A fresh look at New Year’s Resolutions?
Happy New Year to All!
2022 brings us a mixed blessing…. on one hand, we have an opportunity for a fresh start. On the other hand, we feel the weight of Covid fatigue more than ever as we approach the two-year mark of this world pandemic.
As turmoil continues to churn around us, we need to find an oasis within ourselves. We may not be able to change what is happening around us, but the good news is that we can shift our perspective.
In Yoga, this is called pratipaksham bhavananam. It is the ability to cognitively reframe a situation, so that we gain strength and purpose, and can continue to take action steps in a positive direction.
Each one of us has this privilege and duty.
Too often, our New Year’s resolutions are so grand, that we cannot help but fail. This simply adds more stress to our already complex lives…
The key to change is “digestible bites”. This means taking small steps towards our goal on a daily basis. Over time, these small steps add up to measurable change. And we don’t strain ourselves along the way.
What might this look like? I’ll share an example from my own life: losing my menopausal weight gain.
I’ve been on many diets over the decades, and all of them have worked for a while…. until they didn’t. I would fall off the wagon, overeat, regain the weight, and feel like a failure. Most of them had to do with restriction.
Now, I value health above all. I want to feel good inside AND I want to be healthy. Physically and emotionally.
A Yogic perspective on nourishing ourselves well, is to keep 1/4 of the stomach empty. This means a stomach that is approximately 1/2 full of solids and 1/4 full of liquids.
Let’s reverse engineer this, and look at some simple steps that support this goal.
For a long time, I didn’t know how to tell when I was approaching satiation; I would always rush past that point and find that I was stuffed. That did not work. In addition, it led to indigestion and bloating.
Now, I follow four simple protocols.
- I take a few moments before I eat, to become calm and settled.
- I chew slowly and thoroughly, and put my utensil down between bites, and
- I pay attention to “the first burp”, which tells me that my digestive system has all it can handle for that meal. That’s when I stop.
- I eat three meals, and do not snack in between them.
These simple rules come from Ayurveda, the “sister science” of Yoga. It is a common sense, natural way to find balance and harmony.
This approach works beautifully for me. It’s simple, and it has been life-changing. I feel lighter, and I definitely feel healthier. I have learned to value nourishment over restriction, and this is liberating.
And if I overdo at a meal (like at a holiday feast), I just start fresh at the next meal. Without beating myself up.
We need to be gentle with ourselves, as we implement new habits!
Perhaps the one New Year’s resolution we could all take on, is self- compassion. That goes a long way in these challenging times.
Here’s wishing you gentleness and health today and always.