Once a person advances in yoga, remembering one’s starter days becomes a challenge. She is surprised by friends who ask “How do you do that?” How does she do that? Analyzing what’s going on requires a different kind of focus than executing the pose. It can be done, if one resolves to pay attention. One must be motivated else the answer I so often receive, is a shrug of the shoulders. A quaint “well you know. . .” Like the caterpillar in Alice I reply, “No, I do not.” If I knew how badass yogis do fantastic asana I wouldn’t be asking! Suffice to say I do not know how to get from here to there.
That is a similar problem for me attempting to lose weight. I am advised to eat less exercise more. That’s grown-up for yer on yer own kid. I am advised to stop eating so much? Nice. How do I do that? well, you know – Some people assume fatties are going to stop eating whilst we are still hungry. That makes me angry. Skinny chicks don’t have to stop until they are full. Why should big folk be any different? Some advice is vaporous: I am advised to stop when I’m full. The problem is subtle. I need to learn how to sense when enough is enough. How do I do that? Advice to eat healthy, bless their hearts, is well-intentioned – yet vague. Who decides what is healthy? The hard-core yogis go vegan, traditionalists vegetarian, paleo lurks as “natural”, all sorts of food fads abound.
Yoga to the rescue. Seriously. Start doing yoga. Do it poorly, inexpertly. Just do it. I did it even when I was topping the scales somewhere past 180. (My former husband claims I was over 200.) Why was I fat if I was doing yoga? Fair question. The truth is I’d taken a breather from yoga while I was busy being unhappy. Have you ever been isolated? Underemployed? Misunderstood? Home-sick? Lonely? Stressed? Over-worked? Underpaid? Any one of these can drive a woman to eat for solace. Simply cutting off the food supply solves nothing except the calorie count. Women can not sustain weight loss by caloric decrease alone. The unhappy body will seek alternate means to protect herself from unkind invaders. Dieting doesn’t work because everyone has to go back to “regular” eating. Yoga works because yoga feels good, dieting feels like punishment.
In any case, if “regular” eating is awful eating, loss is regained.
The unreal Kumari gets her facts from fiction. I swear I don’t make this stuff up. A book called “Pooh gets stuck” ‘splains the basics. **Spoiler Alert** Hungry Winnie-the-Pooh visits his friend Rabbit. Pooh likes a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning, He is very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs. When Rabbit asks, “Honey or condensed milk with your bread?” Pooh is so excited that he replies, “Both,” and then, so as not to seem greedy, he adds, “But don’t bother about the bread, please.” After eating all the honey available at Rabbit’s house Pooh attempts to leave. Passing on the bread, a healthy source of fiber was a mistake. Pooh gets stuck half-way though Rabbit’s door. Poor Pooh must fast until he is thin enough to be pushed or pulled through.
1) Don’t leave home hungry, angry, lonely or in a mood. Settle down. Emotional eating is the most likely culprit followed closely by careless, thoughtless (bored) eating, to create weight gain. A distant third would be eating too much just because food tastes yummy. Why do skinny people love leaping to that conclusion? Because for a naturally skinny person this is the ONLY reason to over eat. I’m not so naive that I suggest you wait until the emotion dies. That will probably never happen. I have a better idea. Feel your feelings. Let ’em pass through. Make friends with feelings other people call negative. Let sadness have space. Honor the uncomfortable ones, even if you have to do it alone, at home or in some private place. Don’t let other’s discomfort with yer feelings cause you to stuff them.
2) Don’t skip the fiber rich foods. Once upon a time dinner salads were common, inexpensive and tasty. Then restaurants got cheap, substituting iceberg lettuce for the interesting greens. Food corporations started sneaking sugar and high fructose corn syrup into dressings. Tomatoes lost their flavor in favor of growers producing vivid red hues. People, consumers, I can hardly blame them, start opting for meals like pizza and burgers which don’t include salad when salad doesn’t taste good. Compared to the super salty, juicy, greasy experience of fast food – cold salad doesn’t stand a chance. Ok. Find fiber somewhere else, but do find it because fiber is the very thing that creates the full feeling in a healthy tummy. Poor Pooh should have said yes to the bread.
3) Scale back on sugars. Yes even the natural ones: agave, honey and molasses. I admit I have a sweet tooth. That’s not because I’m a bad person, an amateur yogi or even because I suffer from clinical depression. I have a sweet tooth because I am human. Humans are hardwired for sweets. We’re designed to live off of breast milk our first few months of life. Everybody not just Pooh, has a sweet tooth. Instead of being ashamed of it, own it. Once I realize that sugar is an addiction I can treat it as such. If my use is out of control I quit cold turkey just like Pooh. Start reading the labels to foods in your cupboards to see how sugar has snuck into everything. Spaghetti sauce doesn’t need sugar! Fight back and make it from scratch.
4) Pooh is hungry before he even leaves home. Cooking at home isn’t just healthier than eating out, it is economical. When I make cookies or treats at home I get a whole tray of goodies for the cost of one or two desserts at a coffee shop. In my home-made stuff I can pare down the sugar, leave out the artificial flavorings and colors mos def omit high fructose corn syrup. Whole wheat cookies can be awful; try Trader Joe’s white whole wheat flour as an alternative to fiberless white flour. Expand cooking at home to more than just treats. Pooh could have eaten a real meal before dessert, then he wouldn’t have been tempted to overeat. Right? Am I right?
5) Pooh desires to not appear “greedy.” He apparently fears Rabbit’s judgement. (Rabbit is known to be snide.) Don’t eat in front of people who will not be kind! You know what I’m talking about. Those mothers who ask, “Do you really need that second piece of cake?” Those boyfriends who say you have such a pretty face? Avoid them. Avoid them altogether if you can. Yes, even if they are related to you, married to you, offspring. Certainly do not eat with them. They are poison to your psyche. There’s nothing like scuttling from shame to make a person eat scared. So strive to stop, stop letting ’em into your life. You won’t be sorry.
Learn to cook for the fun of it, keep at it for the taste of it. Homemade soup is filling, cheap and fiber full. Soak barley and dried beans overnight. Drain the water. In a separate pot brew broth: toss clean raw chicken, bones and all into water, enough water to cover the meat. You’ll smell and see a rich broth appear. Strain out the chicken and bones and refrigerate the liquid. Skim off the solidified fat. Reheat the broth with the beans, barley, pieces of meat and vegetables. For a vegetarian soup leave out the chicken. Boil barley and beans until soft and add vegetables and spices of yer choice. You’ll end up as happy as this spry filly not stuck in a hole like Winnie.
Now y’all play nice!