Monday, August 8, 2011

I wish I may I wish I might...

Warrior Pose II
neither pulled towards the future
nor weighted down by the past
equilibrium is found in the present moment
I haven't blogged for a while. Mom's death has severed the living ties to my parents (Dad died in 2002) and life has, for the time being, become a bit of an introverted journey of self-exploration. Who am I now? Who do I want to become? What do I want to do with my life? What and who do I love? How do I want to live my life now? Robert Moss contends that if you don't define yourself others will do it for you. What definitions have I embraced? Do they still apply? Did they ever? Sounds pretty heavy but really, it's liberating and has led to clutter clearing on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, psychically and spiritually.

More of that later, what prompts this blog is an e-mail I received recently from a client who hasn't been successful in getting rid of excess weight despite having attended a series of 6 one-on-one sessions for a weight management a few years back.

Here's the gist of it:
Why can't hypnosis for weight loss be done in a 1 shot session like I do for smoking cessation? Why can't I just implant a negative association to help someone abstain from "forbidden" foods and be done with it? It worked for a friend of mine and she lost X number of pounds and she's still kept it off. When she feels tempted she just goes back for a little top up. I think stress management would be helpful, but only if it's done in one session not if it's based on self-hypnosis as that doesn't work for me.

A few things jump out at me:
  • unlike smoking, one needs to eat and faces temptation a few times every day
  • smoking is a non-essential activity that is always detrimental to one's health
  • what new "forbiddens" will take the place of the old ones
  • hypnosis does strengthen resolve and makes things easier, and ACTION is a part of the process, action needs to be taken to re-inforce the suggestion and set up a positive feedback loop
  • over time weight balancing becomes second nature and a lifestyle choice
  • stress accumulates unless we address it every day, it's not the stressor that's our problem, it's our attitude towards it
I battled with anorexia in my teens. If anyone should know about aversion to food and how to induce it, it should be me. The truth is, people experiencing anorexia are consumed by food 24/7 to the exclusion of everything else - there is no joy in the life of an anorexic, only the constant companions of fear of failure and self-loathing.

I lost 30 lbs by eating the bare minimum to survive and, when I came to my senses I gained most of it back. I have maintained a healthy weight for 40 years through conscious eating and a commitment to health and living consciously.

There is no magic pill to make our demons all go away. One must commit to a daily process of: self-awareness and self-honesty; discovering one's self inside-out; taking ownership of the body we inhabit and taking responsibility for our actions - no excuses allowed. We must learn to ride the emotional roller coaster of life without resorting to food for comfort or punishment and choose to eat consciously. It takes nothing less than healing our relationship with ourselves and with food to arrive at the weight that is right for "me".

The pain my client was feeling leaked between the lines she'd written. She just wants one shot, no self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis doesn't work for her. Yet she is an intelligent, accomplished professional. How did she get through the years of training, focus and determination it took to get where she is today? All hypnosis is essentially self-hypnosis and is re-inforced by the messages we tell ourselves every day. Our self-talk either propels us in the right direction or leads to self-sabatogue. As a former anorexic I know that our mind can be a battleground where our inner cheerleader and our inner critic wage a war for dominance over our thoughts and emotions. Which do you support with your attention? The one that receives the most attention grows the strongest.

Anything we accomplish begins with a spark of inspiration and a dreaming of what could be. When it comes to weight issues we imagine how wonderful our lives will be, how successful and desirable we will become when we have lost the weight. All our problems will vanish in an instant. I wish this were true. Fact is, we need to find the wonderful life that is available to us now as we make our journey through weight loss (or anything else); we need to engage in life, take risks, experience failure and success. We need to fall down, get up and reset our course again and again if necessary.

I've been impressed by the Canadian Series X-WEIGHTED for it's inspiring and eye-opening stories centring around young people and their families learning to live healthier lives while losing weight. I encourage anyone dealing with weight issues to check it out, especially if you are concerned about passing these issues on to your children. If you are making poor food choices for yourself you are making poor ones for your kids too. Your actions set the example for your children to follow - what are they learning from you?

To find out more about my struggle with anorexia and how yoga transformed my life check out STORIES FROM THE YOGIC HEART available at many yoga centres, book stores, AKASHA'S DEN in Oakville, Ontario and coming soon to a ROOTS store near you!


So, here's the first step regarding forbidden foods:

Secondly, ask yourself, in your moments of temptation:


  1. Great information and great inspiration. "Our self-talk either propels us in the right direction or leads to self-sabatogue" really clicks with me. Will look at Yogic Heart next. Love your book list too.

  2. Thanks for the reminder to think about who is in charge. Good stuff here.