This time of the year magazines and health websites are filled with advice on how to ‘stay trim during the holidays‘ or ‘how to lose belly fat during the party season‘. Basically, how not to let your body get you into trouble, think extra weight, bloating, hangover.
When your actions stem from a belief that your body is against you, you live your life with a constant internal battle relying on self control and willpower. Is it doable? – yes, sustainable? – it depends, pleasurable and fun? – hell no!
If you have a healthy relationship with food, know your body well, and trust its cues, you are not likely to gain any weight during the holidays. The fear of gaining weight stems from not trusting yourself.
What if instead of choosing to control your body, you chose to support it? If your actions around stressful times like holidays, travel, big occasions stemmed from a place of self-love and desire to help your body feel it’s best.
What if instead of fear of overrating at an event, you went in the room with an intention to enjoy food, company and feel good in your body? Learn how here.
If we look at the actual data healthy people usually don’t gain much weight, overweight people gain even more. While parties and occasional overrating can get you to weigh heavier the next morning, a healthy body comes back into its equilibrium with ease.
Someone who is in a trusting relationship with the body and mindful of its cues will feel less hungry after a party and as a result will allow the body to balance out.
People who have an unhealthy relationship with food and don’t know how to listen to the body will have a much harder time balancing the weight after the party season. If you need a clock to tell you when to eat, if you finish everything on the plate even when not hungry, if you can’t tell how hungry your body is but crave something to chew on all the time, you need to start looking into mastering the art of being with your body. You need to learn how to feel it.
If you are ready to take the leap and FEEL your body, join me in NYC this Wed for the mindful eating event. Learn more and register here.
For those of you who are not in NYC or can’t make it to the event, I will do doing a weekly Q&A, you can post questions on Spinach and Yoga facebook page and I will answer them every Monday. Here is the first one:
One Of My Favorite Practices
Every time I spent time at home I remember more things about my childhood. It feels like they just float up in my memory. It is always so fun to observe:)
This time when I visited my family in Russia I remembered an interesting practice that my dad taught me when I was a kid. It is a practice of internal smile.
I believe that each one of us has a relationship with the body and with each one of our organs. Unfortunately, these relationships come into our awareness usually in a negative way. If something hurts or bothers us, we start getting angry and upset at it. If the stomach hurts, we think ‘What now?’ If the head hurts ‘why does my body bring me so much pain and discomfort?!’ If your body is tired, you internal dialogue might be ‘why am I tired? Why can’t I have more energy? I don’t like my body!’
And so if goes. In women that I work with there is often a lot more negativity in the internal relationships than they are aware of.
As any relationship, your relationship with your body and each bodily organ needs to be based on love, understanding and compassion not incessant use, periodic abuse, and one-sided communication.
One if the easiest and pleasant ways to change the relationship is to create a positive communication. Here where the practice of internal smile comes in.
The practice is very simple:
Close your eyes and mentally imagine your body and each organ/part of the body. You can start from your toes and slide your attention all the way up to the brain. Pay particular attention to those organs/body part that you have a negative relationship with. When you imagine each organ, smile to it internally and if you feel like saying something to it, do so. It can be a simple ‘may you be well‘ or ‘I love you‘ or ‘thank you for keeping me alive and thriving‘
Do this practice every day while you are still in bed in the morning or when you enjoy your morning cup of tea. Say hello to your body as you would to your partner. With love, a happy smile, and gratitude that they are there for you:)
Don’t forget about Banyan Botanicals giveaway! You still have a week to participate here The winner will get $100 worth of ayurvedic gifts.
The winner will be chosen randomly on Oct 1st and will be announced on facebook and in the newsletter. Make sure that you subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss the news!
Fall is taking over. Stay intune with the seasons! Learn what to do this fall to stay balanced. Historically, almost all traditions encouraged a seasonal detox to help the body stay healthy, light, and clear. Fall is the best time to recalibrate for the next season, get intune with your body, and let go of the habits that are dragging your mood down and your weight up.
Join me 10/10 at 8:30PM ET for a FREE Webinar Smart Way to Detox http://smartdetox.launchrock.com/ I will share exactly what I do to help my body detox and feel vibrant and clear!
My interview with Sarah Jenks
Fall is finally here and I just can’t wait to pull out my sweaters and leather boots. What I love most about Fall is that it feels like the real start of the year, and a great time to make some resolutions. Resolutions. Just mentioning the word gives me a little anxiety. Feelings of pressure to lose weight, guilt over what we’ve eaten or how we’ve let ourselves go over the summer can seriously raise our blood pressure.
