Sometimes Smalltalk can be more difficult than you might think! – 4 Dec 13

There are from time to time small talk situations in which Ramona is slightly in loss for words – mostly due to the boldness of Indian people’s words! Let me tell you what happened recently at the Ashram.

An old school friend of mine recently came to the Ashram to visit us together with his wife. After the initial greeting and telling each other that everything was going good, my friend’s wife looked around, noticed that we were doing some small renovation work again and said ‘You are constructing again!’

Purnendu said something along the lines of ‘Well, we want to have the home beautiful when you are coming!’ in his typical joking-charming way and she answered with a laugh ‘You are fixing your floor when I am coming. That is good, then you cannot say that your floor tiles broke from my weight!’ And they laughed.

Ramona was standing next to them in total confusion after this typically Indian verbal exchange: what would you answer to that? You may need to know here that this lady is, indeed, quite heavy.

‘Oh, don’t say that, you are not that big!’ – well, I think you can hardly say that to a woman who has three times the width of yourself while being about the same height!

Maybe this:

‘Those stones need to be broken next, can you just come over here?’ – Might be funny but Ramona would never make a joke that suggests another person is overweight! But she clearly is and she made the joke first!

Oh, Ramona told me later in amazement that no western woman whom she knew would ever talk of herself and her own weight like this! We were laughing because this woman had just been honest, throwing Ramona in complete confusion.

Do you know such situations when you later think of a witty thing to answer? Ramona has been thinking for days now and still could not find that one line in reply to this joke! 🙂

An unhealthy Lifestyle in Front of the Computer – 29 Sep 13

When I was in Australia in 2005, I had program at several different places and I really don’t remember anymore where exactly I was travelling. I may not remember the names of the places but I do remember the people, their homes and of course an impression of their lifestyle. There was one place where I saw a way of living which was new to me and which I can very surely call unhealthy.

I was with a woman who had invited me after seeing my website on the internet. She had arranged some lectures and meditations. I had obviously been in touch with her before about the program and I was wondering a little bit why she had not organized a yoga workshop which was something that was normally quite popular with people. It was just a thought though and I did not really mind – I was happy with giving lectures and meditations as well.

When I arrived at her home though, I did not wonder much anymore. She was a very obese woman and she had a wheelchair to drive around in simply because of her weight. She could walk as well but not very far and she obviously got tired and exhausted very soon when carrying so many kilos around. While she did not walk, she did drive a car.

She was living with her old mother and her boyfriend, a man whom she had got to know through the internet as well. In general, her whole life took place at the computer. I had never seen someone sitting at the computer for so long, doing literally everything online!

It was not the first time that I saw someone of that size and weight – we have a lot overweight people in India as well. No, but it was the lifestyle in front of the computer combined with seeing all the problems that she had with her weight which made me ask how you can let this happen to your body? You spend a lot of time in front of the computer, okay, but don’t you notice when you get bigger and bigger, so big that you have difficulty breathing when you just get up of the chair?

She was a very nice woman however and I had a nice time there. The program, which she had organized completely from in front of the computer, was very well visited and so I was quite busy as well.

When I asked the lady what we would do for dinner and offering that we could cook together, she took me to the kitchen, opened the freezer and showed me lots of different boxes, saying ‘I have bought this at our Indian restaurant – they made it fresh. So whenever you want something, just take it out, warm it up and eat it!’ I had to laugh about this concept but had no objection. This was how cooking and eating took place in her home.

A very different lifestyle. And yes, I would go this far and call it unhealthy. 🙂

Yoga and Meditation help you lose Weight – 14 Dec 11

Yesterday I wrote about eating as a habit, which many overweight people have. Obviously this is one of the most common reasons for being overweight and stopping this constant intake of food is the first step to lose weight but another very important factor is regular exercise.

I always recommend people to find something that you enjoy. In my eyes it is not good to force yourself to go to a gym, there to step on one of those running machines, run for half an hour and hate each and every second of it, wishing you would be at home, sitting in front of the TV with your favourite show. In this way you may have short-term success but if you once lose your discipline and don’t go there, you will notice how quickly you have forgotten every plan of doing workout. No, you need to find something that you love doing. It may cost you some effort to start but then you will go on, because you love it! That can be a team sport, jogging in the park, swimming or also the treadmill in the gym! The important part is that you like it and you will notice that quickening your heartbeat several times a week during workout makes you even happier than the extra sweets in the evening!

