself to be appropriate for this season and you will be rewarded with a body that is willing to change appropriately also.