Using Your Intuition for Lasting Weight Loss
by guest contributor, Paige Burkes
I used to think that I had to follow rigid diet regimens and exercise programs to lose weight and get in shape. In the early days I measured my food and counted calories (I can get a bit anal with this stuff). I calculated how many calories I ate and how many I burned in every activity throughout my day.
I would get so focused on “getting it right” that I never noticed whether the whole program was “right for me.” Some programs seemed to work better than others but I usually ended up back where I started – with both my weight and frustration level.
After years of this, I realized that most of these programs weren’t meant to be maintained on a long-term basis. They were too focused on a small group of foods to completely feed my nutritional needs. I either didn’t like what I was eating or wanted more variety but variety meant “cheating” and I didn’t want to do that.
I also realized that none of these programs were made for me and my individual physical, nutritional, lifestyle and emotional needs. No wonder they didn’t work.
Instead of continuing the insanity of following more programs not designed for me, I decided to take responsibility for my own health, weight and well-being.
I did extensive research on health, nutrition, foods, medicine, traditional and alternative therapies and various types of exercise. My husband and I were our own guinea pigs. We learned the science behind how and why all the programs I had tried did or didn’t work. As part of our learning process, we slowed down and began noticing how different foods made us feel in the short term as well as the long term.
It’s one thing to read about the negative health consequences of eating lots of “white foods” (processed wheat flour, rice, potatoes, pasta, refined sugars, etc.) and another to feel it in our bodies as well as the effects on our emotional well-being.
I learned how to simply look at food and feel how it would make me feel before it passed my lips.
For example, pasta and fresh bread were some of my favorite foods and I ate them often. As part of my experiment, I removed these from my diet for a few weeks (a very difficult thing to do) replacing them with more fruits and vegetables.
When I ate them again at a wonderful Italian restaurant, I felt like I had swallowed a lead balloon. The taste was exquisite but I felt horrible for hours. Lesson learned. From that point on, whenever I looked at a delicious loaf of fresh bread or plate of pasta, my brain would think “Delicious!” but my True Self knew better and said “No thank you.”
I did the same kind of experiment with red vs. white wine. I used to be exclusively a chardonnay drinker until I noticed that it turned me into a cranky witch after about a half glass. Red wines didn’t have this effect on me. Now I only drink reds.
By combining what I had learned about health and nutrition with a more mindful approach to eating, I began to understand that my True Self, my intuition, always knew what was best for me. I simply had so slow down and quiet my monkey mind and emotions long enough to listen.
The Pull of Emotions
By being more mindful of the foods that served me, I also became more aware of the thoughts that were coursing through my head telling me what I should or shouldn’t eat based on my fleeting emotions.
Feeling sad or depressed? Gorge on comfort foods.
Feeling stressed? Mindlessly eat salty, crunchy foods.
Feeling under-appreciated? “Reward” myself with plenty of decadent sweets.
But every time I indulged these emotions, I felt worse physically and emotionally in the long term.
Slowing things down again, I learned how to address my emotional needs in ways that served me instead of looking for a quick cover-up.
I took responsibility for my own emotional desires rather than waiting for someone or something to do it for me.
The Joys of Movement
When it came to exercise, I was far from consistent. I would take a walk and tell myself that I should do that every day but never made the time. Or I would go to the gym for a week, telling myself how good this was for me only to never return after that first week.
Then I found yoga. I knew nothing about it so I went to the bookstore and got a couple books and a video. I started small with simple, deep breathing and some easy poses. Feeling better by simply breathing fully and being mindful of how my body felt with each movement had me hooked.
I noticed that the “bad back” I had for decades didn’t bother me anymore. I noticed how the self-awareness in my yoga practice had shifted into other parts of my life. I began to see how my moment-to-moment choices added up and affected my life. I also noticed that my body yearned for yoga on the days that I didn’t practice.
I had found the form of movement that worked for me.
While yoga may or may not be what you’re looking for, know that there is something that will make your unique body and soul sing.