I actually always recommend doing yoga. By doing yoga I don’t only mean the physical exercise, the Hatha Yoga. When I say yoga can help you losing weight or maintaining a certain weight with which you are happy, I include Pranayama, the breathing exercises, as well as meditation, which is training for your mind, too.

Yoga is good for your complete body. You can do it in order to get your heartbeat going but then there are exercises and postures for each single part of your body, too. You can tone your legs, your belly, your thighs, hips and arms. You do something beneficial for your joints, you stretch your back out of the position that you keep it in for hours and you simply move your body as in hardly any other way of exercise.

The breathing techniques are obviously good for your lungs and respiratory system and they help you to take in much more oxygen than you usually do. Pranayama is also helpful to reach the state of meditation. Meditation can go long ways in giving you mental discipline. This discipline helps you to stop the habit of eating and realize what you can do to feel good in your body.

Whenever we have the Ayurveda Yoga Holiday at the Ashram, losing weight is a topic that comes up or is important for one or several of the participants. With the right diet, the yoga practice and the Ayurvedic massages and treatments, we help them here in the Ashram to lose weight and, more importantly, understand the right way to do it themselves.

Never give up and never lose hope. You can always make a change. If you feel you are overweight and you are unhappy with it, do something against it! Don’t accept the state as it is and ‘learn to live with it’. You are the one who has control over your mind and who can shape your body. Take your responsibility and start. Remember to love your body and to be happy. If you take care of your food, if you exercise and feel movement in your body, you can love it as it is!

Having Fun eating and worrying about being overweight – 13 Dec 11

Many people ask me what they could do to control their weight. I often see that people are worried about that but the question is whether they really want to actively do something about their weight.

The first thing is that you need to learn to be happy and satisfied. Once I heard someone say ‘Everybody can lose a little bit.’ I do not agree with this attitude at all, because it makes everybody feel as though they are too big. What exactly is the parameter for that? Who are those who should lose weight? In my eyes, you should be healthy and feel happy and good with your body. Obviously, if you suffer physically from your weight, you need to do something about it. If you are absolutely unhappy and you are really overweight, you need to do something, too. Only talking about it however does not help! Only complaining and thinking that you may change something someday does not help! You have to get active. Find out the reasons for your overweight and make a change.

The reason for being overweight is mostly eating more than the body requires. Who doesn’t like to eat delicious and tasty food? The problem starts when eating becomes a habit. People who have the habit of eating always have something in their mouth. Whenever they see something eatable, they get attracted by it. Stop this habit and stop it now! Remove food from your working desk, your living room and your bedroom. Food should only be in the kitchen, so that you don’t get tempted to just stretch out your hand, wherever you are, and start eating.

Once, after hearing my opinion, an overweight person told me ‘You don’t know how much fun eating is!’ This person obviously thought that anybody who would give such advice would not know how much joy it can be when you put a delicious piece of food into your mouth and chew it. But I do know how that feels! I love eating and I love cooking. I love preparing my food, seeing and smelling how it becomes something that would not only fill your stomach but leave you with the satisfaction of having eaten something really nice. I do not however do that the whole day long. I know my body and I know when I am hungry. This can be different for different people and according to how their daily routine looks like but I always recommend having a regular eating schedule so that your body knows when it will get food.

Eating is fun, no doubt, but it is not fun anymore when it becomes a habit. You don’t even realize when something goes into your belly, how could that be fun? Additionally you need to see the consequences. When you eat and you get joint pain because of it or you have diabetes because of it, the fun is gone! Eating cannot be fun when it causes you pain, physically and mentally. So eat when your body asks for it, not all the time!

We talk about discipline in many areas of life. I believe discipline is very important and necessary in our nutrition, too. Eat when you are hungry. Hunger can be in the eyes and in the mind, too, not only in your belly. Learn to distinguish that. You need to ask your stomach whether it demands food or not. Even while you are at a meal, ask yourself if you really need a second or third serving. Maybe it is only your eyes and your mind!

Overweight Children and Teenagers – Hunger in Thoughts and Eyes – 11 Jul 11

I recently read one of those studies about overweight children that appear from time to time and warn people that the population of many western countries is getting more and more obese – starting with the youngest. While the study revealed no dramatic new information about this problem, it made me think again how much we got used to such news, articles and studies. When parents however get used to it and don’t see it as a real issue but as the normal state of things, we really have a problem.

