I am not a nutritionist, I can only speak from my experience with my own battles of body weight and perfectionism. I used to go at 100 mph, I would work loads, work out loads, eat loads, and repeat that cycle every day, everything was extreme! That resulted in me being a fairly intense, non-relaxed, stocky individual – needless to say I wasn’t happy, content or calm, I was unhappy and pretty aggressive.
When I started to practice yoga, the lessons I learnt shifted my values, it felt a bit like growing up. I started to see that it was my mental state, my beliefs that resulted in my body type. It took me a long time to overcome the idea that I wasn’t ‘wasting my time’ doing yoga rather than spin / hit / running (see ‘Why I started yoga’ blog), but crippled by grief and burn out, my body gave me no other choice (I now thank my body and the universe for that hard lesson), and slowly and steadily I began to enjoy exercising in a way which was kind to myself, and from there everything changed. Not only are the poses nurturing and feel amazing (even in the tough poses, it feels like your body wants it) the dialogue during yoga classes taught me to swap my negative thinking for positive acknowledgements, so I stopped beating myself up and started seeing all the amazing qualities I had. When I started to practice that off the mat, I actually started to love myself (I’m absolutely not embarrassed to say that). I saw everything I had accomplished, overcome, all the work I had done on myself, despite the odds, and I felt proud of who I was. I loved myself unconditionally, rather than only being able to love myself if I had a six pack. That’s when I started to feel content, or in other words satisfied, and I can now see a direct correlation with my ‘contentedness’ and my diet. When I am satisfied emotionally, I don’t feel hungry. When I am dissatisfied, my brain seems to get confused and tries to make me feel satisfied or ‘full’, so I comfort eat to try and make myself feel better / content / full. Binge eating then makes me feel worse and so the cycle begins. I see peoples’ bodies change shape through yoga, yes because of the challenge of the physical practice, but the greatest shifts come from those who are open to shifting their mind, and then they don’t have to diet, they just don’t want to eat badly, because they want to continue to nurture their body, not harm it. They value health over appearance – and in our society today, that can be hard!