Empowerment Eating weaves Ayurvedic nutrition, meditation, mindset work, movement, purpose, and cooking into a synergistic program to help you make your big breakthrough…finally! Experience a Slimmer, Stronger, Smarter, Clear, Confident and Creative You! Let’s get started!
I was a slightly chubby as child but never embarrassed or particularly aware of how I looked. When I was twelve we moved to Italy for 2 years. Six weeks before the end of that fabulous and formative experience I caught sight of myself in a full length mirror. I was aghast to see how much weight I had gained – too many Toblerone chocolate bars during my year in Switzerland; too much gelato from the cafes along Roma’s Via Veneto. In my mind I had always imagined returning home as a sophisticated, cultured, worldly young woman. That’s not the image the mirror reflected back to me. What it showed, instead, was a fat fourteen year old. Yes, f-a-t.
On the spot I determined to go all out to attain my desired look and created a food plan to transform myself: no more dining on the fresh pastas our cook, Rosa, made daily; no more gelato, no more cola, no more cookies, no more candy. I ate eggs and fruit for breakfast, picked through the school lunch, and had Rosa serve me extra vegetables and salad for dinner. In addition to wanting to return home svelte and chic, I also wanted to fit in with my peers, so I got some records and practiced dancing for 2 hours every night. OMG guess what?? – I lost 25 pounds in the next 35 days!!! It felt so good. I was able to return home, looking and feeling like who I wanted to be.
I loved being thin. And I love understanding the factors that drove my weight loss and have continued to sustain it through three pregnancies, a difficult divorce, and the many life challenges most of us go through. The visible factors for my weight loss were:
- Sticking to a no flour, no sugar, no eating between meals diet
- Doing lots of fun and easy aerobic exercise every day.
The invisible factors for my success were:
- Having a clear and strong intention. This was my strongest success factor.
- Never feeling deprived. I didn’t feel I saying “no” to anything I wanted; I was saying “yes” to what I truly wanted. It was exciting to be on a mission!
- Being aware of my gremlins. I recognized the sneaky ways temptation would try to derail me. When I felt a clash of impulses, I made sure my clear and strong intention prevailed.
- A compelling feeling of lightness. I loved sensing a new spaciousness around my middle. At times I would find myself twisting and turning at the waist just to feel how thin and fluid I had become. This was my second strongest factor.
- Paying attention to my inner guardian. I developed a built in warning system that alerts me to even a 2-3 lb. weight gain. It doesn’t make me compulsive; it just keeps me on track.
When I went off to college I got my first modeling assignment. It was a full page editorial photo for Mademoiselle magazine. Seeing myself in print provided reinforcement to keep uptake good work. I continued modeling off and on for the next 7 years.
I met my meditation Teacher just as my marriage was breaking up and in 1983 went to India to live in her ashram for 6 months. While I was there I had my first encounter with Ayurveda, India’s 5000 year old indigenous healing science. Without a noticeable cause or any warning I stated experiencing intense leg pain while standing. An ashram friend encouraged me to see Dr. Bhat, an Ayurvedic Brahman priest. I went, and without giving me the chance to tell him why I had come he sat me down and began reading my pulse. He was focused and silent, lifting his middle three fingers up and down, tapping my wrist as though he were playing a trumpet. When he finished his examination he told me why I had come! He also discussed another imbalance in my system, which was related to emotional causation. I felt awe and gratitude at the depth and breadth of his diagnosis. He sent me off with a three weeks supply of tiny herbal pills and practically overnight the pain in my legs disappeared. Wow!