But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that making changes this fall, whether with our bodies, careers, lifestyle or relationships doesn’t have to be so stressful.
The last thing I want for you to is to get caught up in some insane diet that’s going to send you to crazy-town with no lasting results (maybe like last year?). If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that depriving and restricting ourselves to have the “perfect” body is no fun at all, and rarely works. Even when we want to be thin so badly, and we convince ourselves that suffering for just 4 weeks will be completely worth it, we last 3 days and then find ourselves halfway through a box of cookies, feeling embarrassed and like a total failure.
So instead of letting you make the same mistake you’ve made year after year, I wanted to bring in some back up to set you on a completely new path. One that’s fun, sane and actually works.
You may know my girlfriend Sarah Jenks, but if you don’t, she’s a badass when it comes to helping women create a life they love and a body they adore. Her approach is completely counterintuitive and probably not something you’ve tried before so I wanted to do an interview with her so you can get in on the awesomeness.
Q: Sarah, I’m so excited to jam with you about this tricky topic of “weight loss”. Diving right in, can you tell us a little about yourself and how your approach to weight loss is different?
A: I’m so excited to share this info with your ladies! Thanks so much for the opportunity. I work with women who’ve been struggling with their weight for years (and find that traditional diets don’t work for them) finally shed the extra weight by creating a fun, meaningful and romantic life. I find that most women have been taught that if they can “buckle down” and muster up enough willpower that they can lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. And though it’s hard to admit, a lot of us think that losing 20 or 30 pounds is what’s going finally make us feel beautiful, carefree and happy. We think that weighing less will make our lives better, I call this the “Weigh Less, Live More” mentality.
But so many of us use food to feel entertained, comfortable and loved. So when we’re waiting for our lives to begin when we’re thin, our lives aren’t super interesting, and we eat to cope with boredom, challenges, anxiety and loneliness.
So I teach my clients how to create a fun, meaningful and romantic life NOW, not 20 pounds from now. Not only do these women start having a blast and are finally seeing the goals they’ve had for years (like new businesses and meeting their soul mate) come true, but they no longer need food to keep them entertained. As a result, they naturally shed those extra pounds without counting calories or stepping foot on a treadmill. I call this the Live More, Weigh Less philosophy
Q: How did you get started as a coach?
A: When I was about 10 years old, the kids at school made fun of me for being fat, so I went to Weight Watchers to lose weight. Starting then I had this idea that losing weight would be the magic pill for happiness. So I was on and off diets almost every other week, but I could never stick to anything because I had no “willpower”.
By the time I was in my early 20’s my life felt like it was falling apart. I was in a job I hated, I could barely make rent every month, I was picking fights with my boyfriend, was embarrassed to be naked in front of him and spent most days medicating my misery with food and alcohol. I was starting to lose friends and came really close to being dumped by the man of my dreams.
One day, on the third day of my seven day juice cleanse I ate a whole bag of Dove Chocolate Promises while hiding in the supply closet at work. That’s when I realized that if the whole diet thing was gonna work, it would’ve happened by now. So I started looking for a new approach.
Very quickly I realized that I thought my life was terrible because I was fat, but the truth was that my life sucked because I was putting in no effort, and the misery was causing my nightly binges. So I started consciously having more fun, working on my relationship and shifting things at work. Pretty quickly my life did a 180. My man proposed, I got promoted at work, I made tons of new friends and enrolled in nutrition school. And the thirty extra pounds I was carrying around melted away. It was awesome.
I was so floored by this new way of doing things that I’ve created a movement around helping women understand and use this new approach to weight loss called Live More Weigh Less
Q: What’s the first step someone should take to start living more and weighing less?
A: First of all, it’s really important to have a plan or a roadmap for how to do this right. When we’ve spent our whole lives doing things one way, it’s easy to get caught up in the diet cycle and lose our way again. I’ve actually made a really cool video training that’s totally free that your ladies can check out. They can get instant access here. In the first video I lay a very simple but important step-by-step roadmap to creating an amazing life and body you adore.
The next thing you need to do is just have as much fun as possible, I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Dance wildly in your kitchen, call up a girlfriend and go for a walk, get a back massage, watch a funny movie, take off on an impromptu road trip, paint, sing and skip. When you’re having a blast, I guarantee you’ll stop overeating.
The third thing I’d recommend is finding a group of women who are on the same path. We’ve got so many incredible women participating in the video training, it’s a great place to connect with people, get inspiration and support.
Q: What do you say to someone who is dying to lose weight fast to just get it over with?
