Meal Plan, Schmeal Plan…

It can be scary to relearn how to eat intuitively and shockingly easy to forget, even after just a few months of a restrictive diet. These regimes usurp the powers of choice and self trust when making food decisions. The diet tells you when to eat, making your hunger cues irrelevant. It tells you how much to eat, making your fullness cues moot. It tells you what to eat, and more sinisterly, what not to eat, snuffing out the final candle on your inner intuitive eater.

But how are you supposed to just drop all the rules and restrictions and start listening to your body again? Advice to just eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full is confusing because you may not remember the last time you paid attention to that. Plus, it’s unlikely that your body is sending you reliable cues at all. Not to mention the uncomfortable feelings that surface around hunger and fullness. Add in food fears and distrust and it’s no wonder people struggle making the leap from rigid diets to attuned eating.

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Whole Body Love

Many of us, men and women, are resistant to the idea of loving our bodies. It seems so foreign. Sometimes even wrong. Learning to love your body can be a tangled endeavor, fraught with destructive emotions and uncertainty. Part of the difficulty is due to our natural bias toward the negative; therefore, we tend to get hung up on the parts of our bodies we don’t like, rather than celebrate those we do. We really get stuck when we compare ourselves to others and assign a value judgment to our appearance, which creates a better than/ less than dichotomy.

When we focus on things we don’t like, we often feel compelled to fix or change those things in order to feel better about ourselves. Unsurprisingly, the diet and self-improvement industries are founded on this kind of self-deprecation. But what if we let those uncomfortable parts just be for awhile and learn to take a more realistic view of the body?

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What Should I Actually Eat?!

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by food decisions. Whether it’s an absurd number of options at home and the workplace or our options seem limited, we tend to rationalize the heck out of deciding what to actually eat.

The problem is that the rational mind alone doesn’t do a great job of feeding the body.  It is awash with rules and shoulds and limits that often interfere with the part of us that truly does know what to eat: the body itself. The ultimate goal of eating intuitively or mindfully is to be present in the body in order to use its feedback when making food decisions, tempered by the logic of the rational mind when necessary.

Essentially, food decision-making comes down to balancing wants and shoulds, with the primary mediator being the body. For example, maybe your mouth genuinely wants ice cream all the time, but you know you really ought not repeatedly indulge that desire because that won’t promote good health in the long run (and you might get a tummy ache). The truth is that if you are really listening to your body, it won’t want ice cream all the time.

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Out of the Oven and Into the World

Every two weeks I get a box of “ugly” produce delivered to my door from a company that distributes fruits and vegetables deemed unsuitable for market. Last week, the box was full of my least favorites as I had missed the customization window for that shipment. Beets, grapefruit, rutabaga, curly kale, frisée, radishes. Reading that list now, it doesn’t sound so terrible, but at the moment, I wasn’t looking forward to eating those things.

My love of cooking isn’t about creating intricate dishes with a dozen ingredients and using fancy techniques. My skill is to take what is available and turn it into something beautiful, delicious, nourishing, and satisfying. In fact, the feeling that usually follows the thought, “What am I going to do with all this produce?” is the excitement of rising to the challenge.

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Seven Ways Yoga Helps Us Trust the Body and Eat with Ease

A rash of new research has yet to explain why and how yoga and other mind-body therapies appear to be effective in treating and preventing eating and body image concerns. Much of the evidence remains anecdotal and the actual benefits are unclear. The research indeed suggests that yoga practice is helpful, but the studies have conflicting results and the effects are not as great as expected.

What’s increasingly clear is that yoga enhances embodiment and mindfulness, two qualities that we do know are helpful in preventing and treating these issues. To state it broadly, both embodiment and mindfulness require present-focused awareness and deliberate attention to sensations, thoughts, and feelings in order to establish a mind-body connection. When we are not fully inhabiting our bodies, it can be tricky to identify and manage emotions, impulses, and thoughts leaving us at their mercy. Continue Reading →

The Yoga of Balance

When I first started practicing yoga, I noticed two things. First, I loved balancing poses. And the second? They require a particular kind of grounding.

To start with, any time we have a lot of internal stuff going on, like distracting thoughts (whether they be warm and fuzzy thoughts, like a new crush, or the debilitating thoughts that come with loss), self-criticism, or comparing mind, balancing can seem a lot harder. Just as centering is needed to focus on a task or calm a racing mind, grounding techniques are requisite for balancing. After all, you must get grounded before you can fly. Continue Reading →


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