Today’s meditation practice teaches us that we oftentimes believe we have separate selves within our one being. Deepak’s example is the notion of a good side and a bad side. For example, it’s midnight and you walk into the kitchen, looking for a late night treat. Your “good” side would turn around and march right out of there while your “bad” side is going to cave in and find something. When you are whole, you don’t think this way – instead, it’s a question of, does my body need food or am I bored? Taking a more conscious approach into how we make healthy decisions (having the ability to spring back into control), has a lasting impact that creates a healthier being.
I’m beyond guilty of the example above. Last night, I was craving popcorn (not on my diet) at 11:30pm. I went to the store, bought the popcorn, made it, ate it (I had help – thank goodness, or else I would have eaten the whole thing), and then immediately felt guilty for doing it. I had been working so hard on my healthy habits that I felt like I had set myself back three days by doing this. I didn’t ask the question of if I really needed it, or if I wanted it because I was going to watch a movie and it compliments that so well – I went straight into satisfying the craving and then immediately felt guilty.
While my example is so normal for almost anyone, it isn’t the best way to handle things that we already know will make us feel bad in the long run. We KNOW how we will feel after we eat something unhealthy, we KNOW how we will punish ourselves the next day for it, we KNOW we should never do it again but so long as we have “separate selves”, we will continue to repeat this over and over again.
It’s a very hard discipline to stick with, especially if you aren’t to the point where you are seeing results. However, the longer you work to become whole, the more you become disciplined, which means the more results you will see – and faster! The trick? Finding things that will feed your ENTIRE being: Getting in exercise, eating as well as you can everyday, meditating everyday – it trains your body to focus on all systems at the same time, getting them to work in harmony, to produce a complete YOU!
It Starts With Food
Today’s practice put a huge focus on the root cause of most ailments – whether they are mental or physical – food. Food was meant to nourish the body and keep it alive. Over time, with so many cooking shows, restaurant options, shortcuts, processed goods, cooking fats, and other “stimulants” available, food has become a comfort, a way of life, a social connector, or a cultural connector; and less about the basics. It’s evolved so much that food controls us – more mentally than physically.
We tend to not think about the fact that the food we put in our bodies has a profound affect on our psyches. Studies on sugar alone have produced volumes of proof that it exacerbates cancer and other life-threatening ailments, causes depression, inflammation, sluggishness, and other negative impacts to our whole self. The issue is, we read these reports and we think to ourselves, “Okay, so we’re not supposed to eat sugar.” But what we’re not doing is recognizing that everyone is different and that we need to simply ask ourselves the question, “What does my body need, in order to function as a well-oiled machine?”
At the beginning of March, I went on a mission to figure this out. I knew that some of my habits were making me tired and sluggish, and even causing a little bit of depression. My boyfriend (a health nut) set me on a path that not only gave me an education on what I needed to get my body functioning efficiently, but also how to maintain it. While I was planning on sharing this in a separate post, I think it’s important for readers to see how learning to be “whole”, starts with food.
The concept is pretty simple – it’s using the food pyramid and portion sizes to come up with a plan that REDUCES your intake of certain things, while not completely eliminating them. Why? The theory is that if you remove certain foods entirely, your body will forget how to burn it, thus defaulting to storing said things, causing you to gain weight. Below is a snapshot of both my meal plan AND measurement reminders. Note, the best (and easiest) way to avoid reaching for snacks, is to meal prep at least one week’s worth of meals. They can easily be stored in the freezer so nothing spoils.
(Note the blank days I am traveling and will have to modify accordingly, on the road.) The concept is that you consume measured amounts of veggies and protein for three days with carbs being introduced on the fourth day. Think of it as a sort of “cheat” day. Note that every Saturday, I have a date night. This means that I lax my dinner decisions a bit so that I can enjoy one night out with less restriction. I’ve been on this program for a month and it’s done wonders for me (mentally, physically, and emotionally) – I’m even to the point where I’m ordering 1-2 appetizers as a meal because I don’t find myself all that hungry anymore.
But the trick is portion control. Note the “S” column – that’s for me. It doesn’t seem like a lot but this is actually the portion size my body needs to function – not to calm your mind.
Through this process, I learned a lot about myself – dairy (milk products, not eggs) makes me feel sluggish – it has been 100% eliminated from my diet. I can consume sugar in moderate amounts but I have to be careful on how many days in a row I consume it or my burn rate starts to reverse itself. And, as much as I hate it, I have to maintain a level of cardio everyday to keep it all going.
I can tell you, first hand, that the longer I’m at this, the more addicted I am to it. The results have been amazing and most importantly, I feel great!
My homework for you – try this out for two weeks. Give yourself that super important challenge of achieving healthier goals, little by little, and see the difference it makes!