Tag Archives: meditation

image via harvard school of public health

Your weight does NOT define you!

By: Jill Ouhrabka MS, RD, LDN, CHC

Working with clients, particularly those who are struggle to lose weight there is a common theme…they all are focused on the number on the scale!  Once they let go of weighing themselves they stop focusing on calories and food and end up loosing weight!

Why is this?

When you weigh yourself, you feel good if your weight is where you want it and badly if it is not where you want it. This reaction to the number on the scale can fuel your mood for the day causing negative (or positive) thoughts and emotions particularly related to body image and food choices. You may find yourself restricting calories or food to try to lose weight or making poor food choices because your weight is where you want it. Why does your weight make it okay or not okay to eat certain foods?

By focusing on your weight, you are so focused on changing the number on the scale that you are not actually listening to what your body needs and this can cause many weight issues. You are also not taking into account that your weight can fluctuate a great deal during the day and depending on what is going on with your body.

What is the answer?

If you have to weigh yourself, do it once a week as an objective measure. Don’t let the number define you.  Remember that the number you see on the scale says nothing about your body composition including body fat versus lean muscle. It does not account for height or body frame.

Focus on how you feel in your body. When you are eating well, exercising in moderation, and your clothes fit well, you are going to feel good about your body! When you stop focusing on the number, you can focus on how you feel and what your body needs (as far as food, sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc).

How can you get to a healthy weight?

Focus on balance. Eating foods that are healthy most of the time, and those less healthy foods in moderation- don’t deny yourself, eat less.

Diet: Focus on eating breakfast everyday and then eating every 3 hours.

Exercise: Aim to exercise most days of the week for 30 to 45 minutes/day.

Sleep:  Get enough sleep! If you are tired, your body will think it needs energy and you will end up eating more!

Stress: Manage stress with exercise, meditation, and yoga. Stress can cause weight gain so managing it daily is essential.

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The power of a breath

When was the last time you took a deep breath?

A moment of silence.  A deep breath. Feeling an inhale and the breath move down your throat to your body.  Your shoulders lifting, heart rate slowing, calmness fills you. The exhale pushes out the old energy and the inhale sparks your senses bringing new positive energy.

Being able to listen to your body, to stop your negative thought patterns, to recognize what you actually need takes practice.

Have you ever eaten a whole bag of chips, or come home from work, stood in front of the refrigerator or cupboard and gone into a food haze? You are eating everything you can and yet you are so unaware of the food you are eating. Does this happen to you? Have you ever eaten food you don’t like just because it is there? Does food have power over you or your life? You can start to change your food habits by becoming more aware. Are you actually hungry? Are you really tired? Did you just have a stressful meeting and now you are on your third donut and don’t even like them?

Food should be eaten to nourish the body, and help fuel your day but so often we eat it for emotional reasons.  Start to notice why you eat or overeat. Are you listening to hunger cues? If you are hungry, eat something. If you are not hungry, do whatever else it is you need.

To heal yourself and to change habits and behaviors you must first recognize what the problem is. Why do you feel anxious, tired, scared, happy, hungry, sad, or stressed?

Focusing on your breath can help you notice what your body needs. Start with a moment of silence. Turn off the radio. Close the office door. Shut off the television.  Start with a deep inhalation (take a deep breath).  With your eyes closed try to follow the air as it enters your throat, neck, and stomach. Feel your diaphragm expanding and your body relaxing. What is happening in your body? Do you feel calmer? Has your heart rate slowed, do you feel calmer? Feel your chest expand as your shoulders reach back, and then squeeze from your core and push out the air for an exhalation.  The exhale pushes out the old energy and the inhale enlivens the senses with new energy. Breathe in calmness, breathe out anxiety. Breathe in health, breathe out stress. Just breathe.