Posts Tagged ‘eating’

Personal Peace

OK. Here is the deal when you eat too much in one day.

It doesn’t really matter!

The event that causes the most pain among my clients is eating too much. There is so much guilt and recrimination. It’s horrible. But the truth is – in terms of body composition – it doesn’t matter that much. Of course if we overeat day after day we are not going to love the results. But in the short term, it is pretty insignificant.

Realizing this, in a nutshell, is how I personally found much of my peace. After years of overeating and then hating myself for it, I was free! This simple truth is really what I needed to get deep into my system. One binge – one overstep – even one “bad” vacation didn’t really matter. It’s what I did the next day, week, and month that mattered. I proved this to myself. I’m still proving it by occasionally eating in ways that aren’t a great idea and then finding my balance again.

I believe this is what we all desire. The ability to discriminate between a slip and a major fall down the stairs, so to speak. For many of us these two things can feel the same. But they don’t have to. If we continually practice so that our mind is calm and discriminating we can see reality and can accept our perceived faults more easily. We can change larger patterns that don’t serve us AND accept our normal human deviations.

I know this to be true because I have experienced it. I have also seen hundreds of others experience it as well.

So today – Practice and find yourself closer to this place of personal peace.

May we all realize our true potential,

Om Shanti ~ Om Peace


Here and Now

“Every morning you are born again – all that matters is what you do today.”

Each day we have the opportunity to be present and treat ourselves with the respect and love we deserve. The ways in which we feel we have failed ourselves in the past are not the issue. All we need to do is find ourselves in the present today. It is from here that healing begins.

Even though it seems overwhelming – our task today is simple: Find ourselves in the present. Feel our feet on the ground. Feel our breathe enter and leave our body. When we do this our choices are simpler and more obvious. What to eat becomes easier because it is in service of being more present. Additionally, it is rare that overeating or eating highly processed foods help us stay present.

Of course sometimes we want to leave the present and escape the here and now. But with a little practice we do this as a choice not a reaction. There is a huge difference between “checking out” for a couple of hours to watch a movie and standing in front of the open cabinet eating a box of cookies. As we practice finding our breath and body right now – our choices become more and more beneficial. I have experienced and seen this time and time again.

So let’s do an experiment. Ground yourself into the present 10 times today. Notice how it affects your ability to choose.

May we all find our breath today.


Getting To The Bottom Of Your Emotions

Getting to the Bottom of your emotions. Did the title get your attention? I thought it might. And the answer is: We can’t. Well, not when it comes to eating anyway

Sure, we all know that we tend to eat more poorly when we are experiencing strong emotional states. And it’s only logical to figure that if we can just understand these states then we will be able to do something about them. What follows is that we will be less volatile and voila!! No more binging or emotional eating.

The thing is – it doesn’t usually work that way. Food behaviors are deep. I mean really deeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Possibly starting in early childhood or even in utero. That’s why hundreds of clients have shared with me that they understand themselves but their behaviors aren’t changing.

Now I’m not saying that self awareness isn’t important as a piece of our healing puzzle. But it is only a piece. Usually we have to engage ourselves on many levels in order to change behaviors that are wired in this way. This is why yoga is so useful. There are different aspects of the mind and body that have to be engaged to rewire ourselves. When we simply try to use psychology to solve our problem(s) we are only working with a piece of the puzzle.

Most importantly – there is no “bottom” of our emotional states like there is a bottom of a pint of ice cream or popcorn bucket. We can generate endless amounts of emotional content. Once we realize this, we can be free to look at our total experience to balance ourselves.

So let go of the self loathing thoughts around why you can’t stop eating when you’re stressed. Instead, become aware at what is going on and use your energy to balance your entire system. This will always lead you to a better place. Peace is our birthright.

As always, please find me if you need any help starting or continuing this process.

May we all find peace today.

With great love and respect,



How many times have we eaten too much and regretted it later? When I think about it, I realize that it happens all the time. I ate too much at the barbeque, I should not have eaten that ice cream at night, why do I keep reaching for those nuts? Etc…

We all have these thoughts. What’s interesting is that often when we take a breath and really analyze how much we’ve eaten for the day, the things that we beat ourselves up over are not always our largest food intake. The judge living in our mind seems to be slightly (or not so slightly) arbitrary and possibly not based in reality. Herein lies the problem: We draw negative attention and feelings to eating behaviors that are not so bad and miss the opportunity to make different choices around the more difficult behaviors.

