I read voraciously (as well as my sons and Mister) and in our family room I have a (filled) basket of books that our family is currently reading. I have had “What Are Your Hungry For?” by Deepak Chopra on my bookshelf since Open House at Random House so when I saw Queen Latifah post this on her Facebook page, it was that gentle reminder to finish reading!
After promoting the mind-body approach as the key to lifelong well-being worldwide for thirty years, Deepak Chopra focuses on the huge problem of weight control in America with exciting new concepts. What Are You Hungry For? guides those on their healthier living journey to bring weight under effortless control by linking it to personal fulfillment in every area of your life. I was excited to delve into this book and find solutions on permanent weight loss, well-being, and lightness of soul. After attending Goddess on the Go last week, I have had quite a few words circling my mind–abundance, fulfillment, awareness, happiness, desire. There were huge obstacles that led to my weight gain in the past and awareness is now key.
“If you stop focusing so hard on diet and calories, the story of overweight in America is the story of missed fulfillment. We have the best foods in the world at our disposal, but we gorge on the worst. We have blessed opportunities to grow and evolve but instead we feel empty….The solution is simple but profound: To lose weight, every step of the way must be satisfying. You don’t have to psychoanalyze yourself: you can stop obsessing about your body and dwelling in disappointment and frustration. There is only one principle that applies: Life is about fulfillment. If your life isn’t fulfilled, your stomach can never supply what’s missing.” – Deepak Chopra
The first few pages of the book resonated with me. My mother practiced flexatarianism and veganism before it was main-stream. We had an organic vegetable garden in our backyard and we didn’t consume much processed foods. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started eating red meat regularly. Last month, I challenged myself to not eat meat for a week. Trust and believe it was hard but then I remembered that I was not raised to eat meat and that I could resist for a week. In addition to this, I did not imbibe (drinking water all day!), eat any pastas, potatoes, or fried foods. The week was like a clock had been re-set–yes, I had lost weight but my overall well-being had changed as well. I was proof positive that it changes you physically and spiritually.
Deepak Chopra describes how he adopted the ideal diet–eliminating all processed foods eating as natural or organic as possible, no alcohol, no fermented foods like cheese, no white sugar, cut back on salt, no red meat (mostly eating chicken and fish), and drank pure water while paying attention to getting proper sleep. Yes, this sounds IDEAL! Called “awareness eating”, Chopra was eating in tune with his body creating increased energy. However, Chopra asserts that “being a rigidly good eater who follows a set of rules and never deviates isn’t a happy situation either.”
I don’t believe in dieting. Yes, I follow Weight Watchers and track what I eat but it is a lifestyle change. I am not told what specifically what to eat but given pointers, advice, and recipes. Unlike a diet, I don’t have a desired goal (weight loss, certain clothing size) but to be HAPPY, HEALTHY, and FABULOUS. I’m not struggling against my hunger or fighting for self-control. However like so many I fall off and there is what I believe is a disconnect with the messages that connect mind and body. I need to FIND MY FULFILLMENT.
[pullquote]Awareness is the key to weight loss, once you train yourself to notice the natural signals present in the body at any moment. It takes time and repetition to cause long-term imbalances to shift, but they will. You are the choice-maker who can create any change you desire. [/pullquote]
To do so, Chopra says, you must nourish your body with healthy food, the heart with joy, compassion and love, the mind with knowledge, and the spirit of equanimity and self-awareness. Why is all of this so hard? Simply stated–the natural goodness of food. Food is GOOD! It’s hard for us to determine between short term pleasure and long-term pain. I overeat to make up for a lack of something. This book showed me says to satisfy myself by not eating my emotions by filling a hole. Life is about fulfillment.
As someone who has battled depression my whole adult life, I understood that depression is a trigger for overeating. I also know that loneliness (when my sons are at school and I am working from or my husband is away on business travel), rushing (I feel like I am “on” the go 20 hours a day), tired (sleep is a luxury at this point) and being in front of the computer (my work is done mostly in front of my laptop) triggers overeating. I also have feelings of unattractiveness, anxiety, and stress. My action steps are that I must notice my triggers before I eat. In the past I successfully did well with menu planning and setting alarms on my phone reminding me when to eat a meal, snack, and make sure I am hydrated. Definitely a note to self to do this again!
Throughout the book, Chopra advises to get back to healthy eating. We should not deprive ourselves thus creating another hole. Sad, lonely, and starving?!! Don’t sign me up. It has been a battle to stop obsessing about food, controlling my eating, and being overweight. I am on the path as Chopra describes as “increasing your awareness”. Being away of your body, of your emotions, and of your choices will bring your brain into balance naturally without effort.
So, I agreed to take the 30 day mind-body program outlined in the book! I plan on nourishing myself on every level to create my ideal body through conscious choices. I will make healthy choices and limit FLUNC (Frozen Leftover Unnatural Nuked Canned) foods in favor of fresher foods with more life force, or prana. I also want to cook more with ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, peppers and garlic. I eat these often but these have healing properties and addressing imbalances. I hope this program helps with stress eating and getting a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow starts a seven day meditation. I will read and spend the time to practice that day’s meditation.
I also look forward to trying some of the recipes for purity, energy, and balance like the tofu scramble, curried vegetables, Goddess greens with gorgonzola, and the Chopra’s Center Unbelievable Double Chocolate Cake. Be still, my eager tummy and soul!
Interested in reading the book…check out the excerpt here.