A: This is a toughy because I know how real that desire to be thin can feel, but the way I see it, you have a choice. You can spend your life trying to accomplish this goal of being thin by restricting and depriving yourself of food, which almost always results in more anxiety and depression than you’re already feeling, with little to no results at the end. Or you can put down your obsession, and start focusing your energy on what really matters like having fun, shifting things at work and working on your relationship. You’ll quickly see that life can be amazing, even if you don’t look like a swimsuit model. Plus, you’ll naturally move to your ideal weight. And what’s awesome is that maintaining it is super easy because you’re not on some crazy diet.
I know I’d rather spend the next few months going on adventures and having as much fun as possible, you? I’ve had the opportunity to get a sneak peek into Sarah’s training she mentioned and it’s awesome. It’s totally free for you, so I would really encourage you to check it out. You never know, this could be the thing that changes everything for you.
Healing One Of the Leading Causes Of Bloating
Emotional eating including eating when not hungry, binge eating, food restriction, grazing all day – can and mostly likely will bring digestive discomfort such as bloating and constipation.
You probably know it first hand if you ever ate too much food or kept snacking all day to stuff away boredom or fatigue. Putting too much food in the stomach or consuming hard to imagine and digest food combinations (which often happens during binge eating) overtaxes our digestion even if it is healthy.
Even if it is not news to you and you have experienced the negative outcomes, it is not always easy to hit PAUSE when strong emotions take over. Emotional eating patterns are one of the hardest to break. Willpower can work for some time but it is not a long-term solution.
Today I want to introduce you to a woman who shifted the way I work with my emotions that triggered emotional eating in the past. She is amazing! Her work is revolutionary!
If your digestion suffers from uncontrollable emotional eating, you will find this interview extremely helpful in your journey of understanding and healing the internal war.
Please meet Mary O’Malley. Mary O’Malley is an author, teacher and counselor whose work awakens others to the joy of being fully alive. Her inspired and transformative approach to compulsions offers a way to replace fear, hopelessness and struggle with ease, well being and joy.
Here are some questions that we discuss in the interview below:
- What brought you to an understanding that compulsions including binge eating are our friends and teachers?
- Why does willpower and control rarely ensure that we keep promises to ourselves when it comes to food?
- How does someone know if they have compulsions?
- How do we deal with compulsions in a loving way?
- How do we keep going if we keep failing ourselves?
In the early 1970′s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with her compulsions, freeing her from a lifelong struggle and opening her to the joy and the wonder of being fully awake to Life.
Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping others heal themselves by seeing what truly blocks them from life’s joy. Through her individual counseling and coaching, books, classes, retreats and ongoing groups, Mary invites people to experience the miracle of awakening.
Acknowledged as a leader in the field of Awakening by many (including Neale Donald Walsch, Unity Senior Minister Deborah Olive and Christopher McAuliffe of Accomplishment Coaching), Mary clearly sees both the big picture-and the details-of human patterns and conditioning. She possesses an extraordinary ability to understand and connect with people. And she is skilled in empowering people to work with difficult mind states resulting in greater inner awareness and presence and a greater capacity for joy.
Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so that they can become a part of the healing of our planet. Eckhart Tolle says, “Thank you, Mary, for your contribution to the evolution of human consciousness.”
Email [email protected] to get your copy of Mary’s lecture on making friends with your compulsions (mp3 recording)
In the comments let me know: Have you ever struggled with compulsive eating behaviors? What has worked or haven’t worked in resolving them?
Are You Addicted To Food?
Many women come to work with me around their issues with food: emotional eating; binge eating that leads to fatigue, digestive problems, and weight gain; avoiding certain foods because they don’t trust themselves with it; fear of food or addiction to food.
Whatever the behavior, many of us do not feel relaxed, at ease, and at peace with food.
Considering that we need to eat several times a day, having an unhealthy relationship with food can bring a lot of suffering, emotional and physical pain. Through food we can either nourish our body or abuse it. The choice even though straightforward is not always easy.
Before crafting a plan to change the behavior or fight the addiction, let’s first see what classifies an unhealthy relationship with food.
Take this quiz put together by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, to see if you exemplify any behaviors associated with food addiction:
2. Not eating certain types of food or cutting down on certain types of food is something I worry about.
3. I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or lethargic from overeating.
4. There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often or in such large quantities that I spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreational activities that I enjoy.
5. I kept consuming the same types of food or the same amount of food even though I was having emotional and/or physical problems.
6. Over time, I have found that I need to eat more and more to get the feeling I want, such as reduced negative emotions or increased pleasure.
