December 2012 issue – Weight off your mind

It’s now proven that unless the mind cooperates, the ‘eating right and exercising’ paradigm doesn’t work

December 2012 issue

It was while attending a world heavyweight contest in Las Vegas that Oprah Winfrey decided she needed to lose weight; she had to, she recalls—she weighed more than the winner!

That’s the nature of the devil called excess weight. It doesn’t spare anyone—not even if you’re the most influential woman in the world. No wonder weight loss is perennially a topic of great interest the world over. Two of our most successful issues over the past years have been on the topic—says a lot about the gravity and prevalence of the problem. Despite the magnitude, an increasing number of people on the planet are struggling to deal with their excess weight. What could be the reason?

Adnan Sami told Complete Wellbeing in an interview five years ago that 70 per cent of his weight loss effort was carried out in his mind. Yet, weight loss advice in popular media is mostly focussed on the purely physical/physiological aspects while paying a lip service to the role of the mind. It’s now proven that unless the mind cooperates, the ‘eating right and exercising’ paradigm doesn’t work.

Which is why revered Zen monk Thích Nhất Hạnh got together with Harvard School of Public Health’s Dr Lilian Cheung to outline the steps to achieve successful weight loss using the extremely simple yet powerful practice of mindfulness.

In our December 2012 cover story, the distinguished authors make a complete departure from the routine advice around weight loss. Using Zen stories and Buddha’s wisdom, they convince you that mindfulness is not just a spiritual practice to be tried in retreats—it’s a way of life that can help resolve even mundane issues such as weight loss.

Their fresh and firm perspectives will go a long way in supporting the intention of anyone struggling to lose weight. But even if you’re happy with your weight, don’t skip this one. It has many thought-provoking insights that will make you reflect and make far-reaching positive changes to your life.

Let me leave you with a funny story that I read in Reader’s Digest. It will drive home the importance of mindfulness for weight-loss.

Needing to shed a few pounds, Barbara Currie and her husband went on a diet that had specific recipes for each meal of the day. They followed the instructions closely, dividing the finished recipe in half for individual plates. “We felt terrific and thought the diet was wonderful—we never felt hungry!” said Barbara, “But when we realised we were gaining weight, not losing it, I checked the recipes again. There, in fine print, was ‘Serves 6’.”

Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri is a highly experienced wellbeing consultant. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1250 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed self-improvement book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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