Mind those extra pounds?

April 18, 2016

Let’s say you’re trying to avoid sugar. And you’re at work one morning, when someone puts out that irresistible pink box of doughnuts. (Or a bowl of chips, or whatever your weakness may be.) ¶

It’s a common scenario — and likely pitfall — for anyone who is trying to eat healthier.

Here’s an uncommon solution from Instagram star Tiffany Cruikshank, author of the new book "Meditate Your Weight: A 21-Day Retreat to Optimize Your Metabolism and Feel Great."

"Before reaching out for the doughnut, ask yourself: ‘What do I really want? What am I really craving?’" Maybe the answer is: "Oh, I’m craving sugar. Am I missing some sweetness in my life?"

Taking that split second to think, to meditate, to possibly reconsider, might be the key to keeping your diet on track, she said.

"A lot of people are doing the right thing. They’re eating less, and they’re exercising, and they’re just not losing the weight the way they want to," Cruikshank said in an interview. "Meditation is the missing link."

Her new book urges people to take a 21-day challenge to meditate each day — even if it’s for as little as three minutes — to create more awareness about the internal forces that can drive us.

Daily meditations are followed by a "mind makeover" moment intended to raise awareness by jotting in a journal, and a daily mantra meant to be repeated a handful of times throughout the day, providing a touchstone moment to step back from the world at large, turn inward and just breathe.

Too often, Cruikshank said, people turn to food to numb their stressful, anxious feelings.

Going inside with meditation will help people take the first step — observing the feelings — and then identifying the negative patterns of eating.

"This challenge is about looking at what is behind the decisions you’re making over and over again."

Awareness may be all that’s needed to break these unwanted habits, she said.

The founder of Yoga Medicine — a consortium of yoga educators who specialize in anatomy and physiology — said her meditation challenge also aims to address the body image issues that are prevalent in a world where social media platforms bring out the inner critic. (This is an area she knows plenty about: Between her personal and professional accounts, she has more than 165,000 followers.)

"There’s this feeling that we can never match up to [what we see on social media], and that sets us up for a difficult road to self-love. The point is to recognize that tendency: ‘This is what I’m doing. That is me, tearing myself down.’"

By the way, Cruikshank says she’s totally OK with the occasion doughnut.

The problem, she says, is that too often we eat the doughnut — and are then miserable about it.

"To have dessert from time to time is a healthy thing. But that [pink] box may symbolize a lack of something else in your life."

"It also represents an opportunity," she says. "A chance to find out: ‘What is my body really asking for?’"



McClatchy-Tribune Information Services