stillpoint yoga

yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn Fraser
in the Himalayan Tradition of H.H. Sri Swami Rama


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Weighty Matters

Lynn Fraser, 1998

When I was 18, I weighed 120 pounds and thought I was grossly fat, especially in the thighs.  Nine years ago and almost twenty years later, I weighed 250 pounds. For the last five years, I have weighed 150, give or take 5 pounds. 

I dropped 50 pounds over the period of a year, mostly by adding walking to my life, and stabilized at 200 pounds for another two years.  Then I added healthier food choices, addressed my candida problem, increased my exercise and dropped another 50 pounds over a year. I can’t claim to have solved all my issues around eating but I know a lot has changed.  Why?

 It started with truly accepting myself as I was.

The fat liberation movement was a piece.  I gained awareness around being judged for size. I accepted that I am a good person no matter what size I am.

I moved through the defiance stage of I’ll eat what I want and the heck with what you think and started coming to terms with how I really felt about my body.  At a feminist workshop on body image, I was shocked  to realize that I, at 250 pounds, felt more accepting of my body than the ‘normal’ weight women in the room. When I stopped judging myself, I could admit that my relationship with food and my body were not healthy or helpful to me in the long term.  

The weight of judgment and self condemnation is a heavy burden.

I started walking my dog a few times a week and discovered I liked to walk.  Was she surprised!  I found a bicycle that had a big enough seat for me and started riding to work along the river.   One day I got caught in a rainstorm while cycling and got soaked to the skin.  I was in my late 30’s and  hadn’t been wet like that since I was 13 because I was rarely outside except for in a car or on the deck at the cabin!   What I was missing! 

I’m still working on my ‘issues’ around food but now its in the context of yoga. I observe my mind and choices as I move through the day.  I begin to understand why I make the choices I do.  I try not to distract myself with reading while eating.  Yogis recommend chewing each bite 32 times. That is a huge mindfulness practice on its own.

My teachers remind me again and again to practice ahimsa with myself. Self condemnation and judging are huge barriers on the spiritual path and to joy in daily life.

Yoga meditation has taught me to pay attention.  By observing my thoughts and emotions and how they are linked to my habit patterns, I become a friend to myself. 

 I’m not a bad person because I occasionally 
make a not so healthy food choice.

I remind myself that I got down to 150 pounds by making healthy choices 95% of the time.  95% is all I need to do to maintain my health. Every time I stride down the path or cycle up a hill and feel the energy coursing through my body I am thankful. As is my dog!






Shreya and Preya are two yoga terms which relate to this topic.  Shreya means pleasant and preya means beneficial.  There was an interesting study done about children and marshmallows. Children who were able to postpone gratification (they got more if they did) were found to do better in school, go farther in University and generally were more successful in life. When faced with a decision, this is one question we can ask – is this pleasant (short term gratification) or beneficial (longer term gratification)?

Update 2003

It is interesting for me to read this now and remember how I was feeling five years ago. In 2000, I discovered I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease where the body attacks the thyroid. Needless to say this created new challenges around body weight.  I often found myself eating for energy. Exercise became more difficult as my energy was lower and I tired more easily. Everyone knows chocolate helps depression! Add overwork to the mix and my healthier habits slowly eroded and I gained weight.

All of the techniques and attitudes in the article above do work. Observing yourself making not so healthy choices isn’t as much fun as when you’re choosing health but as a practice it is still better than denial and oblivion.

A healthy body weight is definitely a  ‘work in progress’ and a fertile area for growth 🙂  I’ll keep you posted!