What is your body or rather your excess weight trying to tell you?

To my all patients, I keep reiterating the fact, “Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.” I am strong believer of the fact that if something is there in our life – could be a person, a situation or anything and it bothers us in some way – then may be it is here to teach us something. Like Pema Chodron says – “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

Is this not true about “losing weight” too? There so many fad diets, diet plans, diet foods and what not to make one “lose the extra weight”. We treat this excess weight in the body like an invader in our space, which we just want to get rid off. Did you once think where and how did you manage to pile on this extra weight? It definitely wasn’t injected in your system while you were sleeping – that you woke up next morning and you were twice your size! It was a gradual weight gain.

Can we once try and acknowledge that yes this extra weight is a part of me and if it comes back stubbornly no matter how many crazy diets I do, then may be its trying to tell me something? Our body is constantly talking to us, sending us messages, but the point is – are we listening? We keep ignoring what our body is trying tell us gently and thus we land up in a state where the body shouts out loud in the form of disease or weight gain!

Let me give you an example – busy watching the ‘game’ on tv late night with friends, you tank up on beer, pizza and chips. Next day morning being work day – you wake up tired, dehydrated, bloated, gassy, burpy and so on.. This was your body’s gentle way of letting you know of its discomfort. But what do you do when this happens – you now OD on coffee to feel kicked and silence the stomach by taking an antacid. Do you know what you just did? Imagine your child is coming to you crying because he hurt himself. Would you ask your child why he is crying or would you just stuff and tape his mouth to make him stop crying? Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? That is exactly what you put your stomach through.

WE abuse our system, WE eat mindlessly, WE put on the weight and now WE torture our body for being FAT! Silly, isn’t it? Just like in the previous example where we would ask the child – “tell me beta, what happened?” – can we ask our body that too? Can we really find out what is making us fat – despite our various attempts at “burning it”?

Excess weight here is trying to convey a message to you. If you kill the messenger – that is, if you actually do lose the weight but don’t understand why it was here in the first place – it returns. Don’t most people who do crash diets know this? There is no moral or personal failure here. It is not about eating less calories or switching to fat-free version instead of full-fat versions. We just didn’t listen deeply enough to what it was trying to tell us.

Trying to get rid of weight by “losing it” is like trying to get rid of paying a high electricity bill by shredding and throwing it out. Waah- phaado aur phekdo! Bill hi nahi toh pay kya karoge? The problem is though, when you throw out the bill, not only will you lose your electricity connection but also another one comes in the mail, and this time with a late fee. Throw that one away too and you just landed yourself in some serious mess.

Is it not just simple to pay the bill? The bill and the extra weight are here just to point to certain facts. The bill points to the fact that you use electricity in your house and you need to pay for it. Shredding and discarding it is of no use. Likewise, excess weight points to something else. To simply get rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is of no use

So finally – coming to the core question –   “What is this extra weight trying to tell me?” Each one may have different answer to this question, and below are just a few common and obvious ones. Being overweight can point to:

  • Our poor nutritional choices
  • Eating out of Emotional hunger – (https://whosayshealthyfoodaintfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/my-relationship-status-to-my-food-its-complicated-really/)
  • Unsatisfied emotional wants or needs
  • Suppressed and repressed feelings
  • Low self-esteem leading to unclear identity about self
  • A big need to be loved and wanted (chocolate satisfies these cravings often)
  • A vicious cycle of guilt eating and self-hatred
  • Mindless eating leading to disconnection from the body/ stomach
  • Emotional hurts or wounds
  • Emptiness
  • Financial worries
  • Creative blocks or suppressed creativity
  • Being un-true and dishonest to our own inner self
  • Revenge
  • Fear, anxiety
  • Stress, etc

Each one of these is like a wounded child. It needs our attention. We cannot avoid these or shred it like the bill or just lose fat by crazy exercise and diet routine. It is time we sit with ourselves, look inside of us, see what we are running away from, look and examine what we are trying so hard to hide. It is time we love, accept, honour and listen to what our body is trying to tell us, otherwise we will continue this cycle of putting on weight-losing it and putting it back on. I agree it is not an easy process. Looking at our wounds may not be a beautiful sight, but the only way out is through it.

We have tried the fad diets, the quick fixes. Did it work? Then why not muster some courage and face ourselves. Things may not be as bad as we think they are.

So – WHAT IS YOUR BODY OR RATHER YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT TRYING TO TELL YOU?

 

Rains and Pakora Cravings!