7. I have had withdrawal symptoms when I cut down or stopped eating certain foods, including physical symptoms, agitation, or anxiety. (Please do not include withdrawal symptoms caused by cutting down on caffeinated beverages such as soda pop, coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.)
8. My behavior with respect to food and eating causes significant distress.
9. I experience significant problems in my ability to function effectively (daily routine, job/school, social activities, family activities, health difficulties) because of food and eating.
If you answered yes to 1 or more of these, your relationship to food may lack balance, peace, and ease.
I find that MINDFULNESS can be of great help in healing our relationship with food. It allows for a pause. It helps to be aware of the old patterns. It helps us to step into the place where you can make a choice that serves you both short and long-term.
It also brings true PLEASURE to a meal. It creates CONNECTION.
My mission is to support women in creating a loving, trusting, integrity-based relationship with their body. Our relationship with food is a reflection of our relationship with our body.
This Wed I will lead a group of women through an experience of relating to food and their body in a completely new way. There are still a couple of spots left so if you are in NYC, please join us.
To support everyone who can’t make it to the live workshop, I will be interviewing a very interesting specialist later this week. She specializes in compulsive behaviors, including food addictions. Her work is revolutionary and I can’t wait to introduce you to her! Make sure you stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter.
How Are Dieting and Restriction Working For You?
If dieting and restriction work for you than this softer and more intuitive approach might not be for you right now.
However, if you feel the need to find another way to work through old eating patterns that are keeping you stuck with digestive upset, internal distrust, unnecessary weight, or a poor self-image Mindful Eating might be just the right thing for you right now.
I invite you to experience the shift that mindfulness can bring into your life if:
- You know that dieting is not for you
- You believe deep inside that it is possible to live in a trusting relationship with your body
- You want to feel that your mind and body are on one team
I believe that no woman deserves to live in self-hate, in a self-loathing relationship with her body.
A lot if compulsive behaviors, including uncontrollable snacking, bingeing, overeating are a sign of the lack of skill to be present in the moment. When we can’t feel the body, when we don’t want to be present with emotions, when we don’t prioritize feeling good short and long term, we react to triggers. We lose our ability to choose. We become slaves to old patterns and habits.
Mindfulness creates space between trigger (emotion, boredom, fatigue, irritation) and our reaction. It allows to choose what action you want to take. It gives you a unique opportunity to align your actions to the way you want to feel and look in your body.
Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools that can help us break patterns and habits that are hurting us. More and more scientific studies prove the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in weight loss, emotional eating, compulsive behaviors, and binge eating.
As any skill, mindfulness needs to be developed and practiced. Mindful Eating workshop on Aug 21st is your chance! You can register here but make sure to read all the way to the bottom of this article and do the exercises below, too! Registration for one at $70 or Registration for two at $100
Choose Your Future You
- How would you feel if your daily behaviors, cravings, urges were supporting your dream body and a healthy digestion?
- How would it feel not to be afraid of your favorite foods because you lose control in front of them?
- And how would it feel to trust yourself at home when you are alone at night, at the restaurant with friends, at a BBQ? To know that every single cell in your body is on your side and will support you in creating the health and the body you want. A body that functions well, looks amazing, feels full of energy, and glows with happiness.
It is all possible if you choose it. You have a choice to stay on the road that you are walking now or to change the direction and move towards the state of health and body that you want. If you want to feel differently than you do now, your need to change your behaviors, attitudes, and environment.
Look Into The Future
Lets do a little visualization exercise: Close your eyes and try to get a clear picture of what is happening in your life now: your daily energy, your digestion, your self-esteem, your dialogue with your body, your sense of fulfillment.
Answer these questions for yourself:
- If you stay where you are now and keep doing what you are doing now, what is waiting for you in a month, in a year, in 5 years?
- Where will you be?
- How will you look?
- How are you relationships?
- How do you feel about your self?
- What do others think about you?
- Are you going to be where you want to be?
If the picture you saw was not attractive, if this is not where you want to end up, you need to change your approach. There is no point to hope for a different result if you keep doing something that has not worked so far. If you chose restriction, dieting, and control but it is not working the way you want it to, let me show you another way. You have nothing to lose by just giving it a try!
Create A Shift
If you want to have vibrant energy, feel light and easy in your body, and finally achieve your healthy weight, this workshop is for you!
