"The most profound act of kindness we can offer to ourselves and our body is to listen without judgment, especially when it comes to understanding our food cravings and our bodies"

Check out my article for Good Zing here : http://www.goodzing.com/articles/why-self-love-starts-with-what-you-eat

Source: http://www.goodzing.com/articles/why-self-...

 

I recently returned from a family trip to Amsterdam and Vienna, that in addition to wonderful art museums, composer's apartments, and explorations of both cities' dynamic history, included daily 3 to 4 hour-long family feasts with multiple courses and wine, followed by the sweet specialties of the region, usually both before and after meal time (apple strudel, ice cream, hazelnut torte-you name it!). 

A few days back in my NYC office, a client brought up her belief that she will always be "in recovery" from her eating disorder; always struggling to manage her eating, her desire to lose weight, and always working to prevent a relapse. 

Ten years ago, as I struggled with my own disordered eating, negative body image, and overexercise patterns, I would have believed the same. I didn't have anyone at the time giving me the message that I could actually live my life completely free of any possibility of relapse or have an identity outside of food and body where food was a nourishing yet neutral part of my life

In fact, at that time this type of family trip would have been a huge nightmare - overshadowed by anxiety about how much food I would "have" to eat in order not to upset my family, trying to figure out any possible way to avoid a meal, or skip family activities to seek out exercise (how boring is going to a hotel gym instead of exploring  a new city!?).  

Looking back on my journey to being fully recovered, I still have moments full of gratitude and awe. I am amazed at how easy and sweet meal time with my family is now, and how I can look forward to and enjoy ALL types of food without allowing food to become the center of attention. I am grateful to share precious time with loved ones with full presence, and breathe through conflict without turning to food (or lack thereof).

And perhaps most importantly, I now know how to honor my own body's needs, despite my Russian-Jewish grandma's lifelong mission for me to always eat more :) 

When food comments are made at that table, I can lean on my spiritual practice to help remind me to feel compassion towards that person who is likely struggling with him or herself. Over time and through trail and error, I have learned how to say both yes and no to food by connecting to the wisdom of my body. 

As I shared this with my client and hope to share with you, full recovery is absolutely possible for anyone committed to the path of healing.

And to stay on our path, yoga reminds us to seek the company of souls who help to elevate our consciousness and remind us to come back home to our heart. 

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending an incredible lecture by Dr. Claudia Welch, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an Ayurvedic practitioner and author of the renown book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness Through Ayurveda. 

Dr. Welch spoke to the ways in which most Western women constantly feel that what we do is "never enough" and that we have to constantly push ourselves to our edge. This constant pushing beyond what we actually want to be doing creates a context in which hormones go out of balance. Because nature always prioritizes survival over reproduction, our body reacts to this "never enough-ness" by producing a physiological stress response and pumping out high levels of cortisol and adrenaline. 

Furthermore, in order to produce this stress response, our body has to reduce the energy that goes towards production of essential sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone that nourish, build, and ground our body. Over time, this imbalance between yin and yang hormones drains our adrenal glands and puts our body into a state of depletion, leading leading to conditions such as menstrual irregularities, insomnia, anxiety. infertility, bone density loss, thyroid problems, etc. Sound familiar?

High cortisol levels also rob our body of vital nutrients and wreak havoc with digestion, which is why even the healthiest foods cannot be absorbed by a body that is in a state of stress. 

It's powerful to imagine that the root cause of dis-ease in our body is actually mostly coming from our mind!!!, which plays out a narrative of "never enough-ness". 

In other words, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have both a high stress lifestyle AND attain hormonal balance. So what can we do to start to bring more balance into our body, mind and spirit?

Dr. Welch supports the practice of reducing our level of busy-ness in order to actually live the life we want, which includes restful and nourishing activities such as spending time with girlfriends, practicing yoga, meditation, abhyanga (Ayurvedic warm oil massage), alternate-nostril breathing and the important practice of saying NO.

We also need to confront any shame/fear around slowing down and not being "productive". 

"The most important practice is spending time listening. There's a reason we're here and we keep not doing it. It's so bizarre that it takes courage to live the life we want to live"

 I hope these words from Dr. Welch help to inspire more room for slowing down, self-reflection and listening to the wisdom of your body and heart without judgment. Here's to living authentically and courageously. 

If you are interested in learning more on the topic of Ayurveda and Eating Disorders, I have posted an interview below with Dr. Claudia Welch and Chelsea Roff of Eat Breathe Thrive, a non-profit organization that prevents and helps individuals fully recover from disordered eating and negative body image through evidence-based programs that integrate yoga, community and service. 

Click HERE to listen. 

I feel very honored to have been interviewed for a Recovery Warriors podcast on yoga and eating disorder recovery.  Please listen by clicking the link below. 

https://www.recoverywarriors.com/anastasia-nevin/

"For Anastasia Nevin MS RD RYT yoga became a profound spiritual practice that helped her overcome an eating disorder and realize that we are not just a body, but we are spirits and we have souls. This appreciation and awareness awakened the calling to becoming a healer and a teacher. 

Full circle, Anastasia now helps others heal from their eating disorder by integrating nutrition therapy and yoga, the two things that helped her overcome her personal battle.  In this show, we talk all about yoga and the many deep lessons it can teach if you are willing to show up on the mat to learn"

 

Here's my latest post for Recovery Warriors!

You can link directly to the website here

As an eating disorder nutritionist, yoga therapist, and someone who is recovered, I believe that so much of recovery is about shifting out of our over-active mind and back into inhabiting and connecting to the wisdom of our body. Yoga is a spiritual practice that allows for this movement from Ego to Soul and Self. Even the simple practice of breathing into a mudra, a shape of our hands that calls upon a certain energy, can completely change how we feel. The sequence below is designed to help you practice making peace with yourself and your body by cultivating compassion and self-acceptance.