“As published in La Voz Bilingual Newspaper”
This is a new year. This is a new era. This is another new start in your health journey. Everyday is an opportunity to “do” something different. This is the year of action–of doing–enough talking and thinking about what we “need to do”. We have been talking and planning and attacking that last 10 pounds for decades! Let’s take action. But let’s take different action. This is a definition of kriya yoga: transformation–being adventurous and trying a different approach.
I have tried traditional ways and attitudes each go around on this stubborn 10. I don’t quite get there and get discouraged and then I tuck my cute body in the next size larger and live with the 10 pounds. Sounds like a run on sentence.
First I’m redefining what I’m “fighting”. This is a traditional way of looking at that 10 pounds. It is the enemy. Get is off of me. Fat is gross. Reframe. What is causing the extra weight? One view is that the extra weight are stored toxins. These stored toxins are undigested food, emotions, experiences, feelings–undigested anything, according to Ayurveda, traditional Indian (Eastern) health philosophy that is at least 4000 years old. Using this definition, everyone is “fighting” something different. We all have different experiences and different toxins. So why should our approach to shedding this extra weight be the same for everyone. According to Ayurveda, each one of us has a different constitution or make up or dosha from birth. For more on your dosha, check out the website doshaguru.com.
Western philosophy simply says, calories in and calories out, is the answer for us all. I believe that is a simplified approach for all of us individuals. At one time, in my twenties, this worked. I just fasted and extra weight gone. Two to four weeks later, weight boomeranged back. My fasting body thought I was starving, so it slowed my metabolism. My body went into starvation mode, which is, conserve energy, hold on to the weight, and make every calorie stretch. In the long run, starvation diets and yo yo dieting have many negative effects on the entire system. According to Wikipedia: ” After completing the diet, the dieter is likely to experience the body’s starvation response, leading to rapid weight gain of only fat. This is a cycle that changes the body’s fat-to-muscle ratio, one of the more important factors in health. One study in rats showed those made to yo-yo diet were more efficient at gaining weight” ( Brownell, Kelly D.; Greenwood, M.R.C.; Stellar, Eliot; Shrager, E.Eileen (1986). “The effects of repeated cycles of weight loss and regain in rats”. Physiology & Behavior 38 (4): 459. doi:10.1016/0031-9384(86)90411-7.)
I am no longer 20 years old. I’m almost triple that age now. My experiences have accumulated and I’ve changed since then. I hope that I’m wiser and more adventurous. I’m trying the Ayurveda approach in the next 4 months. For the next four articles, I will be recording and suggesting alternative ways of “detoxing” (not “fighting”) my way to a healthier weight–a healthier me.
This time I’m going to make changes in a small way. I’m going to take action in small chunks. It is known that humans respond to successes. I’m a human that feels good about myself when I accomplish a task. Completing a task is a small success and I’m more likely to want to try another task or continue toward a goal if the goal is in digestable chunks. This approach toward change can be more sustainable.
My first small step toward “detoxing” will be drinking 4-8 ounces of warm water every hour of my waking day. It means that I will be running to the bathroom every couple hours but if this can help me detox off a few pounds, I’m on it. I can even put a little honey in my water for taste. Warm water keeps my inner digestive juices fired up. My Ayurvedist said that drinking warm water all day is like “scraping” the toxins away. This is a great visual. Chilled water may taste great but warm water will help me toward my goal. Chilled water slows the digestive process and toxin elimination down to a halt. In fact, during and after exercise, drink your water warm or at room temperature. Small price to pay to rid my healthier being of poisons!
Notice that this first step is not taking anything away. Notice that this first step is not forbidding cookies. Notice that this first step is not exercising for hours. I will just concentrate on this small activity of drinking warm water every hour. I will take it a day at a time. Healing and sustainable changes are more effective at the speed of nature. I am nature and I want to heal and stay healthy. Next month, another small chunk toward “detoxing”.