Seven months after I returned I noticed a growing lump on my thyroid. My doctor tried to get a biopsy, jabbing my neck 4 times without success and without novocaine! He didn’t get a fifth try. I excused myself, and drove home. I longed for the gentle and accurate diagnosis of an Ayurvedic doctor and even considered returning to India to see Dr. Bhat. That would prove unnecessary. Miraculously, the next day I walked into my rural Connecticut health food store just as the owner was unpacking a large shipment of books. One of them was, Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing by Vasant Lad, MASc. I bought the book and finished reading it the next day. The back cover informed me that Vasant Lad had recently established an Ayurvedic teaching institute in Albuquerque. Without hesitation I called to ask if I could come to New Mexico to see him. Miraculously he told me he would be in Philadelphia in 10 days and asked if it wouldn’t be easier to see him there! He read my pulse, again with three fingers, examined my tongue, and palpated the lump. Sweetly and reassuringly he told me not to worry about what he referred to as a 2 inch tumor and said he would help me. He suggested several changes to my diet, discussed best lifestyle practices, and sent me a number of herbs to take orally. Miraculously, the tumor dissolved and disappeared in four and a half months. I am eternally grateful that this ancient system is still being practiced.
In 1993 I left New York and a lucrative career as a faux finishes artist and moved to Albuquerque to study with Vasant Lad. My intention was to understand diet and nutrition though the lens of Ayurveda and create workshops to share the wisdom that was continuing to be so helpful to me. People were getting fatter in ever growing numbers. The market responded with Nutri-System’s meal replacement milkshakes, Weight Watcher’s point counting system and weekly meetings, and Jenny Craig’s program of prepackaged foods. How could these businesses help their customers over the long haul without providing real nourishment, real satiety, or a relaxed and unfettered mindset about eating? No wonder 95% of diets fail. My vision was to combine my personal experience of sustained weight loss with Ayurveda’s understanding of perfect health, nourishment, and digestion in a multi-media, experience-rich event.
To support my vision I decided to get a Master’s Degree in Training and Learning Technologies at the University of New Mexico. I loved designing and scripting my signature project, a 3 day workshop called, “The Once And For All Diet”. As I would write, a flood of creative ways to communicate my message would come to mind. I imagined innovative audio and visual effects and realized how much importance and joy I attach to both the the integrity of my message and its effective and creative expression. However, I never followed through with my vision because while in school I designed and patented a line of ergonomic meditation cushions and bed pillows which I sold wholesale and online. Customers loved my products. The pillows even had a brief run on QVC. In the excitement of market acceptance, I let myself get distracted and allowed my vision to be derailed as I slipped tail-end backwards into a 10 year business that I liked but never loved.
Now I am refreshing my desire to create a weight loss program that works. It is no longer being called The Once and For All Diet because the word “diet” has too much resistance, disappointment and failure attached to it. My programs is called Empowerment Eating because I now understand that the only way to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off requires engaging every aspect of your being in the endeavor, not just your gut and your glutes. It requires making a paradigm shift; a letting go of the mistaken self-perception that has eclipsed your true identity. It requires manifesting the magnificent qualities that have always been yours but that got squashed in the mix of childhood pain and social conditioning.
For hundreds of years Western culture has revolved around a mechanistic model of the human being, Only recently has the body-mind-spirit connection been given scholarly attention and acceptance. You have never been a human machine, made up of disconnected or even warring, interchangeable or even disposable parts. You have always been a magnificently integrated individual made up of intelligent, interconnecting systems, a network of cooperative, information sharing, accurate and intelligent. This means that when you move towards wellness in one aspect of your life your life “moves with you”, opening to a synergistic upgrade.
The information, exercises, and practices of the Empowerment Eating program will help direct your intention and attention to nourishing your body with healthy foods, your mind with knowledge, wisdom and a positive mindset, and your spirit with determination, trust, and the clear vision to become who you were born to be: Slimmer, Stronger, Smarter ~ Clear, Confident, Creative
Reclaiming your optimum weight and wholeness requires an integrated, holistic system rooted in holistic systems and practices proven to be effective. Empowerment Eating draws from:
✧Ayurveda ✧ Meditation ✧ Yoga ✧ Psychology of Behavior ✧ Personal Experience