I struggled with weight, body image and energy since I was very young. I remember being self-conscious about my belly when I was 2 or 3 years old. My mother and older sisters were dieting consistently and obsessed with their weight all of my life.
As a result, I followed directly in their footsteps. Obsessing and dieting did not mean that any of us were thin or even a healthy weight. All of us experienced fluctuations with our weight, losing and gaining, losing and gaining. We would try the latest fad diets, meal replacements, and fasts only to gain the weight back.
In my early twenties I received my BS in Human Nutrition and in Culinary Arts, despite the knowledge of what to eat and how to cook it, I was still struggling with keeping a consistent healthy weight.
I had been practicing yoga for several years and when I started to take the principals of compassion, gratitude and body awareness off the mat and into my daily life that is when long-term results were achieved.
It is easy to diet and lose weight but making lifestyle changes that result in long-term success can be scary and overwhelming. I took notice of my own resistance to change first, meditating on where the resistance was originating, breathing through the resistance and over time letting that resistance go.
Then I started practicing self-love and gratitude. Loving my body just as it is with all of its perfections and imperfections. Taking the time to give gratitude to my body perpetuated the self-love.
I send gratitude and thank you’s to my body
- for it’s strength and ability to perform the tasks that I ask of it
- for it’s ability to recover from illness
- for my breath
- for my perception, taking in my environment not only through my logical mind but through every nerve that runs through my body
- for it’s flexibility both physically and mentally
Compassion both for myself and others cultivated calm and caring. You eat for lots of reasons many of which are not due to physical hunger but a mental hunger to fill a void. Eating to fill a need for love, fulfillment or to overcome boredom is common and leads to excessive weight or health problems. As you practice compassion and mindfulness toward yourself, you start to recognize these times of eating to fill a void and choose differently.
Body Awareness: getting out of my head and reconnecting with my body made me eat completely differently. Instead of choosing foods based on an outsider’s recommendation or marketing schemes, I connected with my body and started to tune in and listen to what my body was asking for. When I fed it the foods it needed, the rewards were amazing: healthy weight without struggle, balanced energy, and feeling good inside and out.
Attention to body awareness also helped me to recognize feelings of physical hunger compared to emotional hunger. This attention heightened my ability to recognize when I was full and when I continued to eat for other reasons than feeding my body nutritious food.
Yogash chitta vritti nirodahah, is translated from Sanskrit to mean, yoga is the selective awareness of vrittis (thoughts, feelings, sensations) that you choose to focus on for your own purposes. By becoming aware of certain thoughts or feelings and focusing on them in particular, you are able to overcome negative thoughts or feelings. By focusing your attention on one area of at a time, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed by change.
Another way of saying this would be witness consciousness, as you witness your own consciousness and make choices more mindfully and in a state of deep presence, your way to a healthy happy life both physically and mentally will be revealed.
Yoga is an excellent practice for lifestyle and dietary changes. Take one hurdle at a time, become aware of it, focus on it, and calmly with gratitude and compassion begin to act on it.
If you have never practiced yoga before, start by taking a gentle yoga class or a beginners yoga series. Taking the time to learn the philosophy of yoga and the basic postures will make the practice less intimidating.
To learn a basic Sun Salutation flow, check out my YouTube video:
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Breathwork is another accessible practice that is a gateway to more physical postures.
Try Four Square breath:
- Inhale for a count of 4
- Hold your breath for a count of 4
- Exhale for a count of 4
- Hold your breath for a count of 4
- Repeat 4 times.
You did not get to the where you are overnight, change takes time, attention, and planning. For support through your lifestyle change, CONTACT US.