It happens to me all the time.
When I share in conversation that I teach yoga, eyes flick up and down my body. I can see the thought forming, “Aren’t yoga people supposed to be thin?”
I have earned a yoga teaching certification and am months away from getting my (3-year) yoga therapy certification. I have survived divorce, career change, college kids, middle-age crisis, and re-entering the dating scene at 51. But my biggest challenge is still ahead of me. And visibly all over me.
Yogi heal thyself.
And maybe along the way, help others too.
That is what I have want to do with this blog.
Before you leave because you were looking for weight loss answers and your brain is saying, “This was a waste of time.” I do have successful weight loss experience to share.
I was overweight all my life. After my son was born, I lost 60 pounds and achieved my statistically proper weight by eating less and exercising more. At least that is what I would like to say happened.
In reality, I lost that weight by starving myself, eating Lean Cuisines and other pre-packaged weight-loss products while exercising (running and biking) my way to a sprained ankle and torn knee meniscus.
But, along the way I changed the way I thought about food and exercise enough - to keep 40 of the pounds off.
For almost 15 years.
Despite achieving my ideal weight, my “perfect” life unraveled forcing me to find an escape. Where some people turn to alcohol or drugs, I turn to food. This is my addiction and, in some ways, the hardest one to fight.
Alcohol and drugs have limited availability and are not easily acquired (at least not in Pennsylvania). Food, however, is much easier to get.
It is everywhere.
It is essential for life. You have to eat. You must go to the grocery store where impulse purchases are designed into the layout of the store.
There is physical evidence of my issue. Alcoholics and drug users can hide their addiction for some time. But if you are addicted to food – it shows. In your face, hips, thighs - everywhere. You are openly displaying that you are undisciplined and out of control
It is shameful. And people notice.
How could they not?
When you see someone after a long time – the first thing said is – have you lost weight? Or worse, someone compliments you on your nail polish avoiding the elephant in the room – which unfortunately is you.
Brene Brown says in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”:
“Most everyone reading this book knows how to eat healthy…yet…we are the most obese…Americans ever…Why? …Because we don’t talk about the things that get in the way of doing what is best for us…We don’t talk about what keeps us eating until we’re sick, busy beyond human scale, desperate to numb and take the edge off, and full of so much anxiety and self-doubt that we can’t act on what we know is best for us.”
She goes on to say:
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Can we make that 20 pounds lighter Brene?
So here I am. Digging in. Embracing my darkness. And hopefully, changing my story.
My last 20 pounds have become my nemesis. I call them the “why” pounds. I know how to lose weight and what to eat to lose weight - but the "why I overeat" - still stymie’s me.
And yes – I look OK at this weight. My blood pressure is low. And my annual blood work shows low bad cholesterol, no sign of diabetes and a liver that is ready to take on a frat party.
But still - I wake up mornings after eating poorly feeling dreadful. And ashamed that I let my emotions – my internal stories - defeat me once again.
And I don't want to think about what I am going to wear anymore. I want my entire closet to fit – for once.
Deepak Chopra says:
“To be fulfilled is something food alone can’t do. You must nourish (instead):
Which is what I hope to do. With the tools of mind, body and spirit research, writing, meditation, yoga, exercise and healthy eating. And the help of a community of yoga students and others - which hopefully includes you.
I will write about my journey at least once a month for all of 2018. Which is a triumph as I never used to talk about being overweight. Much less admit to a food addiction.
And along the way I hope to hear your thoughts, suggestions and stories. How have you found healthy ways to deal with food? Let us help each other.
We’ll see where this takes us. Hopefully to a place that is not attached to numbers (pounds or sizes) - but a healthier, more joyful and peaceful state.
I am starting out with the following books to inform my journey:
If you have any suggestions on things to try, or books to read please let me know. You can message me at @downdogdiva on Facebook and Instagram. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May this be of benefit.
Happy New Year – and thank you for reading.