The single most common complaint I hear from my students and clients? I don’t feel at home in my body. I want to offer you some simple Ayurveda-inspired, no-more-band-aid tips that will help you feel at home in your body again. And these techniques aren’t about imposing hard and fast rules – they are about deep listening.
It starts in your heart.
Many of us turn to the transient comfort of food, overeating in attempt to numb out the pain. We numb out fear, loneliness, dissatisfaction with our careers, sexual frustration, boredom in our marriage, resentment, anger, deep-seated insecurity and sadness. The crazy part is that after we numb-out, we feel depressed and/or anxious, and pick up the next activity to stuff down that emotion. And thus, the endless cycle of foggy vision and misplaced desire begins again.
What can heal us? Ayurveda says that knowing when we begin living unconsciously, dysfunctional behavior is the first step. Bringing loving awareness to these behaviors starts to unravel the pattern at the root.
The following tips will help you begin to balance your weight, while simultaneously addressing the deeper emotional hunger.
- Be aware. Begin to bring consciousness to the way you eating. Breathe deeply into your belly. Are your standing up? Are you in the car, on the cell-phone? Slow down. Find a calm place to sit and eat lunch. Be with the food.
- Eat slowly and chew the food well. Stop eating before you feel full, to allow the belly the space and time it needs to digest what you have eaten.
- Don’t put out your fire. When we overeat, we weaken our digestive fire. Whatever we cannot digest will turn into accumulated pollution and toxins in the gut. This has a dramatic impact on how we feel, and is the primary reason why women who eat healthy food have excess weight. It is also the reason why women who eat lots of healthy food can remain thin, dry and brittle.
- Observe why you eat. Are you emotional eating? No judgements, just be aware. Become aware of your habits, and what you use to cover up what you’re feeling. Do you pick up the chocolate when you feel overwhelmed or exhausted at work?
- Give yourself loving attention and give yourself what you need. Before eating, take a moment to close your eyes. Bring your attention to your belly and breathe slowly. Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” Before eating, check in – Am I hungry, or am I just angry (tired, lonely, exhausted, bored, etc.)? This is the crucial moment where we have the capacity to move from the unconscious realm of compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors into the realm of awareness. This is healing.
- Self massage. This is one of the single best ways to tell your body, “I love you.” Check out this post for a complete overview on how to oil your body machine.
- Relax. Relaxation has been scientifically proven to help in weight balancing. When we are under stress, our body produces a hormone called cortisol. When we have too much stress, this hormone actually tells our body to store excess fat for some impending doom. This breathing practice will help you melt away tension and balance your hormones.