I hate to call these things exercise because the word “exercise” carries so many negative connotations. I prefer “movement.” How can you move your body in ways that feel good to you on a consistent basis? Maybe it’s one thing or maybe it’s a variety of things. Once you find the movement(s) that work for you, it will be much easier to make time for them because you know you feel good whenever you practice them.
A New Beginning
The key is to find what works for your unique body in this phase of your life. Your body changes. Your lifestyle changes. The ways that you move your body will change too. Listen to your intuition and allow those changes to flow.
Trusting my intuition to guide me in what, when and how much I eat and how I move my body has made it infinitely easier to maintain my ideal weight and have plenty of energy throughout my day.
Keeping all that I’ve learned over the last decade to myself would be a huge disservice to everyone looking to get off the diet-and-exercise merry-go-round. That’s why I created a program that anyone of any age can use to help them create the happy, healthy body they’ve always yearned for. The Mindful Body program uses mindfulness to help you identify the most effective way to achieve and maintain your ideal weight and your ideal body. It’s much simpler than you think.
Do you struggle with your weight? What has been working or not working for you? Ask Paige for advice!
If you enjoyed this post please share it with friends on Twitter, Google+ & Facebook. Thank you!
P.S. Learn how to easily tap into your intuition – click here!
Paige Burkes inspires her community at Simple Mindfulness to see the world in a new light through mindfulness. Download her FREE Mindful Living Guide to discover the simple steps you can take to create more joy, peace and happiness in your life. Check out her new Mindful Body Program, a comprehensive program that uses mindfulness to transform your health and generate more happiness.
Picture credit: Losing Weight (Photo credits: www.mydoorsign.com)
”It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our bodies that the ‘I Am,’ our real presence, can awaken.” –G.I. Gurdjieff
Today I am thrilled to bring you an interview with Intuitive Body Mentor, Lisa Claudia Briggs of IntuitiveBody.com. Lisa facilitates spiritual healing via her unique therapy process to clients locked in the grips of emotional overeating.
1. Please give us some info on your background.
I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Connecticut College, and a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from Boston College. I spent many years at a Harvard psychiatric teaching hospital, on both the inpatient and outpatient children’s units working with children and families. I also worked at a Women’s state prison on the Psychiatric Crisis Team. I was a licensed Clinician for almost 20 years, and became very interested in trauma and how it was ‘stored’ in the body. The last 10 years I’ve trained with healers and intuitives and spiritual thought leaders so my work is now very integrative/holistic.
”Within my body are all the sacred places of the world, and the most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body.” —Saraha
2. How did you go from being a conventional therapist to creating Intuitive Body.
There came a point when I started to see that trauma and other experiences were stored in the body and that talking alone as a healing modality wasn’t enough- people got stuck in their intellect and were disconnected from where the pain was.. in the body. There was an expression in the trauma field “The body knows”.. I was also studying with a teacher for 4 years who kept telling us to “get back in our bodies” (out of our heads/intellect). It really began to reshape the way I worked with my clients and the way I thought about healing and processing experiences. I had my own issues with my body and overeating for many years, and specialized with women with similar issues.. and as I learned what was healing for me personally, it translated into my work with women into IntuitiveBody.
”The body must be nourished, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We’re spiritually starved in this culture-not underfed but undernourished.” —Carol Hornig
3. What issues does your practice address?
Women typically come to me via the gateway of body /weight/or eating issues.. but from my perspective that struggles with these are often due to a sensitive/empathic nature.. Intuitives, empaths.. we are more likely to absorb the emotions and energy of others and this can create problems with eating and weight..This perspective and the approaches I use with clients are very different than most eating/weight “specialists”.
”The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body.” —George Sheehan
4. Is there a common or primary problem or challenge that you see repeated over and over regarding body issues as related to intuition?
