Throw Away Your Health Goals, please!

Have you ever:
1. said to someone, “I’m on a diet”?
2. typed this into Google “how to lose weight in 5 days..”

Google Search -Lose Weight

3. have you looked at Before and After photos and thought, “yeah, I want to try that workout.”?
4. have you wished you enjoyed working out or was more athletic like that girl back in high school?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of them, then we have something in common and in this post I want to share with you something that changed my life.  I talk about it a lot in themes of my blog but probably not enough.

It’s literally throwing away setting ‘health goals’. It’s veering away from ‘I can do it’ with willpower.  It’s replacing this model of being a ‘goal-kicking achiever’ to being ‘willing’.  And then? No, ‘and then..’.   Yup, that’s it.  Just being ‘willing’.

This was how I started my talk at a recent workshop – Vision Casting & Life Strategies run by Fideliz Cruz.

I vividly recall the look in the audiences faces as I introduced this new concept of not having to ‘rely on your own willpower’  (not ALONE anyways) and replacing this concept with ‘faith’ and ‘willingness’.  There were confused faces, skeptical faces and raised eyebrows.  Until I showed them this….and then people were interested in what changed my life.

WillingnessOverWillpower

The left was when I was pregnant (I tried to find photos of post-pregnancy but I couldn’t find any. Surprise! And frankly it doesn’t make a difference because I looked practically the same) and the right was when my first born was 1 years old.

I was filled with willpower to lose my 25 kilos.  And I did it.  You see, I eat willpower for breakfast.  In fact, it’s my biggest enemy.  Because of this false sense of security, aka willpower, I have suffered from bulimia, anorexia, depression, anxiety and ended up in hospital many times in my life.  But at least twice for suicidal attempts.

My experience has told me that ‘willpower’ and kicking ‘health goals’ doesn’t sit quite right.  I’m sure some can relate, and others are like, “I kinda prefer to have your willpower.” And perhaps you sit on the other end of the spectrum, where you dream of your goals and never seem to be able to achieve them.

This is where I fault the system.  Relying on willpower sucks.

Willingness, on the other hand, is powerful.  It’s not judgemental.  It’s kinder.  It fits well for those who kick goals and those who don’t do so well with goals.  Either ways, we’re trying.  You can’t fail if you’re still trying, right?

Now, of course the questions is then, willingness to ‘what?’   I can’t answer that question for you but it must be something that is greater than your own being.  It must be sustainable.   Mothers can relate to this easily.  You are willing to sacrifice your needs for your children.

For me, it’s surrendering my willpower to control, to change things, to do things in My plan, My time,  My will ….to God.  You saw it coming, didn’t you?

Yup, here I am preaching again.  And get this.  I do it not because there is any specific gain.  It’s not a goal I’m kicking.   I preach because my life has changed since I’ve really picked up the cross and followed Jesus.  And I passionately feel it to share with you.

I’ve realised that He loves me in whatever shape, size or form I am.  He loves me no matter how many goals I kick or not.  There is no scoreboard.  In fact, because He loves me so much, it doesn’t matter if I put on a kilo or two every now and then.  He teaches me about balance and learning to love my body so that I am WILLING to treat my body with love and care.  Bring on a juice detox and do it with joy! Bring on a degustation and eat it with joy!  If you turn your eyes on Him, you’ll KNOW how important it is to stay healthy.

With this new lifestyle, I’m so thankful that my Vision is clear and my Lifestyle Strategy is rooted in a good place.  Everything I do, I turn my eyes to God and really trust in His health plan for me.  Not my own.

Today, if you’re wondering whether you could explore something different for your health goals, take time to ponder this verse from the Bible:

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,”  ~ Romans 17:14

Further to this, a genuine feeling of emptiness can sometimes be real and needs attention, too. Read more here.

 

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Yoga for Bulimia | Yoga Therapy

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[Edit: A few readers have been curious as to what inspired this post.  Usually for all my other therapy posts, I have a little blurb to introduce it.  And for this post, I had originally left it blank.  Why?  Because I wasn’t so sure I was comfortable in publicly posting this where it will be forever shared on the Internet.  Because I still carry a shadow of shame for my years suffering from bulimia and body image issues.  So I decided to leave it blank.  I’m not lying if I’m not saying, right?
But with a sigh of relief, I’ve been encouraged to share this.  I did. I was once a sufferer of both anorexia and then, recovering from that, bulimia.  On and off for 10 years.  But God worked His miracles, as He always does and He healed me.  Healing wasn’t easy but if you believe it will happen, it will.
Now that I’ve revealed this.  I can probably conjure up enough courage to share a little more but in another post.  All this post is about is how Holy Yoga CAN actually help in the journey of eating order recovery. And yes, I know how this feels.]
SPECIFIC ISSUE
BulimiaTHE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)

