Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three tips to fall asleep and stay asleep

Three tips to fall asleep and stay asleep with yoga breathing in bed in under two minutes!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When it seems like nothing is changing

Image compliments of Everyday Goddess on Pinterest
Currently, I'm manifesting:
- A 100 lb weight loss
- Self-employment as a Yoga Therapist
- Happiness (relief from depression)

Whew!  That's a lot to work toward!  For more on manifesting, go here: Abraham-Hicks

Sometimes it looks like nothing is happening.

I recently purchased a manifesting course from Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas.  So many wonderful things have come from learning with and from Denise.  Firstly, I learned the importance of decluttering as a first step in manifesting.  This makes a ton of sense!  You have to free up bandwidth for the new energy/stuff/habits to have room to grow.  So we have begun a house over-haul... cleaning out closets, rooms, setting up exercise equipment, and generally getting rid of things that don't "spark joy".  (Learn more about the Konmari method in this great video: Lavendaire on Youtube).

Part of decluttering, Denise Duffield-Thomas points out, is decluttering our emotions, beliefs, and relationships.  I am a huge believer in therapy repairing and healing relationships, and I'll leave that there without getting too personal.  She asks us to take part in an inner child meditation that had me bawling... as I brought smaller versions of myself into a room and gave them kindness and love.  I am now practicing offering love and care to many versions of myself.  I have pictures of myself at many ages and am working through some exercises in The Inner Child Workbook by Cathryn Taylor using these pictures of myself from when I was younger.

Also, from Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas's course, I have reconnected with the importance of affirmations said with feeling and gusto.  I've also learned some great affirmations from Sondra Ray's The Only Diet There Is.

- I deserve to maintain my ideal and perfect weight of 142 pounds.
- It's my time.  I'm ready for the next step.
- I am calm and peaceful.

So as I work all these bits and pieces, when I have time, and build trust and calmness within... what is changing?  So far, it's not my weight.  I haven't weighed in in a while but last I checked, though my clothes are fitting differently, and I'm eating differently, I'm not seeing what I'd like on the scale.  YET!!  Something so big is happening and changing and I feel and I trust it.

I do feel a greater sense of joy and happiness as I unlock this dam of inner love for myself.  As I love myself more, and turn more over to God (as I understand them - more on this later), I'm feeling spacious and peaceful.

I'm able to leave some food on my plate at every meal if I choose.  And, I'm halfway through recording many videos for my video course coming out at the end of the year.  I can't wait to help others, as I've helped myself.

So I hope you enjoy this resource-oriented post and can find something that resonates with you, and inspires you.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My fat told me it would make me famous

Image compliments of clipartpanda.com

In the book A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson, the second exercise is to write a letter to your fat, and to write a letter back.  It's called "Thin you, meet not thin you."  Here's an excerpt:
Any reaction to your not-thin self that is based on fear - judgment, attack, self-criticism, self-loathing - will only keep your excess weight in place.  If the miracle you are seeking is the removal of excess weight, then learning to love all aspects of yourself - even her - is your liberation.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, it is your learning to love Not-Thin You that will cause this aspect of yourself to disappear.  She didn't ask to be here; she isn't comfortable here; she was summoned up, and summoned up by you.  As you make her your ally rather than your enemy, she will disappear into the light of your true being.  She is quite literally a manifestation of a ghost, a mere twisted thought given form by your subconscious mind.  But before [the force of] love... all that is nothing.   ACIW p. 43
And two more freaking insane gems from this chapter/lesson:
Consciously, you feel like Thin You is the real you, while Not-Thin you is the imposter; but subconsciously, you feel like Not-Thin You is the real you, and Thin You is the imposter.    ACIW p. 46
And:
... [I]n keeping her out of your heart, youve kept her on your body.   ACIW p. 47
Just let those rip through your system for a moment.  (Pause).
OK, now to proceed!

I fulfilled the lesson, writing two letters.  The first, not surprisingly, had the message that it's getting hard to get around, I don't want to feel this way, and that the way the fat seems to keep adding on is one of my few experiences of true abundance.  (Interesting, that!)

The letter back was... we'll just say... pointed.

You NEED ME.  I have so much to give you that you have been unable to receive.  How can you let me in?  Daily breaks.  (Some notes about my yoga practice and teacher.)  I want massages and acupuncture and therapy.  I want a pre-meal embrace and ritual.  I want a break at 10:30 EVERY day.  Don't f*cking stuff me away with food anymore.  And if you're having a second drink (or, especially, a third, or a fourth), I'm being shut out.
A little later, this:
I WILL be heard I WILL be felt even if I have to drag you kicking and screaming I will be heard.
Whoa!  She's a strong and feisty one.
I will make you famous.  I am your gift to share with the world.  Use my programs and I'll start to shapeshift for you.