We need to take responsibility. Children and also teenagers have not developed fully and whatever they learn, they learn from their surroundings. We show them everything and as parents, we need to give them a discipline, also when it comes to the questions what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. We give them guidelines in many areas of life and we should also do this when it comes to their eating habits.

Eating habits is an interesting combination of words anyway. Often eating just becomes a habit. When children are very young, you need to feed them more often, that is true and of course you cannot cut back on that. They need to develop and grow and they should not be hungry. At some point however, this eating becomes a kind of entertainment. They start eating, not when they are hungry but when they are bored. To pass time and to entertain themselves they look for something to put into their mouths. And this is how it becomes a habit to eat a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the day.

Another problem is that children have hunger in their thoughts and eyes. They think of something to eat, get appetite and believe they are hungry. They see something to eat and they immediately think that they have to eat this right here and now. Their hunger is not in their stomach but in their eyes. If adults do the same, you would call it childish but still many people do exactly this. If you only ate when you were hungry, you would never have a problem with obesity. Adults and also children get hungry naturally. Don’t eat and don’t let them eat for their entertainment, from boredom or from hunger in their thoughts and eyes.

Teach your children to feel their hunger and make a discipline of when it is food time and when it is not. Of course, you are a mother or father, you want your child to be happy and you want to fulfill their wishes. If they only wish to eat, you may feel that it makes them happy, so why not allow it. Remain strict and keep the discipline. They are children and don’t see the long-term consequences in the way that you do! If you are concerned about their weight, they might be a little bit, too, but you know what can happen through this and they don’t. They may have heard of heart disease and diabetes but they have not enough experience to grasp what this means.

You have the control of how often they eat until a certain degree. Of course, in their teenage you won’t be able anymore to make sure they don’t eat in between meals. You can keep up some rules for meals together, though, and make sure they eat properly then. And from the very beginning teach them how important it is to take care of their body. They have to learn themselves to take care of when they eat and also what.

If you start teaching them in their childhood how a healthy and balanced nutrition looks like, how much is good to eat in one day and what you should eat, chances are they don’t need to face problems of overweight. The childhood is an important time and you lay the foundation for your child’s future.

Hormones in Meat and Children?s Nutrition – 30 Jun 10

When I was writing about America, obesity problems and healthy or unhealthy nutrition, I also remembered a conversation that I had with a friend about this topic. We were talking about the increasing amount of obesity and overweight among children and teenagers. It is very alarming. Scientists warn already that this generation will be the first one which will be outlived by their parents. The probability that your children die before you is higher than that you die before them. One of the main reasons is their obesity with its consequences like diabetes, heart attacks and more. Isn’t this a reason to stop to think? Give your children education for good nutrition and eating habits!

My American friend mentioned something that I also had heard of before. Animals get hormones in their food or even by injection so that they grow fat and big faster and cheaper than if you feed them with much love and good food. And they give antibiotics to the cows and pigs and other animals so that they stay healthy although they would normally be ill in the conditions that they live in. Now imagine what you actually eat there. These animals only live for being eaten and their meat, which you can buy in the supermarket, is full of those hormones and medicaments.

I heard that tests now revealed that one reason why girls start their menses more and more early is because of those hormones in the meat. There are girls who have their first menstruation at the age of nine! And it also makes children aggressive, especially in boys you can see that. I already wrote about ADHD, the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is diagnosed in many of today’s children. Their nutrition is one of the reasons why they cannot calm down. And in the end you treat them with medication again, which is one of the worst things to do to a body that is growing and developing.

This all is happening not only in America, I just happened to have this conversation there and maybe it is, as everything, a bit more extreme there, but you can see this nearly everywhere, children and adults are getting bigger and bigger, search for ways to lose weight but never manage while they are eating things that I would consider as poison for your system.

My strong belief is that eating meat is not good for us and not good for our children. Take care of your kids, raise them with a good nutrition, show them how they can live and eat healthily without meat and with as much natural food as possible. They are our future and the future of this universe!

Supersize me – Fast Food, Overweight and Obesity in America – 24 Jun 10

It is already some time ago that I have written about the extremes here in America but in that time we watched a movie which was about another extreme: it was a documentary called ‘Supersize me’. I do not usually watch TV or movies but sometimes there are movies and especially documentaries which are really very informative and interesting. In this one, a man eats nothing but food of McDonalds, fast food, for 30 days to see how it really affects the body. And of course, it harms badly! Doctors already advised him to better stop this experiment some days before it was completed because they worried if his liver was able to cope with all that junk that it had to work with.