Particularly for sufferers of eating disorders, yoga can help relieve and bring healing to the sufferers.  Here we narrow the study into Bulimics – characterised by those who consuming large amounts of foods in a short amount of time, following by ‘purging’ either through self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives, commonly resulting from an overwhelming sense of guilt and fear of gaining weight after the excessive food intake.  Bulimics are frequently associated with other mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
A *study carried out in Australia showed that bulimics who engaged in a 12-week yoga program self-reported reductions in binge eating and increased their physical activity, and a small number of them saw reductions in BMI.
Firstly, the spiritual benefits of Holy Yoga for relieving bulimic tendencies is to help the sufferers find peace and comfort in Christ.  Starting from this pivotal change in belief can help bulimics realise or reduce the need to ‘purge’ after a binge-eating session through acceptance.  From there, they may find it easy to start relying on God’s grace and love for comfort in lieu of the need a ‘binge’ for comfort and satisfaction.
Different breathing techniques adapted to individual circumstances can help the sufferer learn to cope with anxiety.  Through deep breathing, which sends signals to the brain for the body to relax, it gives the sufferers an opportunity to reflect and face the root causes of their eating disorder instead of escaping them.  By addressing the deep-seated issues which are causing the disorders does the sufferer stand a chance of healing and recovering in a sustainable way.
Deep stretching and staying in a certain challenging yoga poses can help bulimics understand and deal with managing temptation.  By training the brain and body to find ways of adapting to a challenging situation, a bulimic can learn the techniques and coping mechanisms to manage the next bout of ‘binge’ temptation.

Most importantly, Holy Yoga promotes the importance of handing over the willingness to be healed over to God than the ‘willpower’ of our selves to change the habit, addiction or disorder.  Perhaps that willpower was the very culprit that got the bulimic into the disorder in the first place.  So, trusting the willpower is a risky choice.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

1. If diagnosed by medical practitioner as to having low blood pressure, avoid any reclining positions.
2. If suffering from reflux, avoid any poses that inverts the upper body such as standing forward fold.

3. If BMI is under a healthy range and protruding bones are causing pain in certain poses, seek advice from yoga therapist on how to modify poses or whether it is safe to participate.

15-30 MINUTE FLOW

1. Easy seated (Somatic Method -> Listen to your breath, Watch your belly rise and fall, Lengthen and deepen breaths)
2. Double pigeon -> Fold forward (Left & Right)
3. Easy seated (Somatic Method -> Clench fists/Release, Shrug shoulders/Relax ->  1 set of breath each -> Feel the difference)
4. Seated forward fold (Stay for 5 sets of breaths and resist temptation to ‘get out of the pose’)
5. Seated Open A (Stay for 5 sets of breaths and resist temptation to ‘get out of the pose’)
6. Bow pose (Open up the heart and chest and release any feelings of shame, guilt or anxiety)
7. Extended Childs Pose (Somatic Method -> Don’t ‘try’ just relax -> Imagery on the words ’surrender’ & ‘embracing’)
8. Hero Pose (Somatic Method -> Eyes closed and listen only for 3 sets of breaths)
9. Reclined Hero

10. Final resting in Reclining Supported Bound Angle (rolled up mat underneath the back at the bottom of the ribs but above the lumbar)

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/eating-disorders/truth-yoga-eating-disorders/
  2. http://www.sonima.com/yoga/yoga-eating-disorders/
  3. http://www.empowher.com/bulimia-nervosa/content/anorexics-bulimics-binge-eaters-yoga-can-help-studies-say
  4. *Study – 2009 School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19632546
  5. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/245537044_A_systematic_review_of_physical_therapy_interventions_for_patients_with_anorexia_and_bulemia_nervosa
  6. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6070/How-Yoga-Helped-Me-Recover-From-an-Eating-Disorder.html

*Disclaimer:
These suggestions offered in the Holy Yoga With LoveJosephine yoga classes or therapy programs on www.lovejosephine.com are not intended to replace medical recommendations by your medical practitioners. It is highly recommended and, in most cases, essential that you stay compliant to the treatment advice given by a western medical professional.
The suggestions and educational resource offered by Holy Yoga with LoveJosephine on www.lovejosephine.com are meant to be observed and used in conjunction with medical treatment. Neither the therapy programs nor yoga classes are designed nor recommended to replace medical treatment.

The resources offered here are intended to complement and support the medical treatment targeting the specified issue, with the goal of enhancing the well-being of the patient.