So that said, I'm starting work on an online yoga program for managing the nervous system.  Starting to shoot videos even at my current weight.  I'm hoping to launch something (fantastic) by the end of the year!

That said, it's getting on near 10:30 in the morning and this lady needs her break.  Try writing a letter to your Not-Thin self.  You might be surprised what you hear back!
 








Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Doing nothing helps me eat less


Being frazzled.  Feeling like you're moving in a million different directions.  Jaw wired shut with stress.  100 different things on the to-do list... and an antsy feeling in your gut.

Feeling this way is such a trigger for me!  If there is a candy dish around when I'm feeling this way, watch out.  That sweet melting piece of chocolate or sugar is a momentary sweetness to combat the sensation that I'm a cog in the wheel, who better get the job done, AND FAST, and doesn't deserve sweetness, respite, or relaxation until the (never-ending) task list is complete.

The other day, after speaking with my yoga therapy training mentor Mary Hilliker, we discussed my energy.  I had been so spread thin in service to others (clients, day job, and family) that I was feeling like a husk of myself.  I felt dry, from my lips to my heels.  I felt burnt out by the pace and demands I had put myself through.  And, I had gotten very sick from a cold.  All of this shows me that my Ojas is depleted.  Here's a little on OJAS from Joyful Belly:

Ojas is the poetic term used in Ayurveda for heartiness. If a person has a healthy skin & flesh, is resilient to disease and injury, and has "juiciness" Ayurveda says they have good ojas. Ojas is associated with mental stability and an earthy strength to endure. It nurturing presence is calming and grounding. It brings quality and peace of mind. It satisfies the flesh, bringing with it the confidence needed to protect the body, mind and spirit from burning desires. Ojas may be compared to a cement or glue that binds and contains the body, mind, and spirit into a functional whole.

Mary encouraged me to find a way to nourish myself, not just in my morning practice, but also by taking breaks during my work day.  I've instituted a little ritual at 10:30am every day that I'm in my office.  I stop what I'm doing, rest quietly in my body, and watch a calming video.  There are many wonderful pit stops on youtube for you to enjoy.

By giving myself this break, I'm acknowledging all of myself.  I am NOT just a cog in the wheel.  I am a human who takes up space and needs nourishment to feel balanced.  And balance is exactly what I'm searching for!

This break is not only for the super efficient me.  It's for the dilly-dallying, dreaming, intuitive me.  It's for the part of me that will turn to food when oppressed by excessive over-scheduling.  It's for the part of me that is so strong in its desire to protect me that it will add on layers of fat to protect me.

I'm peeling back the layers and taking off the armor with small nourishing breaks like these.  What do you do to protect your humanity?  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lean Habits 3: Eating Just Enough and the tipping point

Image compliments of a nice post at www.wendiblum.com
Last week I had an interesting discussion about habit 2-3 with some fellow Lean Habits devotees.  The discussion was about how difficult it is to stop eating when you've had "just enough."  We've played with fewer start times to eating before.  Now we're going to move up the finish line on those eating experiences.  It's quite an intelligent way to trim the amount of food going in.  And not without its ups and downs.

When you've worked to cut out snacking, and eat three meals a day, you can have the sense of relief when it's time to eat.  "Finally!  I get to eat!  Yes!!!!"  And when you're eating out of hunger, and you're not too used to feeling hunger, regular hunger can feel like ravenous hunger!


So when someone made the point that the eating itself is so enjoyable that we don't want it to stop... I recognized my truth in that.  I thought about the sense of sadness that came over me when I thought about stopping a little sooner (a few bites sooner).  The implication is that the pleasurable activity, which has been whittled down already, is going to get whittled down even further.

However, there is also sadness at being at a higher weight than I want to be, and frustration associated with the way my clothes are fitting, where I have to go to shop for clothing, and my ability to move and play with my 4 year old son.  So there are opportunities for "sadness trades" that I'd really like to make!

Can I associate the little bit of sadness I feel at not spooning out such a large portion of a delicious food (this is a pre-game way to eat just enough that's a brilliant strategy) with a possibly more happy experience in a changing room in a few months?  Just what would I give for a positive experience shopping for clothes?  How much suffering have I done in dressing rooms over the last 20 years?

These things were bouncing around in my head... and this weekend I had what might be the mother of all realizations.  As we tighten up the "loopholes" in our eating - grazing, and eating too often and too much - I finally felt a major shift this weekend.

