This past week I worked with a client who was experiencing hip pain. She’s in her early 60’s and had an MRI done that did not show anything that wrong with hip. Her doctor suggested physical therapy along with cortisone shots. As I was getting ready to begin our yoga session, I told her that physical therapy was good, yoga was great, but none of it would really do much for her in the long term unless she lost at least 30 pounds.
This may sound harsh, but her pain is intense, and she’s facing limited mobility because of her weight. The reality is that her body is giving her a major message to make some important changes. The primary one has to do with food. She knows this, knows this quite well! She understands that the main culprit in her diet is sugar. In the past she’s battled the sugar demon and won temporarily, but overtime, the old patterns of eating come right back and wreck havoc.
She explained that she does not cook most of her meals, that she eats out every day because of her business, and that she loves dessert. She also loves juices. Every time I walk through her doors, she invites me to some tropical fruit juice. The day I saw her, the offering was guava! I love guava juice, but one cup has a total of 32 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar per ounce than one finds in Coke. That’s more than the daily allowance of sugar for a woman and about the daily allowance for a man.
I always politely say thank you when offered juice, but in my mind, I wonder what can I say or do to get her not just to see how sugar is a toxin in her life, she knows this already, but how she might actually change her food choices in order to see real change.
The day prior to my session with my client I heard a Facebook Live presentation by Dr. Mark Hyman, the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. His words resonated in my mind as I worked with my client.
Several things stood out from his presentation. First, we can make changes in our lives for the better. This is important because we often lose hope. We often find ourselves at a crossroads and may feel dispirited because of past efforts. It’s critical not to lose faith and to see the moment in front of us as an opportunity, even if the opportunity is experienced under difficult circumstances.
Second, the presentation highlighted how the community is a more powerful element in healing than fully appreciated by conventional medicine. The presentation is about 50 minute long, but if you listen to the first 15 minutes, you get these first two insights very clearly. The social aspect of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity is often overlooked. So is the healing of these illnesses.
Third, and now I’m thinking of Miami Firm Body’s work with you reading this post. If what Maribel and I offer are only fitness and yoga classes, we have not really done what our hearts say we can do. Our aim at the start and now continues to be to provide opportunities that encourage community building in order to harness the power of healing. We believe that the antidote of (dis)ease has to do with finding ourselves at home in our bodies, knowing deeply and with certainty that we belong, are enough, and are at our our core, deeply blessed and beloved. We do this together.
My client needs to drop 30 pounds because her body is in pain. If she looks closely, she will probably find a list of things related to her hip pain that come with the 30 extra pounds. I know for a fact that dropping the weight will make everything better for her. Although she may not lose all of her pain, losing the weight will allow her body to heal more easily. How she goes about doing this may mean success or failure for her. Given the past experiences, getting help is a good idea.
As Dr. Hyman points out in his presentation, losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle is very challenging on one’s own. Obesity is not a disease of the individual. Research points that it works in clusters and is social in nature. I want to encourage my client as much as possible to not only look at her guava juice consumption but also to find ways to connect with groups of friends who are also looking to become healthier. That social approach is what will make the drop in weight more attainable and sustainable.
The next couple of weeks are critical for her and anyone who is overweight. People who are overweight on average gain about 5 pounds during the holidays. Studies suggest that this weight does not come off and accounts for most of the weight gain of the year.
With her situation in mind and thinking of all of the people we have worked with over the past year who have made great effort to improve their health, we continue to teach healthy eating, cooking, yoga, and fitness classes. Whether you have weight to drop or want to improve your strength, mobility, and flexibility, join us!