One exercise that I recommend is this – If you are feeling badly about your food choices write down what you’ve eaten. Then sit quietly and find a few minutes of calm, deepened breathing. Once your mind is settled, take a look at what you wrote down. Is it as bad as you thought? Were those food choices so awful that they caused irreparable damage? Can you imagine making a small adjustment that would make the outcome easier to take? Either realize that the situation isn’t as bad as you thought, or gently walk yourself through the easiest way it could be different. Then find several more deep breaths and allow the regret and judgement to release. Let go of the fear and self loathing and allow yourself to expand and learn.

We are never as bad as our minds believe we are. Reality is our ally. The breath will always lead us towards the here and now.

May we all find our breath today,


Shifting With The Seasons

People often talk about eating less in the summer. “It’s so easy. I’m just not as hungry when it’s warm out.” I hear this at the table next to me while eating lunch. My experience is actually the opposite. I’m really into eating in the summer. Ice cream, barbeques, longer days and night eating, fried food at the beach – all are appealing right now. Summer = Fun and Fun = Food!! It can be really easy to get caught in the never ending array of not-so-beneficial eating options and end up several pounds heavier at the end end of the summer.

Is this normal? Sure it is. As we know, much of the time we aren’t eating because we are hungry. We eat for many reasons and hunger is only one of them. We also eat for enjoyment, to stay awake, to repress emotions, or out of habit. When our outer circumstances change (like the weather) we sometimes lose our way and revert into old (or “bad”) habits.

If we pay close attention, we might see our cravings and desires for what they are and make better choices – a small soft serve at the beach, not skipping meals because the kids are out of school or our schedule has changed, going to bed because we are exhausted even though it’s still light out.

So, how do we keep our focus? You guessed it – staying with our yoga practice! The practice of finding our center on a daily basis remains central even when the seasons change. Then we can make choices to eat in ways that are compatible with our well-being and happiness. And what I see time and time again is that you don’t have to give up your soft serve to be happy and healthy. Maybe just your second or third one. grin

As always please send your comments and questions.

Enjoy your summer,


But I Like It!

At some point in our weight loss journey it will be become clear that certain foods are probably not the best idea. It will become obvious because they leave us feeling tired, or we can’t stop eating them, or the reality of the nutritional benefits of our snickers bar become too much to take.

At the same time we won’t want to let them go. When we ask ourselves why we often hear, “Because I like it!!!”. But what does that really mean? What are our reasons and thoughts?

Do we like the taste – the way it makes us feel? – The temporary release from suffering it represents? Maybe we like the stop at the store itself to get it? Or maybe we just don’t like the idea of giving things up?

The reality is that it is probably a mix of things that we mean when we say that we like something. And they are all true in some way but we don’t have to attach ourselves to all of these reasons/thoughts. If the time is right to let something go we will be able to hone in on the thought that is most useful to us and see the others for what they are. We will find spaciousness around the tangled web of “I like it” and become aware of all of the little pieces that make up that statement. With this clarity we are are able to choose to give something up – or decide that it’s not the time. Our practice supports this awareness – part of our practice is the knowledge that we change when it is possible to change and when it isn’t possible, we keep finding our practice until it is.

Enjoy your practice,


Everything Is “Normal”

It’s common for us to feel like our disliked food behaviors are abnormal. How could we not? We look around and see everyone else eating “normally” while judging our own excesses and strange habits. With this judgement comes mental chatter and at times we might hate ourselves for “being” this way.

Here is the newsflash. There is no normal. And more importantly – many, many, many people have difficult thoughts around food no matter how they present on the outside. The woman in a size 6 next to you at the grocery store might have spent an hour debating over baked or fried chips. The guy behind you might be eating half of his groceries in the car on the way home.

