The Inner Work Of Weight Management

Posted on July 8th, 2013 by in Healthy Living, Nutrition

InnerJobLike so many, I’ve spent most of my life battling the same 10 or 15 pounds, losing them with great pride only to gain the weight back again and berate myself for allowing it to happen. Recently, determined to make a change in the way I look and feel, I signed up for a fitness boot camp that involves regular weigh-ins and writing down every morsel you put in your mouth. I dread the pain and agony of the workouts, but I sure like the way I feel in my clothes again. I dropped 10 pounds in a little over a month.

Because I’m really watching what I eat these days, I’m especially interested in Annie B. Kay’s concept of “the inner work of weight management.” An integrative dietician, nutritionist at Kripalu, and Kripalu Yoga teacher, Annie knows the slippery emotional slope on which those of us with food and weight issues live.  Both weight loss and management are a process, she says. Sometimes we indulge–and it’s OK.

Instead of throwing in the towel when the scale begins tipping upward, it’s imperative to remind ourselves that we’re not miserable failures because we gained a pound or two. Have some self-compassion. Notice the triggers that cause you to order the four-cheese pizza instead of the salad, and then get back on the horse and resolve to eat more wisely.

Those of us who struggle with weight, Annie says, know that emotional eating is often at the root of weight gain. I know my tendency is to turn to sugar when I feel stressed out or sad, when I want comfort or feel alone. The inner work of weight management, according to Annie, involves asking ourselves what we’re really needing in those stressful, sad, and lonely moments. Do we need to do call a friend or do some deep breathing? Do we need to cry some tears or express our anger to the one we’re angry with?

And when we want to reward ourselves for an accomplishment with food, what could we reward ourselves with instead? A bubble bath? Movie night with a friend? A massage at the local spa?

We think losing and maintaining weight are only about the ratio of calories consumed to calories burned, but there’s a lot more to it. A little self-inquiry and a little self-compassion, Annie’s convinced me, go a long way toward keeping not just our bodies in healthy shape, but our minds and hearts, too.

Join Annie to learn more.

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About Portland Helmich

Portland is the creator, host, and producer of the Kripalu Perspectives podcast series. She's also is the creator, host, and executive producer of What’s the Alternative?, a series of 52 half-hour talk shows about natural and alternative forms of healing the body-mind on Veria Living TV, a natural health channel on DISH, FiOS, and Frontier. For 15 years, Portland’s been investigating natural health and healing as a host, reporter, writer, and producer. She's been an alternative medicine correspondent for Oxygen, a health reporter for The American Consumer on PBS, and was the creator, host, and executive producer of Journeys Into Healing on Wisdom Television. She produced for HealthWeek and Healing Quest on PBS and was a medical producer for WCVB-TV (Boston’s ABC News affiliate). She’s also covered the subject as a freelance writer for Body + Soul, Alternative Medicine, and Spa magazines. Portland currently lives in Boston and produces other natural health programming for Veria Living TV.
  • My Peace Of Food

    I have but have not finished a book called Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh that was recommended to me to explore why we want to eat certain foods (because we associate certain positive memories or sensations with them). Like iced coffee on a hot summer day (reminds me of when Starbucks first opened and we used to walk there for iced mochas!), ice cream out with the family (family time! kids! fun! care-free!), down-home Southern BBQ that takes us to backyard parties and easy socializing. I think if we did this individually with so many of the foods we eat, it would reveal a whole lot. (And you can enjoy the ice cream with your family…but a few bites will probably be enough once you start realizing it’s their company you’re after, not the mint chip!)

    • Portland

      Whenever I bite into a juicy peach or plum, I remember gobbling many of them during visits to my grandmother’s house in the summer. It’s usually sweets that I associate with sweet times … collard greens and daikon don’t seem to call up those feel-good memories. Wish they did!

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