At 30, I found myself with an autoimmune disease, overweight, and confused.
At my peak I was 100 pounds heavier than I am now. I had gained the weight slowly over ten years or so. I've always loved food, but I was disconnected from how it made me feel. And, looking back, I had many obsessive food behaviors. I ate when happy, when depressed, when bored...
I'd eat cheese as a snack before going to bed and wondered why I burped so much.
I drank a lot of coffee and twitched in my sleep.
I ate a lot. Some good food, some bad.
I tried to lose weight through exercise -- I ran 4 times a week or so while smoking 3-4 packs a day.
My weight bobbed up and down.
My knees hurt.
My sickness landed me in the hospital for a couple of weeks, followed by a few months of recovery. My near death experience highlighted my need for a spiritual life -- at the time, I had none. My legs were weak and I was completely out of shape. I needed to do something. I was grateful for being alive and wanted to continue that condition.
My girlfriend (now my wife) suggested I go to a yoga class with her -- so I went. I had no real desire -- no expectations for myself. The only thing I had on my mind was that a lot of women did yoga, so I probably would be out of place. I didn't know it at the time, but I was completely unattached to the result. I just did it.
It was fantastic.
I started doing yoga regularly and really felt it was changing me. I started to eat differently. Gained the willpower I had been lacking. As I physically opened myself, the weight fell into place.
My stress level lowered. How stressed had I been, anyway? I think I was in a constant state of stress.
I was not doing a strenuous practice. But I did it every single day. I have to admit -- I thought that's what everyone did. Like music lessons: I would go to class, learn some things, then try them at home. I didn't realize this wasn't always the case. Also, I wasn't a "natural." I couldn't sit comfortably. No range of motion. Things others did effortlessly, I considered impossible. But I did it anyway.
I put myself on a new eating regimen which progressed all the time. Got addicted to various foods, and unaddicted again. This time there was a difference. I was aware of it. By practicing yoga every day the awareness came. The desire for awareness came, too. I wanted to know more and more about food. How much and what did I really need to eat?
The pounds came off. My diet evolved into this beautiful thing. I got rid of most of my addictive behavior. I enjoyed my practice. I got into my spiritual self through reading and meditation. Just bowing at the end of my practice and thanking the universe for letting me be alive changed me.
I wrote this book after my own path to a peaceful relationship between me and my body had been cemented. In addition to my private teaching, I wanted to share my experience and new perspective with others who were in need of inspiration. It can be used as a stand alone guide - or in conjunction with any other mind/body/eating perspectives you find useful. The yoga and food practices are simple and promote a deepler understanding of ourselves. I sincerly hope that this book helps you down your road towards happiness.
Awareness of more subtle aspects of my health and nature continue to reveal themselves to me. A taste of peace can effect your entire self. Developing regular practice gave me that. That is how I lost the weight.
Now I continue on my path, sharing the little I discovered with others and trying to continue uncovering myself. I still have my food weaknesses. I still eat too much sometimes. I still stress sometimes -- but it feels different than before.
Many thanks to author Brandt for sharing his story and inspiring us in the new year. He has a book, CD and Dvd, Peaceful Weight Loss through Yoga. He also has a website at http://www.PeacefulWeightLoss.com which is worth checking out and you
can subscribe to his newsletter there. He teaches private yoga sessions in NYC and Northampton, MA.
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