For years, I was at the mercy of whatever food happened to pass in front of me.  If it was there, I was probably going to eat (and overeat) it.  So eating strategy was about "what am I going to say NO to and how hard will that be?"

This weekend, I saw food as three meals... made up of WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY YES TO because it will give me the most distinct pleasure, and satisfaction.  By tightening up the loopholes, I see a whole new way of being with food.  And somehow it did not seem based on deprivation.

While I may not be experiencing a tipping point yet... I think I see the tipping point taking shape.  And it's beautiful.


Monday, June 1, 2015

The "Treat" Mentality





Imagine this: You've kept up with your schedule, all week (barely).  You've just returned from spending your lunch break running errands, setting yourself up with all the things you needed before the weekend starts - groceries for the dinner you're hosting, bandaids for the first-aid kit, sunscreen for the trip to the beach and the kids' birthday party you're attending this weekend.  Thank goodness you already picked up that bubble-shooting gun and wrapped it last night before bed (while binge watching a few episodes of Frankie and Grace on Netflix... after you got the little one(s) to bed.

It's Friday!  TGIF!!!  You're rushing back to work to scarf down your lunch... and you see the sign at the bakery.  And you think to yourself...

Hell yes, I deserve a treat.

Thankfully, the bakery is there to lend you support (calories.)

When it comes to treats, like a daily latte, scone (I actually hate scones, but I hear some people like them), cookie, brownie, or insert your treat of choice, there is a good deal of scientific research and some fantastic books about rewiring these habit loops.  Check out Charles Duhigg's Book The Power of Habit or Christine Carter's free e-course Crack the Habit Code for more...

Identify your cue, routine, and reward... then rework the routine (toss out smoking a cigarette, add in taking a five minute walk with a friend).


However, the reworking of the habit or the routine around a craving is tricky.

One of the things this research does not encompass is the time factor.  In the above instance, the person needs to unwind, to take a break from the stresses of life.  So let's look at some things that might fill that routine out nicely:


  • A 60 minute yoga class
  • A nice hot bubble bath
  • A massage
  • A chat with a friend
  • A walk in nature
  • A sweaty exercise session
  • A 15 minute breath session followed by 15 minutes of silent meditation


What do all these things have in common?  They take WAY more time than eating a cookie.

In our rushing around culture... it is so hard to stop.  Food has taken the place of a candle-lit bath, a phone call with a friend, full of giggles (we text instead), or just sitting around, lazily thumbing through a magazine.

When was the last time you took time to nourish your do-nothing bank?  If you're working hard to manage your eating habits, take a (quick) moment to reflect on this.  And notice the advertising all around us urging us to soothe ourselves with food.  We're craving something different, something deeper.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Habit 2: Witnessing the Energy of Longing

Image compliments of flowersplanets.blogspot.com
Habit 2 in Georgie Fear's Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss: Mastering 4 Core Eating Behaviors to Stay Slim Forever is basically this:
"Commit to feeling steady hunger for 30 to 60 minutes before each meal."
Further in the chapter, we get more information in this choice quote:
"It may be helpful to remind yourself that hunger is not an emergency, and that feeling appropriately hungry for each meal is your assurance that you're eating just the right amount for fat loss."

STOP THE PRESSES!  YOU MEAN HUNGER IS NOT AN EMERGENCY???

I travel back, backwards in time, to my beloved babysitters' house.  I remember so clearly the summer days when the clock would trudge between 11am and noon, when lunch was served.  I can feel myself standing near the refrigerator, getting another drink.  Wondering when lunch will come, wondering what I'll get to eat.

My Dad, bless his heart, likes to say that my favorite food when I was a kid was cheerios with ketchup.  My guess is that, had I some different choices on the menu, that might not have been the case.  Now, with my minimal research into nutrition I know that I respond very well to protein, and lots of it, first thing in the morning.  It sets me up for an amazing day.  However, at this time, I was a child of the 80s, when the low fat diet was all the rage (but please, a few more servings of margerine soaked pasta over here, ok?)

So come 11am, I'm queasy with hunger, blood-sugar crashed, feeling unstable.  The word "hangry" hadn't been invented yet, and I was also a people pleaser and would never had lashed out at grown-ups.  I just felt gnawing hunger on a regular basis, and this developed into practiced anxiety and fear in my nervous system.  For more about stress and the autonomic nervous system, check out this post.

Deep fear and anxiety around hunger.  OK... so that's what we're dealing with here.  We're working to unwire about 35 years of reaction based on these early childhood memories.

THE ENERGY OF LONGING

For many of us who deal with compulsive food issues (both on the indulging and restricting side), we had family situations that were unsafe in some way.  Maybe a parent was unpredictable or frequently angry or abusive.  In these kind of situations, full emotional expression was not on the docket.  We spent so much of our time "reading the room" and trying to avoid angry outbursts that any emotional "bursts" (read: normal feelings) were dangerous.