So don’t worry about them – think about your own experience and don’t worry about the endless mental chatter about food. Just watch your behavior. You are normal. If you’d like to change behaviors that don’t serve you then you are free to do so. But let’s not get confused and think that in order to be normal, the endless annoying thoughts must stop. They may never stop. But here’s the catch. We have the ability to de-stress (a bit) so that we can clear just enough mental space necessary to not have all of those thoughts guide our actions.

So this month our mantra is “I am normal”.

Then we see if we can make some space in our normal mind with practice so that choice comes easily.

Loka Samasta Sukino Bavantu,

(May all beings be happy and free)


Bring On The Light!

I live in the northeast and I’m happy to report that the days are finally getting a little bit longer. That said, even this mild winter is a long one. Every night I find myself wanting to curl up on the couch and eat warm, bready things. It turns out that this is normal because of our wiring – probably to keep us alive all winter long back when we were living outside. So don’t blame yourself or your “lack of willpower” for wanting to eat and sleep more. We do however have to look at our rhythms if we are trying not to overeat every day.

Here are some suggestions for where to put your effort:

Get up with the sun! Having more sunlight in your life will improve mood and set your natural rhythms to work correctly.

Practice in the morning. Asana, breath connection, prayer, meditation, music listening. Whatever starts your day in a centered, positive way will help clear your mind of the extra stress that the winter doldrums can create.

Go outside. Even if it’s an extra 3 minutes outside in front of your home or office.

Go to bed earlier. Give into being more tired and stop trying to keep yourself awake with food.

Drink more water. Especially if you spend all day inside dry, heated environments.

Practice smiling (even if you feel unhappy). It turns out that the act of smiling dumps happy chemicals into the brain.

Try some or all of these suggestions. Anything that you can do to promote a sense of well being will likely translate into less intense food cravings. Using your energy to add simple positive acts to your daily rhythm is your best bet for managing the more difficult eating behaviors.

May we all find light this month,


You Don’t Have To Be Someone Else

We eat with other people.
We watch other people eat.
We read about what other people eat.
We talk to other people about food.
We feed other people.
And they feed us.

That’s a lot of input on a subject that gives us a bit of trouble. We live in a culture that has so many food influences – so many ways of eating – and so many eating disordered people – how are we to decide what information to listen to? When we are in a difficult place with our own eating we are often more likely to listen to our partner, friends, parents. It all sounds so reasonable – it’s working for them, right? Maybe I should try that?

So what do we need to remember in order to navigate the world of eating influences successfully? The most important thing is that we don’t have to be anyone but ourselves. Our personal path has many components and how we eat is just one of them. As we look at the paths of others, we can draw much inspiration. We can get new ideas and try them out for ourselves to see if they apply to us. But in the end it’s our own combination of food, movement, perspective, and rest that will lead us towards peace on all levels.

So next time someone offers you advice on weight loss, make sure to take it in as their personal story. Let it inspire you to go deeper on your own path. In this way we all benefit from each other’s experience, without confusing it with our own.

May we all find inspiration today.


To Carb or not to Carb?

There are endless opinions on carbohydrate intake and weight. In many studies, people who eat less carbs have lost weight. Of course, if we look at many of the participants in these studies one or two years later, the weight is back on (and then some).

So what can we reasonably conclude? Pretty much nothing. The studies have little meaning because participants rarely keep eating the same way. No system or diet is useful if it doesn’t help you maintain habits that make you feel better and have more energy.

So when I’m asked the carb question I usually ask my clients a few things:

What kind of carbs are we talking about?
White flour versus whole wheat flour?
White or brown rice?
French fries?

Which of these foods leave you feeling clear-headed and energized when you eat them?
Which leave you dull and lethargic?

When do you eat these foods and what effect does timing have on their effects?

Can you experiment and come up with a way to eat certain carbohydrate-heavy foods that works really well for you?

For many people, eating less carbs than they are currently eating does help lift energy levels. Sometimes this takes the form of eating more whole carbohydrates (brown rice, whole wheat). Sometimes it eating smaller portions helps. Other times we discover certain foods just don’t work (bread and potatoes are common culprits). And sometimes it’s just timing (too many carbs for breakfast)

So ignore the press, begin listening to what your body is telling you, and the correct answers will come. Find a practice that relieves stress and builds body awareness to help you with this. And, as always, be gentle with yourself

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