And its officially the Rainy season here 😀

The first drops of rain always bring a smile on our faces and we heave a sigh of relief – hoping that Picture-of-Mumbai-in-the-rains-Bombay-Monsoon-photo-4it will now cool the soaring temperatures

Bombay/ Mumbai is at its beautiful best during the rains! And the perfect way to celebrate this dreamy atmosphere around is to sit near the window – and not just watch the rains, but enjoy the soothing sound of rain, breathing deep – taking in the freshness of the air that only a fresh rainfall provides; watching children splash around in the puddles and making paper boats and rejoicing in the smell of fresh earth! Don’t we just want to sometimes just go out there and dance in the rain?

(Picture Courtesy – wonderfulmumbai.com)

To make it even more perfect – is to now sip on the hot mint-ginger chai with some fried yummies like pakoras or the king of Mumbai street food – Vada pav!! Don’t we all crave this? Did you know – it is not some silly fancy to crave these foods during rains – but there is an actual reason behind this. Our innate cravings that come from our gut have solid logic to them.

Most mothers know and some rather dread rains as they bring with it infections – both respiratory and digestive, fevers and various other issues. Why just children, don’t we also fall ill?

Now let’s talk logic – when or why do we fall ill? Why is it that some people fall ill more easily and others don’t? The reason is Immunity or the Immune system.

Immunity is the body’s natural defense system against illness and infections. Everyday several bacteria, virus and germs attack our body. Our body shows resistance against these attacks. This resistance level depends on how strong is our immune system. Strong immune system is a key for proper functioning of the body and to fight off most diseases. For staying healthy, our immune system should be really strong

Low immunity has become a major cause of concern today owing to changes in lifestyle and our eating habits! And one of the most overlooked reasons why our immune system collapses is insufficient calorie intake.

Be it at restaurants or at parties or in trains, anywhere for that matter – one of the hot topic for conversation includes counting calories and discussing our new discovered weight loss techniques or fad diets. So people want to avoid ‘the-so called-high-calorie’ food like the plague. And yesterday I overheard an even more fantastic gyaan (I am being sarcastic here!) – “we must never give our taste buds of anything that it wants.” And let me tell you – it did not come from a fit woman – rather from the exact opposite of fit!

Given that Aunty’s logic – means no garama-garam pakoras or vada pavs! And yes a pakka chance of catching flu or cold-cough and general dullness. Coming back to what I always say – our body or gut and our innate cravings are not our dushman (enemy)! Your body is not planning and plotting all the time to ruin your “weight loss” program!

In fact – we should revere our bodies for not reacting the way it should ideally have – for all the torture we put it through in the name of diet or exercise. Many people exercise as a way to punish their bodies for over eating. To them I would like to ask – did you eat the food or your stomach grew an arm and a mouth to eat it all! You were not mindful when you ate and you literally tortured your stomach into digesting all of that and if that was not enough you run like a maniac on treadmill to now burn it all off and punish yourself! Does this even remotely make sense? But so many people do this!

We should eat and exercise from the perspective of being FIT, HEALTHY and HAPPY and not to punish ourselves. And to be honest these punishing tatics never work – because most people who may have lost “weight” doing these things always put it back on!

Shouldn’t our diet and exercise plan aim to keep us fit for the rest of our lives? Or are we meant to yo-yo from losing weight and putting it back on? – and this seems to be like on a loop!

So again – your palate is not here to disrupt your your weight loss plans. It is only trying to protect your immunity – so that you do not fall prey to a whole range of infections. To provide the system with the adequate calorie surge needed to protect from bacterial and viral and other infections does our body urge us to eat fried food. And simply because it cannot speak in the formal way – do we end up craving for these.

To my thinking minds – tell me one thing – during summers does our body not quease at the thought of eating these same fried food! This is because our gut-feelings are intelligent enough! Give your body some credit.

So it is not you being crazy with your cravings and it has nothing to do with ‘control’ or ‘willpower’ as a few people feel.

There are essential fats, like in filtered groundnut oil – being rich in antioxidants (much more than your 1 cup of green tea) that help you fight free radicals and prevent illnesses and infections. These also make your skin glow and strengthen the roots of your hair. (Are we not told to oil our hair – when we face hair fall – same logic!)

And I am talking about the pakoras and vadas that you fry at home – so you know exactly what oil you are using and you will not re-use that oil – which happens outside!  And the craving for the ginger-mint chai with these is because ginger assists your intestines to break down fat and rids your stomach of gas. That way, your smart body has taken care of what-looks-like overindulgence too.

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(Picture Courtesy – http://goanewswire.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/chai-and-pakoras-at-grand-hyatt-goa-4)

So stop cursing your body – your cravings and your calories. Eat mindfully and eat in moderation and exercise right and you will find yourself enjoying your food and yet being Fit-Healthy and Happy!