This experiential workshop is also for you if:
▪ You are tired of relying on willpower to control your portions
▪ You avoid certain foods because you lack self-control
▪ You frequently find yourself overeating to the point of discomfort and then feeling guilty and groggy the next morning
▪ You feel stuck in a pattern of emotional eating that hurts your body and your feelings
▪ You want to regain self-trust between you and your cravings
▪ You want better digestion with less bloating
▪ You know that strict diets don’t work for you and you are ready to try something new
What You’ll Learn:
There will be some theory but it will mostly be practice. We will work together to create an experience to help your body relax and enjoy the food in a way that you’ve never done before!
This workshop will help you get intune with your body’s cues so you know when it had enough to eat so you don’t have to use your willpower.
You will learn principles of mindful eating that you can use to reduce the amount and the frequency of binges and skills to eat at any party, buffet, or summer picnics without finding yourself with a distended overloaded stomach.
What You’ll Receive:
▪ A refreshing “welcome” tea or juice
▪ An overview of Mindful Eating principles
▪ Playful exercises to get in tune with your body’s hunger and fullness cues
▪ Skills and meditation techniques to reduce emotional eating, bingeing, and strong cravings
▪ A beautiful Ayurvedic meal
In this workshop I will help you to become more comfortable in the art of listening to YOUR body when it comes to making decisions about food.
From Zero to Perfect
Bingeing, overeating, eating too much bread and pasta, not exercising, drinking, smoking, engaging in self-hate rants… Whatever it is for you, once we identify the behavior we want to change, we aim to go from 0 to 100 in one day. From bingeing every night to never doing it again. From not exercising, to exercising for an hour 5 times a week. From not eating veggie to eating only veggies. From overeating to eating perfect portions all the time. You get the picture. We aim for a 180 turn right away. This approach while works for some sets many for a failure and disappointment.
If you set your mind for perfection and fail to achieve it one day, the likely reaction is a feeling of internal betrayal, distrust, and a search for punishment (which most likely will include an unhealthy behavior like overeating, drinking, or laying on the couch for hours).
Instead of aiming for adopting a new habit right away, it is kinder to ourselves to do it in baby steps. All change happens in stages. Being aware of the stages helps to stay on track and not be judgmental of our progress.
When we create new habits we tend to expect to be ‘good’ at doing them right away but in real life it takes time for our body and brain to re-adjust. I find this poem very helpful in re-evaluating habit change process:
Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters
a poem by Portia Nelson, published in her book
There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
I always remind my clients that only through self-forgiveness, love, compassion, and an open dialogue between our mind and body we can re-build, restore, and recover.
It’s a life-long journey, not a one day exercise. Being aware of the stages of change can be very helpful in reducing or avoiding self-criticism, pressure to be perfect, and finding a new level of self-acceptance.
If you haven’t seen a video about my intuitive approach to habit change, watch the video from the past week.
If you are ready to start your kind journey of establishing a trusting, integrity based relationship with your body and change your habits in a gentle but smart way, watch today’s video.
Your Turn: In the comments below, write the statement with a substitute habit, trigger/cue, and reward that you are going for.
EX: I will close my eyes and do 10 rounds of deep breathing, before lunch when I feel overwhelmed, because it provides me the grounding I need.
You know all the theory when it comes to eating right. You know that you need to eat greens and cut down on sugar. You know that bread and chips are not healthy. You are fully aware that cookies are not particularly nutritious…
You probably tried to follow all the rules but then life happened, you got stressed out, social pressure was too strong, willpower came to its limit… and as a result you might still not be where you want to be. Jeans are still too tight, the image in the mirror is still far from what you want to see, and stomach still feels bloated…
I know how it feels to fail over and over again with diets and strict rules. I am not particularly good at relying on my willpower. I like to do what I enjoy and avoid restrictions in all areas of my life, including diet.
So in the last few months I was experimenting with finding an easier, softer, more feminine approach to daily choices when it comes to eating and exercising. I was following 3 simple steps to shift from willpower to intuitive guidance. I wasn’t sure if it will work but it did!
Today, I want to share those 3 step with you. It’s a quick video filmed with an iphone but the point is not the video quality or my non-existent tech skills but the message that I want to share with you.
I really do believe that if you choose to try using the same 3 steps in your daily living, there will be a shift in your cravings, desires, and the degree of internal guidance that you get from your body.
You can watch the video below:
In the video you will learn how to use intuition and body’s wisdom to lose weight, improve digestion, and lead an inspired life every day. 3 steps that anyone can do!
If you are in NYC, join me this Saturday, August 3rd for some yoga, meditation, and a friendly discussion on ways to stay healthy and relaxed in NYC. RSVP here. Invite your girlfriends to join!