Everyone knows the drill: Eat less! Eat right! Exercise!
These oft-repeated dictates don’t work for most who struggle with weight year after year. We need another approach, and that’s the territory we are covering and discovering here. This is not another diet, or an exhortation to ‘shape up.’ It does not ask, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you just eat normally?” My normal ain’t your normal which is part of the problem of addiction. Who wants to hear, “Shape up!” when the hole inside is a great gaping, grasping needy child who is starving?
How to begin….Again?
Practice habits of loving self. Practice loving your body as much as you love the sugar bombs. It’s the tiny steps day after day that deter failure. Most addictive types reach for perfection, and when that fails, as perfection must, then everything falls apart. And you can eat and eat, or drink and drink until you cannot feel how badly you’ve failed. You can’t feel. Period.
Practice awareness, not judgment. Especially when you see the addictive foods reach out and grab you in the grocery aisle. If you have one success and walk by those amazing tiny sugared doughnuts, made with lard and white flour, just once, you’ve built a stronger muscle for the next time. It’s like showing up on the mat to do an impossible arm balance. You continue falling until you don’t.
If it’s sugar you crave, then be really sweet to yourself in other ways. Beating yourself up makes success harder. You’ve had enough people yelling at you. That doesn’t work. Treat yourself like a dog that barks too much. Every time you stop barking, give yourself a pat on the head, and maybe a dog-bone of sushi, or grilled sardines, or a few nuts. Don’t take all the fun out of life.
If you hate the way you look, focus on a beautiful aspect, your eyes, hair, nose, not the belly or thighs. Feel enchanted by a unique sense of Self. Allow that appreciation to grow love within. If you can’t stop judging immediately, then shift the focus to some small, beautiful quality.
Show up on the mat no matter what. Ask a really good friend to see that you do.
Do Suns instead of ice cream. Listen to music and dance your Yoga.
Eat mindfully, not ruefully.
Find creative ways to make water fabulous, then drink it, all of it, but don’t drink it with ice, or with your meals.
Hot water and honey, with lime or lemon will help melt fat.
Eat delicate snacks that act as a mild laxative, such as dried fruit.
“The Writing Diet, Write Yourself Right Size” by Julia Cameron
“The Beck Diet Solution: Train your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person” by Judith Beck
“Ayurveda, The Science of Self Healing” by Dr. Vasant Lad
“Prakruti, Your Ayurvedic Constitution” by Dr. Robert E. Svoboda
Basic Ayurvedic Tips for Weight Loss
Ayurvedically when we become more mindful about anything it’s a sadhana. A food sadhana is not only what we eat, but the love and attention we bring to food preparation, possibly to growing, and certainly buying it. This is a difficult practice for those who have spent many years ignoring all these aspect of nurturing self. It requires committed diligence on baby steps of love. When our food sadhana becomes a daily sacred ritual, we win, no matter what we look like. Usually, we look pretty fabulous.
Eat more slowly, either in silence or with sweet music, not the TV.
Drinking water with food, or immediately before or after is not good for the digestive fires. Cold drinks create excess mucus and reduce resistance.
A nap after eating increases kapha dosha.
Greed enhances kapha dosha.
Kalibata or Breath of Fire is a good pranayama (breath control) practice if you want to lose weight as it metabolizes fat. Learn this from a knowledgeable Yoga instructor.
Pranayama in general helps with cleansing, as it irrigates lungs, heart, and other organs, purifies the nadis which are pranic currents of energy. Learn pranayama with a good instructor because if done incorrectly it can cause imbalances.
Pay attention to the cyclical feeling of hunger. Digestive fires peak between 12:00 -1:00 and cool off in late afternoon. Ergo eat the big meal in the middle of the day and lighter at night. Remember, everything begins with the digestive process in Ayurvedic health. If we cannot correctly access the right nutrients our prana, or life force fades. Eat to the natural rhythm of the day, the rhythm of your dosha. Don’t let yourself become too hungry, it’s better to keep the digestive fires, or agni, burning.
Think: hotter spices when cooking, especially cumin, fennel, ginger, garam masala, coriander and cardamom, these support gastric fires for a higher metabolism.
Obesity is a kapha imbalance, link Kapha Dosha, as the cellular fire in the tissue is low, therefore excess calories are not burned but turned into adipose tissue. Kapha dosha can take a strong exercise regime, with demanding poses. Remember Kapha tends to be more out of balance during cold winter months. This is when the yen for pizza, pumpkin pies, warm apple cobblers, and French fries reaches an all time high. The imbalance can be enormous. The tipping point precarious. Rebuild a relationship with food before it consumes you.
A short fast once a week, even once a month is a wonderful restorative, and gives ones an enormous sense of power and confidence.
Poses for Weight Loss
Suns, and lots of them. Wake up the body, invigorate the breath first thing.
I don’t believe there is a pose that is not helpful in some form for becoming mindful, thin, powerful, and joyous. Do them all. Especially do the ones that make you feel wonderful. Grow that mindfulness through the Asanas.