Articles with 'diet'

Take Charge of Little Habits to Reach Your Bigger Goals


Guest Blogger

I write a lot about “the Yoga of Manifestation” techniques to achieve your dreams with spiritual means. A key thing is how you use your energy. Often in NYC where I live everyone walks around staring at their smartphone, checking it obsessively. But all spiritual systems say our attention and energy is crucial to our material and spiritual well-being. So lets explore how we are using our energy during the day. This is something I work with private yoga clients with in terms of taking charge of thier lives. It’s been proven that even working on a small habit even if unrelated-creates a momentum to allow us to make bigger changes.

1. How do you start your day? With an expensive cup of coffee?

Action: Instead of coffee- try green tea or chai. Chai is actually according to Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India)- a healthy hot beverage, the herbs including ginger and cinnamon help the digestion. And the black tea is less strong than coffee and is said to act as a catalyst for the spices.
Benefit: “It’s all about the catechin content, (in green tea)” says Beth Reardon, RD, a Boston nutritionist. Catechins are antioxidants that fight and may even prevent cell damage.” (1) Clean energy that is less taxing on the adrenals. Anti-oxidants of green tea or help with digestion of chai.

2. What happens mid-day. Avoidance habit: texting, reading email every 10 min? Before doing this habitual action- stop and think about why you are doing it. Action: Stop take 5-10 mindful breaths. Usually there is an underlying feeling, anxiety, boredom? Examine what is really going on for you.
Are you a bit tired and really seeking a bit of an energy rush?
Are you avoiding something else that you really need to do?
The latter is a big one for me, getting thrown off by web browsing and email checking during the day. Usually I have something to that needs to get done that I just don’t want to do.
Benefit: sense of being in control of your own time. With less minutia stealing your time, you’re more productive. You focus on what is important to you. Successful people don’t let others agenda, distract them.

3. How do you end your day? Staying up till 12 am? Watching TV or on computer till right before bed, interferes with sleep. Poor sleep affects the body’s healing and hormone balance.

Action: Try gradually going to bed 15 min earlier and maintain that for a week. Then shift again so that you are now going to bed 1/2 hour earlier than usual. According to Ayurveda around 10 pm is an ideal time. This does vary by body type. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends is one key. This keeps the biological clock in sync. (2)
Benefits: more energy all day, better mental focus, your whole day is affected positively.

4. Dietary habit: Eating a sugary snacks or for breakfast? Usually breakfast can be easy to get control off, and can help ward of late morning snacking. I find that I need protein in the morning and I’m satisfied much longer than with grains- like oatmeal. I still eat oatmeal but I add some protein to it.

Action: Experiment there are different body types and you may be the reverse. Ayurveda gives simple guidelines once we know our “dosha,” or body type. For one week pay attention to how you feel after a specific type of breakfast. Literally stop at a set time and make note of how you feel-write it down.

Making a set time commitment to creating a new habit is optimal. 30 days is a minimum to get the brain retrained. But some spiritual traditions say 40 days is best. Try it-examine what one little habit may be creating an energy drain? It may not be anything mentioned here. But if you sit quietly in contemplation- it will come to you. Make an intention to a “sadhana”- which means a spiritual practice that we steadfastly . It can change your life.
Vivinne (Kala) Williams, 20 yrs experience private/corporate yoga & mindfulness teacher: I learned that self-love & self-care are the KEY. It’s the “put the oxygen mask on yourself first” theory.” We cannot fill anyone else up unless we lovingly care for ourselves. My training and practice in Kripalu, Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga’s and my ongoing intensive meditation practice have given me many tools to share.

Vivinne Williams –  Yoga & Mindfulness Meditation Teacher



2. Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan.

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Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight!


At 12 years old, I wasn’t a fat kid. As a matter of fact, I was pretty skinny (that’s me on the right in the blue jeans).

But, all the girls at school were on diets, and the women’s magazines were recommending diets, and my mom was on a diet as well.

I remember thinking, “I should really go on a diet.”

My chronic dieting began by eating “diet” food and drinking diet soda. I also ate low-fat and non-fat, yogurt and cheese.

And, an interesting thing happened – I began gaining weight and didn’t understand why.

By the time I was 15 years old I had created a warped idea about food.

I remember going to my best friend’s house every day after school. Omi, her German grandmother, would prepare us the most delicious meal – Braised pork or chicken with gravy, creamy mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Twenty minutes after we ate, we would lock ourselves in the bathroom and force that homemade food out of our bodies.

I remember Omi knocking on the bathroom door asking, “Are you girls okay?”

We’d say, “yeah we’re fine,” and turn the radio louder so she wouldn’t hear us throwing up.

But, the truth is we were NOT okay. We were damaged. It was the 1980’s and we were brainwashed by the dieting industry to think eating food with fat would make us fat.

At 17 years old I attended Weight Watchers “fat camp” in Pennsylvania. It was sensible dieting. We ate meals that were very low in fat, drank diet soda, used artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, and slathered fake butter on our bread.

I remember one night at camp, I got stoned (hey… I was a teenager), broke into the food shack, and ate an entire jar of peanut butter.

Apparently, my body was craving fat.

After fat camp, I joined weight watchers and bought a food scale. I weighed and counted every fat gram and calorie that went into my mouth. Unfortunately, this made eating a laborious task.