Happy Eating 😀

 

Food for Thought – Are our Children Eating Right?

KidZania, Mumbai is simply fabulous! It is a child’s dream come true. Right from the concept to planning and execution to the designing and structuring – this place is FAB! Splendid execution of their philosophy of empowering, inspiring and educating kids through real-life role-playing activities. By blending reality with entertainment, KidZania provides an authentic and powerful developmental platform, preparing kids to understand and manage their world better.

Yesterday (4-Jun-14) was the first time, I visited this place and was totally in awe and in love with it. I wish I could be child again, just for a day to enjoy this place. It is a magnet-like place for kids. Kids being so impressionable take back not only wonderful memories but thoughts, inspirations and new ideas.

Though this place is perfect, I just felt one tiny bit missing. That while we are introducing children to such mind-blowing achievable ideas at this stage – we are completely overlooking the nutrition aspect of the foods being served there. Honestly, I love my pizzas or burgers or donuts – I am not someone to deny myself or someone else these foods, but I feel that from a place like Kidzania where kids learn so much consciously as well as subconsciously – it would be really awesome to give them these same pizzas, burgers or anything else – served more nutritiously. Let each meal be complete meal – with carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals (veggie portion)! We could have healthier soft drink options like nimboo pani (lime juice)! This way we look into their health aspect too! When a place like Kidzania would inculcate the right eating habits to a child – imagine how much are we teaching them! Eating right – when embraced since childhood can prevent issues like obesity and other related health conditions in the future – like heart disease or diabetes. While we are educating them on so many other things, why not food too! This is just my opinion.

( I sent out this as a mail to KidZania HQ – Mexico & received a wonderful reply from them, to which I am even more glad that yes – it matters and makes a difference when people are giving their best to provide better to kids world over)

(This whole experience made me get into trying out some interesting – yum healthy recipes.. Experiments on.. will post pics soon.. 🙂 🙂 )

As I was writing this as a blog post it struck why should just KidZania do this? Why not every school do this? Schools are where, as kids we have learnt the most – not just from books, but from our teachers, friends, not-so-dear friends 😉 but, yes, experiences and memories – lots of them! So, what if every school inculcates this culture of eating right from when the child joins school, I can only imagine – how fit a generation will be now looking at!

And why just eating right – why not thinking right too – where they are guided and nurtured through enjoyable, thought stimulating and creative activities to help develop their creative talents in a subtle way, with the wisdom that children need in order to trust their inner voice.  It helps them to develop their character, and enhances their social and creative skills.  What if they are also taught to love and accept themselves right from that age? Don’t we build our response or responding system to our current environment, based on our previous experiences, more so as kids? When a child is taught to be gentle with him or herself; support, love, accept and honour themselves – wouldn’t it be just amazing? This would be in the true sense of the words – “An All Round Development” of the child. Think about it!

Pic from KidZania –

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LOVING, ACCEPTING and HONOURING OURSELVES – Part 1

When consulting people on their diets or for “fat loss”, they point or rather pull or pinch parts of their bodies and tell me – “Doc, this bulge or this tummy or these thighs or these hips, etc etc are my problem areas. Just do something to these. Do some magic! Give me a magic pill – make it miraculously in shape. Make me look like so n so or make me look like that model”

And when people do this – it makes me cringe. Body is the temple in which our soul resides.

temple

Is this how we treat our temple and in turn our soul – our inner god/ goddess or the divinity that resides in each of us? What are we doing? Where are we headed? Are we turning into a generation where appearances make all the difference?

All our Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest shares are pictures or quotes asking us to “Love and Accept ourselves exactly the way we are” or “Be Happy in the Here and the Now”, then why are we not able to practice it in our lives. And when I asked this question to someone – she replied – “Doc, pakka promise I will love and adore myself and also be super-duper Happy – just let me lose some weight

So from this am I supposed to infer that – we as humans are not allowed to be happy or love ourselves in this moment – because something or the other is not right with our body or in our lives; because we don’t weigh right? Is our happiness conditional? Is our love conditional?

To this I have another question – most parents will be able to answer this. When a mother or a father looks at his or her own child – what do you see? Flaws or Love? When you can see love in your child, why not inside our own selves? Why is it so difficult to love and accept ourselves – in the here and the now? Why not respect and honour ourselves for where we are in our life today – for our journey – from where we were to where we are?

Think about it!

(So put your thinking-introspecting hats on this Sunday afternoon. Will be back with more on LOVING, ACCEPTING and HONOURING OURSELVES series)

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