This kind of wiring (also in the nervous system... fight or flight) is extremely tricky.  Many people develop compulsive behaviors to cope with strong feelings that arise, because feeling the feelings, expressing the feelings, in any way, is not safe.  

Feelings include - fear, anxiety, anger, happiness, joy, frustration, boredom, and more.  If a compulsive behavior helps you NOT FEEL the feelings to their full extent, you've somehow protected yourself from the scary consequences of feeling that feeling - like getting screamed at.

However, as a grown-up, I, at least, live in my own house, with my family, and have few people screaming at me.  In fact, I can't think of a single person in my day-to-day life who would treat me like that, including my parents, whom I both have developed loving relationships with.

But taking away my compulsive overeating, I have to feel my strong feelings.  I have to witness the energy of longing.  I have to feel the deeper hungers... for love, for understanding, for deep friendship, for fulfilling work, for some of us... for connection with the Divine (as you understand it). The Sufi poet Hafiz (or Hafez) always nails the quest for the Beloved Divine connection:

“Every child has known God,

Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only 4 words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me , come dance.” 
― Hāfez
How often do we experience that kind of joy?  For me, my daily grind offers me joy on a limited basis.  I'm working on it (especially seeing the joy of the mundane as the blessing it is)... but I think we all struggle with joy in this hustle-bustle consumer's paradise of modern day America.

HOW I LEARNED TO WORK WITH MY HUNGER

As an emotional eater for many years, I was scared when I saw this habit!  I decided to continue to eat 3-4 meals a day (habit 1) and just watch.  I decided to pare down a meal that I was having on a regular basis - my breakfast.

One of the key safety factors was having food on hand for lunch and knowing that I was truly safe in experimenting with my hunger.

For breakfast, I'd been having my Raw Meal Shake, a small low fat greek yogurt, and a swirl of coconut oil in the yogurt.  As I got curious about this habit, and felt ready to experiment with my hunger (that alone probably took a week), I decided to drop one thing at a time and see what happened.  Another factor to my success, strangely, was that I was nursing a sprained ankle and not working out at lunch, so I had extra time and bandwidth to dedicate to this experiment.

One day, I pared down the tablespoon of coconut oil in the yogurt.  Wow... I'm still not hungry till 1pm!

The next day, or maybe two days later, I took a HUGE RISK and didn't eat the yogurt.  This felt like a huge risk.  I paid close attention (but went on with my daily work as usual).  I was shocked that I didn't really feel anything in my stomach till after noon.

Wait, you've gotta be kidding me.  This 300 cal nutrient rich shake is lasting me till 12:30 or so before I feel true sensation in my stomach?  Holy moly.  This shows me how much I've been eating on a regular basis beyond my true caloric needs.

You see letting hunger be a guide in learning what's right for your EXACT METABOLISM right now is a huge revalation!  Hunger goes from being the enemy to being the friend that's going to get me exactly what I've deeply longed for - which is a body that is not overweight and can function in the world, chase after my kid, do all the yoga I like, and not experience joint damage.

My grown-up hunger, after a shake that supplies 34 g protein, a 40% recommended daily fiber intake, and is pure veggie?!?!  It's creepy crawly stomach sensation hunger.  It is not blood sugar crashing hangry hunger.

I'd also like to add that I do not think everyone should run out and buy this shake.  This happens to work for my lifestyle because I have to be at work early and have a kid and I just can't get my yoga done in the am and get to work on time while eating eggs and spinach, which is my favorite breakfast of all time (especially if there's a slice of bacon thrown in there....)

So once I had a breakfast amount that seemed to satisfy me for a good few hours (shake at 8:30 or 9am)  but left me feeling antsy and wanting to eat between 12-1, I wrapped up the experiment.  The last thing I do to burn some "hungry" minutes, since the experiment is over.... is that I often have a lunch appointment of some kind.  Therapy, acupuncture, the gym, a pilates class...  I'm always back at my desk and ready to DIG IN to lunch at 1pm.  I'm never distracted by hunger during these activities but am always aware of how I am really ready to eat at 1.  So I do NOT advise sitting around wallowing in hunger once you've got a sense of it.  There's no need to torture yourself!

Stay tuned on what IS torture for me, which is cooking dinner without eating dinner before it hits the table!  Now that is still torture for me.

I think I'll bring this to a close... congratulations, reader, for making it this far.

Open up to witnessing the longing!  Join me... let me know how your practice is going in the comments, and please share.