Eventually, I grew tired of weighing, measuring, counting and scrutinizing every morsel that went into my mouth.

So, I joined Jenny Craig. They sold boxed food that was already weighed and measured. Whew! What a relief. It certainly wasn’t delicious, but it did the job and I lost a few pounds.

The interesting thing is with every diet, I initially lost weight but always gained it back…PLUS some!

I was not obese, but I was chunky. And, it seemed the more I dieted, the chunkier I became. At my chubbiest I was 149 pounds, which is not FAT. But, I’m a shorty. At 5’ 3” (and a 1/2), I was 25 pounds heavier than I am now, and I felt bloated and uncomfortable.

An interesting diet entered my radar when I was in my early 20’s. My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. After her chemo and radiation treatments we tried something called Macrobiotics.

It wasn’t about counting fat grams or calories; it was about quality of food and how it affected the body energetically, physically and spiritually. This was an entirely new concept for me.

The diet consisted of whole grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits.  It was very low in fat, so it fit perfectly with my “dieting” mentality. Eating that food made my body feel good and helped me go to the bathroom – which, as a chronic dieter, was a rare occurrence. As a result, I dropped a few pounds… literally, right into the toilet.

After mom died, I kept some of the Macrobiotic principles and my weight leveled off at 139 pounds. But, mostly I went back to my unhealthy “dieting” ways.

Finally, a gift from the gods came. At 28, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter. After watching mom suffer, and eventually die from chemo and radiation, I decided radioactive iodine was NOT an option for me (Radiate My Thyroid? No Freakin’ Way!).

I stopped the nonsense and I finally STOPPED dieting.

Instead of dieting, I focused on eating the best quality food to help my body heal.

Within the first 4 months I dropped 18 pounds. To date, I’ve never gained back that weight (almost 20 years). I don’t ever think about dieting anymore. I just eat food, real food, with all of its nutrients intact, including the fat.

Below are some steps to help you break free from a dieting mentality and lose weight.

STOP dieting:

  • Dieting deprives us of physical and emotional nutrition
  • Dieting creates dysfunctional behaviors
  • Dieting contributes to weight gain

Eat Real Food: see pictures below. This is what food looks like.

Drink Water: there is no better beverage for your body.

Ditch Chemical Sweeteners: Chemicals disrupt endocrine function, lead to weight gain, contribute to depression, and destroy brain cells. Not only that, artificial sweeteners are so unnaturally sweet they compromise the delicate palate in your mouth. No longer will a fresh berry taste naturally sweet if you eat chemical sweeteners.

Sit Down to Meals: Do NOT walk or stand and eat. Digestion needs relaxation to function properly. If you are stressed out, or walking and eating, stress hormone rises and digestion shuts down.

Move Your Body: A simple 35-40 minute daily walk can help. You don’t need to pump iron, you just need to move your butt EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you find you are stuck, here are some common dieting mistakes:

  • Eating cold foods and/or too many salads – dampens digestive fire and slows metabolism
  • Forbidding foods – the dieter becomes obsessed with what they cannot have
  • Eliminating fat – creates wild cravings and the dieter is never fully satisfied
  • Emotional eating – what are you really craving? Love? Companionship? Inspiration? Creativity?
  • Impatience – it took time to gain the weight, it’ll take time to take it off. Relax.
  • Lack of self love – if we don’t love ourselves exactly as we are, in the body we have right now, we will continue the self abuse and chronic dieting behaviors.

Stop the nonsense and stop dieting!

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Ditch Your Weight Loss Resolutions!


How many years in a row have you made resolutions to diet and lose weight, and have been unsuccessful? Or, lost the weight initially and then gained it all back… plus some. New Year’s resolutions for weight loss are mostly doomed for failure. Not because you haven’t given it your best shot. You are certainly not a failure.  It’s simply because the middle of winter, January, is the worst time of year to restrict calories and deprive your body of what it really needs.

During the cold winter months the body uses calories to heat us up. Food’s overall warming effect is known as thermogenesis (“heat making”). Eating provides fuel and increases heat production. Restricting calories when the weather gets cold activates our body’s innate winter wisdom to store fuel for survival purposes. Therefore, restricting calories in cold weather can possibly create more fat storage. The more calorie restriction, the more cellulite deposits. Oh the horror! Don’t do it!

Instead of throwing your body out of balance by restricting calories when it needs it most, resolve to get the off the junk food, and highly processed, chemicalized food. Get into the healthy habit of eating real food instead. Delicious foods that humans have enjoyed, and thrived on, for centuries include whole grains and grain products, beans, animal proteins and fats, vegetables from the land and sea, fruits, and nuts and seeds.

Improve the overall quality of your food and resolve to spend some money where it really matters; on naturally raised, organic and pesticide-free food that can help clean up the inside of your beautiful body.  This one resolution can set you up for a lifetime of good health. Supply your body with the best quality calories money can buy. You are worth it! Learn more about this in my latest book, Health is Wealth – Make a Delicious Investment in You!

The best time of year to diet and restrict calories is in the Spring. When the time comes, I’ll explain that more in depth.

In the meantime, here is a warming, Hearty Winter Minestrone to help keep you properly fueled and feeling fabulous.

Hearty Winter Minestrone

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