Yes.. definitely. The themes that show up consistently have to do with taking on too much emotionally, people-pleasing, caretaking and over-nurturing others, boundaries that don’t protect the individual well enough, perfectionism (basically feeling that nothing is good enough, things have to be perfect, procrastinating or not being able to get things done because they won’t be “perfect enough”…) and relationship themes that can come from having somewhat narcissistic mothers- where the daughters felt it wasn’t safe to shine too brightly. Also not really knowing how to find pleasure because they are pushing themselves so hard.
”There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.” —Friedrich Nietzche
5. What are some of the signs that someone may not be fully connected to their body?
I think the struggles with weight and eating or body hatred are all signs.. women are disconnected from their bodies and what they feel because the body wars take up a lot of space. They may be disconnected from what they feel or they may feel way too much and be incredibly vulnerable emotionally and not know how to stay grounded and balanced.. not know how to stay safe in their bodies. They may get injured a lot, or seem somewhat “clumsy”. Those are some examples.
“The physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.” —Deepak Chopra
6. Can you give us some tips or an exercise for how we can reconnect to our own body?
First of all people don’t always want to reconnect.. being connected means you are going to feel things that might be painful..Which is often why there’s been disconnection to start with.
One easy and gentle way to “come into” your body is to put one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. Just feeling the warmth of your own hand on your heart will naturally encourage you to take a deeper breath.. always a good thing. It’s also comforting.. like a laying on of hands.. healing touch.. even though it’s your own hands. Having your hands on your heart and belly also get you to drop your attention into your body, out of your head where you may be spinning with thoughts.. and down into your core where you can just breathe for a minute or two and allow yourself to settle. This can be very quieting and grounding and very quickly sends out very different signals to your nervous system and actually changes your hormones and chemical profile.. in ways that are really good for us.
Another thing you can do when you feel overwhelmed and disconnected or in a spin emotionally (another sign of disconnect) is to come into “present time” in a really simple way.. Gently press the soles of your feet into the floor, rub the palms of your hands together.. look around and name what you see.. “there is my window, there is my chair, I see a tree outside, I feel the softness of my sweater”.. all of this coming into the moment, through your senses is a simple way to reconnect.
“Think with your whole body.” —Taisen Deshimaru
7. What different services/products do you offer?
I love to offer an initial complimentary consult if somebody thinks they might be interested in working with me. I offer intensive individual mentoring for women that want a different and powerful approach to end the body wars.. That have tried it all and want to go deeper and really get it done, find peace, learn the techniques that work with a mentor that is devoted and really gets it. I also have a home study digital ebook called “Recovering Beauty” that people love and always write to me saying they feel like it was written just for them.
”If you want to find the answers to the Big Questions about your soul, you’d best begin with the Little Answers about your body.”
8. How can readers get in touch with you?
I’m easy to reach via either my website contact http://www.IntuitiveBody.com, email me at Lisa at IntuitiveBody dot com, I have a Facebook page www.Facebook/IntuitiveBody and I am @IntuitiveBody on Twitter. I have lots of information and articles on my blog and people can also start just by signing up for my complimentary ebook ” The Energy of Weight Loss: 7 Essential Secrets”.
“There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it.”
Elizabeth A. Behnke
Do you have questions for Lisa? Are you comfortable in your body? Could body issues could be holding you back in your life?
If you enjoyed this post please share it with a friend. Thank you.
P.S. Learn to hear your intuition and inner wisdom – click here.
Lisa Claudia Briggs, MSW and founder of the website and blog Intuitive Body is a veritable treasure trove of healing wisdom. She’s a Harvard-trained psychotherapist, eating disorder specialist and sacred streetfighter for gifted, sensitive & empathetic women. With her medical-meets-mystical approach, she guides women through highly-individual rites of passage — over the coals of their own personal firewalks. Lisa also wrote “Recovering Beauty: Sacred Rituals For Clearing Emotional Weight” with a foreword by Hay House author, Denise Linn. Lisa and IntuitiveBody shows women struggling with weight and body-related issues simple sacred solutions for living beautifully in their bodies
Photo: © vgstudio – Fotolia.com