Archive for Digestion

Advice from the Skillful Doctor

Question: I’m having so much trouble losing weight. I’ve tried every diet under the sun and while I can lose weight initially, I feel deprived and unhappy during the process and the weight comes right back. I’m so frustrated. Now, even the word diet makes me quiver.

Answer: You are not alone. Most people I see have at one time or another been on “a diet”. Very few are successful long term, in many ways, much like you have described. What I want you to appreciate is that there are three kinds of hunger: physical, emotional and spiritual. If you think about your “needs” that way, it will open your eyes to a new perspective. Next, you must also realize that the three types of hunger often get confused in our minds and, rather than understanding the distinction between each of them, we just feel hungry. Thus, if you are emotionally or spiritually wanting and cannot “feed” yourself effectively in those areas respectively, your only source of fulfillment for the sensation of hunger will be from the food you consume.  Indeed, overeating is often a response to unfulfilled emotional or spiritual hunger. Instead, imagine if you could address your emotional and spiritual hunger in a more skillful manner. This is the basis for a new approach to weight loss.  Working this way, there would be no reason for a diet at all, you will simply not need to eat so much and what you will desire will be more in line with what is really best for you as well.

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Consider This…Skillful Reflection:

While we are thinking about the moon cycles, what are some other cycles that we should honor? Cycles exist everywhere in nature, but our society has gradually drifted from a way of living that is supported by its rhythms. We eat when should be digesting; we are awake when we should be sleeping; we speed up when should be slowing down; and we spend when should be saving. We crave and cultivate wealth, power and privilege, which creates a cycle of working to make more money to buy more material things that we hope will make us happy, but rarely ever really do.

This vicious, man made cycle is at odds with natural rhythms both in our world and within ourselves. For in the process of doing all of this we strip the earth of its resources and we pollute our air and water. Falling out of balance with nature’s cycles leads us to poor health and dis-ease.  Those who feel or are disconnected from a vital source such as nature, family or community may overindulge in some manner to fill the void. Whether it is with food, drugs, sex or material extravagance, oSabverindulging inevitably leads to a never-ending cycle of fear and emptiness.

Here are some tips on paying attention to nature’s rhythms so that you can live a more balanced, skillful life:

  • Observe your own Sabbath: Adopt a “Sabbath” ritual that includes rest, activity and community. This does not need to be a “religious observance.” Our body, mind and spirit benefit from one day every seven to slow down.
  • Switch up your meals: Consume more at the onset of a meal, then see if you can slow down a little to digest and absorb your food. Eat less overall; many times we simply overwhelm our capacities.
  • Hold off on the guilt: In order to keep your metabolism stable, make it a rule not to guilt your friends and family, and ask them to do the same!  Emotional or physical stress induces a hormone releases which have significant effects on how our bodies function.
  • Find Sunlight…Anywhere: Our body cannot produce Vitamin D without adequate intensity and quantity of sunlight. Besides artificial light options, a supplement of Vitamin D3 might be useful here as well.

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