Apart from showing the bad effect of fast food very clearly, this documentary also told some interesting facts, for example this one: about 60% of all American adults are overweight or obese. If everything goes on as it is now, obesity and not anymore smoking will be the ‘leading cause of preventable death’ in America. It is dangerous to go into this extreme just as it is dangerous to starve yourself for getting thinner.

America is a country of extremes. On the one hand you nearly have to search for a yoghurt that is not ‘fat free' or 'low fat' and on the other hand each day one of four Americans visits a fast food restaurant. In those restaurants there is nothing or hardly anything fat free or sugar-free. Additionally you have to have a look at the portions: enourmous amounts of French fries, soft drinks and meat. Your body doesn’t need that much! More importantly, it needs very different things!

I just would like to appeal to everybody again: take care of your body! Do not eat fast food, take care of what you put into your stomach! Discover healthy, vegetarian and delicious food, you will see how much better you feel!

How to Lose Weight – 10 Sep 09

A woman was here for a healing session and asked me what the best way was to lose weight. I have written about this many times in my diary and said her, too, that the main point is your wish and your decision. She told me that she wanted to make this decision but she also wanted to go on living her life, eating out with friends, having dinner with her family and having TV evenings. I said her that she could go on eating out and with her family without any problem, she could just take care of what she eats, how often and when.

And a little bit surprised I asked her what the connection was about losing weight and having TV evenings. She told me that whenever she watched TV with her husband or children, they took out snacks like nuts, popcorn and wafers and drank coke. And if she told her family that she wanted to lose weight, they complained that they would not have any nice evenings together.

First of all I told her that a ‘nice evening’ doesn’t have to depend on TV. Play games with your children or go out for a walk. And if you decide on watching TV, losing weight should not keep you from that. It is only a habit that you eat wafers and snacks or drink soda with it. And if you don’t want to miss something sparkling, take plain sparkling water. You are anyway not eating consciously while doing something else, so why would you miss it? What exactly would your body miss if just an hour before you had a nice and full dinner? It is only your mind. And eating from the mind is never good. You can change your habits, it is in your hands!

No Fast Food for Children – Overweight, Diabetes and more! – 1 Aug 09

Yesterday I said that there are many unhealthy and chemical ingredients like colour and flavor in a lot of food. My friend Suann told me that a very popular fast food chain spends millions of dollar for researching what kind of colour and flavour children like. They use that in their food especially to attract children, no matter how harmful it is for those little ones who are the future of this universe.

Somebody told me that this generation of children will be the first one which will probably be outlived by their parents. Children are not aware of the harm of this food and they can be attracted but why do parents do this and buy this food instead of cooking with love for their loved ones? I have even heard from so many people that there are documentaries about how harmful this fast food is, how it goes into our system and how it stays there. I think this movie is very popular because I have heard it from so many people. But even though so many have seen this film, their business is still going on.

I heard that many people here are suffering from diabetes and have heart problems. What is the reason? Of course it is our nutrition.

One of my friends told that she was always used to eating this food and daily when she woke up she had stomach pain. She even thought it was normal to have this pain because she got used to it. She changed her eating habit and since then, since eating healthy food, she can compare and she realized that it is not good. We cooked a wonderful healthy dinner again tonight and it was our last evening here with Jeremy. Tomorrow early in the morning we will hop on a plane again and fly to Chicago.

Processed Food, Fast Food and more – Take Care of your Body! – 31 Jul 09

In the last days I was writing about figure conscious people. I see and I have been told that many people here have overweight problems. But then I see the eating habits of people here and think that they should take more care about their eating habits and about the quality of their food.

Of course there is the problem that they are always on the run in this city. They never take time to sit down and eat but eat while walking. And then people eat a lot of junk food, fast food and processed food. I saw from outside of some shops which are displaying vegetables how they were shining and I said to Yashendu how artificial they look. They look polished and I was even in confusion if it was plastic or real. It was real and looking so beautiful, shining and colourful like showpieces. But they were real vegetables.

My friend Thomas from Germany, who is also in the States at the moment, told us that he was in an organic food store. German people are very conscious about reading ingredients and he told me how funny it was that although he was in an organic food store there was artificial colour and other chemicals in the food. You see, even in a shop in which you think you buy very healthy food, you have to look at what exactly you are buying. But this extra effort is worth it because it is about your health!