Yoga For Weight Loss. Why Does It Work?

When most people think of losing weight they think of hitting the gym. Sweating a lot and watching how many calories are burning on their favorite (or least favorite machine). When they think of yoga they imagine slow movement – a glorious warrior 2 pose and inner peace. So why would yoga work well for weight loss? If you look at how many calories burn from yoga, it’s downright unimpressive.

For years we here at Peaceful Weight Loss we have been teaching slow, simple yoga practices to help with the weight loss process. It is an integral part of our overall weight loss plan. In fact, it is so much more important than hitting the gym that we favor it above all other forms of movement. Here’s why.

It Gets Stress Out Of The Body
Yoga practice done properly changes our nervous system response. This leaves us less stressed. Stress hormones are a key problem in weight reduction. Put simply – stress hormones = weight retention. Yoga is a great way to work with this.

Yoga Changes Our Mental State
Much overeating and binge eating can be attributed to anxiety, depression, or even big mental highs. Yoga practice helps us maintain a strong grounded mental state that translates into less emotional eating.

Yoga Is Empowering
Yoga teaches us to practice in a way that expands our body’s possibilities while deeply accepting its’ limitations. Unlike exercise where it’s constantly asking us to do more, yoga is about contentment. This creates a deep peace within us. Peace is true power. Change begins with this acceptance.

This is not to say that their aren’t great reasons to hit the gym, but when considering a long term movement plan to drop or keep weight off—yoga is an excellent choice.

Click here to learn more and register for Transformation. Our 9 month course in Peaceful Weight Loss will guide you through—step by step.

May we all find contentment today,
Brandt

Grow Your Prana, Shrink Your Weight.

When Brandt and I first met, we had a conversation about prana (life force, chi) and how it related to our individual weight loss success stories. I had been into expanding my prana via pranayama, asana, bij chanting, and chakra visualization. We discussed the importance of building prana as a first step towards sustainable weight loss. We had collectively lost over 150 pounds.

Yogis for thousands of years have been studying how to build their prana body. Or not lose prana/energy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an ancient yogic text, talks about prana. It offers us the idea that when our pranic body is balanced, our breath is natural and relaxes. Pranic balance enables us to “see” or feel the deeper aspects of ourselves and allows us to focus on them. So why is this important and how does it relate to weight loss? Furthermore, how do we practice to get these results?

In Peaceful Weight Loss terms, our “prana building” practice should leave us

  • focusing on something other than food and body frustrations (more of the time)
  • feeling relaxed and peaceful (more of the time)
  • remembering that there is something bigger than our body battle (more of the time)

Most of the time a daily, 20 minute (or more) practice that leaves us feeling calm and energized does the trick. Note, the calm and energized. We don’t have to push, in fact, we don’t want to deplete ourselves at all. This is not an exercise program. We are not forcing our bodies to work hard. We are putting our effort towards breathing and moving most days. (For guidance, check our online practices or join our 9 month course, Transformation)

As a result, the rest digest and heal part of the nervous system is being toned and activated every time we take a deep breath. This builds our energy, prana. There is now the possibility of feeling better (more of the time). It is from this place that we can make food and lifestyle changes that allow us to lose weight. (Note the paradigm shift away from “burning calories” aka losing energy…)

Brandt had this experience. I’ve had this experience. And we’ve seen so many people change and take pounds off through practicing pranayama and calm and energizing asana. As we gather our energy we breath more deeply and compulsions to overeat shrink. Some say that they feel more satisfied and content. Others speak to the clarity they gain and the side effects of this. Time and time again, energy goes up and the number on the scale goes down. It takes time, but sustainability is what we’re looking for, right?

So find a calm and energizing practice to build your prana and reap the rewards of a life with less stress and less weight.

Om Namah Shivaya,
Anna

Eating For Optimal Health And Weight

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,
Brandt

Weight Loss Extremes: On Again, Off Again Is Not Peaceful

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,
Anna

It’s Not What The Scale Says, It’s How You Look. A Peaceful Weight Loss Perspective.

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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,
Brandt

Season Change, Food Change

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.
Anna

Happy New Year!

We are so grateful for YOU! Being able to offer Peaceful Weight Loss is a dream for us. This work is helping so many and we are truly blessed that you are a part of it. If you have participated in Transformation, our online 9 month course, a BIG thank you! This community is growing stronger by the day and we are honored that you have all chosen this path to find a little more clarity and peace in your life. If you read our newsletters, have participated in our seminars, or simply observe our work from afar, we look forward to implementing new ways for us to stay connected so that we may all experience our fullest potential.

This year we will also be expanding the ways we can connect and serve our community. The first new offering is our free online event “Ending The Battle Within” January 12th. We look forward to offering more in the upcoming year including small group live sessions several times a month with Transformation and webinars for all. Let’s keep the conversation going about how we make peace with our bodies and food.no matter what that looks like for each of us.

Below is a 10 minute meditation for the new year. Enjoy a few moments of contemplation on how to best serve yourself in the months ahead…

May we all find clarity and intention this new year,
Brandt and Anna

Let’s Not Binge This New Years

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.
Brandt

Anticipating Weight Loss After The Holiday Madness

As the holidays approach we often find ourselves in anticipation mode. We ponder the difficult terrain ahead: holiday parties, food based gifts, new year’s, with sugar, flour, and alcohol everywhere. We can’t even go to the grocery store without a free sample of that creamy, cheesy, sugary thing being thrown in our face (by our own hand). It’s a free for all!

Since the holiday landscape consists so much of this, we look ahead — right past the holidays to the  a world of healthy eating, weight loss, and a less difficult environment. It’s called “a new year’s resolution”. This anticipation would be fine except our minds tend to take this as an opportunity to store up for the impending fast. We become bears eating as much as possible before the long winter ahead. Sound familiar? The problem is that we are not bears. We aren’t going to starve for the next 3 months. We are going to gain a few pounds and then go back to the regularly scheduled program.

So what to do? How about really looking at the holidays instead of avoiding them? How about seeing where and how we can practice during the month and being ok if and when we can’t. How about moving out of anticipation, fear, and agitation and into a place of looking forward to those 1 or 2 or 3 meals that allow us to enjoy what this season has to offer. If we do this our mind is happy to pass on the crummy office cookies. We are in the present knowing that we will not miss out on anything with no pending doom. We can remember that the new year is simply an opportunity to continue our work of evolving ourselves into the person we wish to be.

May we all be present this holiday season.
Brandt

5 Reasons Not To Worry About What You Eat On Thanksgiving

pumpkin pie

Let’s keep it simple this year with 5 reasons not to worry about what you eat on Thanksgiving.

  1. It causes you stress and stress causes you to gain weight and eat more.
  2. The chances of worrying about what you eat changing your eating behaviors is minimal.
  3. Thanksgiving is not the reason anyone is overweight.
  4. It might actually be one of the few times this year that overeating is a reasonable thing to do. (you are not alone)
  5. Giving yourself permission to just be yourself and eat in a way that is pleasurable, might make your day easier.

This Thanksgiving cut yourself some slack. Try to be in the present and enjoy the day. On Friday, return to whatever part of your process you’re working on. And you may find you never left it in the first place.

May this Thanksgiving bring joy and peace.
Brandt

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