mind-body health


Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Of course, you will want to indulge at times, and you don’t have to feel bad about that. Later on, we’ll cover “cheat days” and indulgent foods that fit into your meal plan. But you don’t want to be in a position where you feel powerless against your cravings or your desire to overeat. In this section, we’ll work on removing a lot of the factors that lead to cravings and overeating such as stress, dehydration, and lack of sleep. As well as ways to deal with cravings once they arise.

Stay Hydrated

Feeling thirsty is actually a late sign that you’re dehydrated. At first, dehydration can come out as a craving for food. Make sure you’re drinking enough water to prevent those cravings. Before you decide to indulge, drink some water first and see if your craving weakens.

Aside from regulating your appetite, it is necessary for you to drink enough water to digest your food and for almost every other function in your body. If you’re not drinking water because you don’t like the taste, then remember that it’s life-sustaining water. It doesn’t have to taste like a milkshake. But if you really can’t stand it, then try flavored seltzer or adding lemon, lime, or other fruit, or try flavored herbal cold brew tea bags to add to your water.

If you’re used to drinking juice and soda, water will seem boring. It will take some getting used to, however removing flavored drinks can save you a few hundred calories a day and a pound of fat per week.

If you don’t like cold water, then try naturally caffeine-free tea like rooibos, chamomile, peppermint, or flavored herbal teas. If you don’t drink enough fluids because it’s inconvenient for you to use the restroom, then try to hydrate when it’s convenient, like first thing in the morning.

How Much To Drink

If you’re drinking enough fluids, your urine should be clear at least once each day. You’ll feel more clear-headed, energized, and have fewer cravings. Keep track of your water intake on a few occasions to see if you’re drinking enough. To figure out how much you need, you can follow these general guidelines, use my online calculator[1] , or calculate it on your own with the steps below.


Hydration Equation

Step 1

Divide your body weight in half for how many ounces of fluid you need in a day.

Example: 150 pounds divided by 2 = 75 fluid ounces a day

Step 2

About 20% of your fluid comes from the food you eat, leaving the other 80% of your needs from fluids. So you can then calculate 80% of your total fluid needs.

Example: 75 fluid ounces x .80 = 60 fluid ounces from fluids a day

Step 3

Divide that number of ounces by the size container you usually drink from.

Example: 60 fluid ounces divided by 16.9 fluid ounce water bottle = 3.5 bottles a day.

Eat Enough

How many times have you tried to lose weight by restricting yourself as much as possible, just to gain it all back? It’s the most common and damaging weight loss mistake. The problem is that your body is designed to survive a lack of food by holding onto your fat stores for dear life. It doesn’t know the difference between a diet and a famine.

When you restrict too much, your body won’t readily give up your life-sustaining fat stores. It will actually do the opposite. Your body adapts to less food by slowing down your metabolism. It starts using less food for energy and stores more of it as fat for a later time. Additionally, it will increase your appetite so that you overindulge whenever more food becomes available again. The problem with a diet is that you aren’t actually starving, so there’s almost always plenty of food available.

Luckily there’s a way to lose weight without triggering these fat-saving and craving-inducing survival instincts. Later, you’ll learn how much you should be eating and other ways to prevent cravings and a slow down in your metabolism. You will probably be surprised to see how much you can eat while still losing weight.

Don’t Get Too Hungry

You might be proud of yourself for being able to ignore your hunger or suppress it all day with caffeine, gum, and water, however that is not helping you lose weight. This will be explained in more detail later on. For now, just understand that during your eating window, you should not wait until you’re very hungry before you eat something. Instead, you should always eat whenever you start to feel hungry. We’ll discuss eating windows in the next section.

If you haven’t already noticed, it is impossible to eat an appropriate portion size or make a healthy choice when you’re starving. I know that some of you don’t eat lunch until you’re about to pass out so that you have less time at work after your break. If you’re one of those people, then you should at least keep a snack at your desk like a piece of fruit to have when you start to feel hungry. Or carry them with you when you’re out of the house, so there’s no excuse to let yourself get too hungry.

Get To Know Your Early Hunger Signals

If you’re used to ignoring your hunger signals, then you might not know what they feel like. Early hunger signals aren’t the same for everyone. It can start by feeling like your stomach is empty. It can be very subtle and sometimes only last for a minute or two. If that’s the case, then it can be easy to ignore, especially when you’re busy. Pay close attention to that feeling, because that is when you should begin eating. If you ignore your early hunger signals you will become overly hungry, making it difficult to make a healthy choice, or eat an appropriate portion at an appropriate rate.

If You’re Always Hungry

The first hunger signals of the day will begin about 12 hours after dinner the night before. Then, three to five hours after each meal throughout the day, and one to two hours after a small snack. If you feel that you’re hungry more often, then it could be from a lack of sleep, medication, stress, not eating enough, or eating processed carbs or inflammatory foods. We’ll cover what to eat, how much to eat, and sleep later on, which will help to regulate your hunger.

If You’re Never Hungry

Having no hunger signals is not a good thing. It makes it hard to know when you should start eating, and when you should stop. If you never feel hungry, then it could be from ignoring those signals. If you ignore hunger signals for long enough, then your body won’t keep bothering you with them. You can even lose your hunger signals from having extra body fat because fat cells send out a hormone that suppresses your appetite. It could also be that you’re suppressing your hunger with things like caffeine, nicotine, gum, or medications.

If you’re not doing anything to suppress your appetite, but you still never feel hungry, then start by making a routine eating pattern. Losing weight and having some regularity will start to trigger your hunger signals.

Wait Until You’re Hungry

If you start eating out of boredom or because of a craving, then there’s no clear reason to stop eating. But if you start to eat when you’re hungry, then you’re more likely to stop eating when you feel full or satisfied. If you do have a craving, then at least try to wait until you start to feel hungry before you eat.

Eat Slowly

It takes a while for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it’s full. If you eat too fast, then you can consume a large portion  of food before you even begin to feel full.

If you eat slowly, your brain has time to receive the signal that your stomach is filling up. You will be able to feel full with much less food if you eat slowly.

If you’re used to eating fast, then use the guidance below to help you slow down. It is not an easy task at first, however like any habit it can be broken. Then, eating slowly will become your new habit.

How To Slow Down
  1. Don’t wait until you’re starving to eat. Eat when you just start to feel hungry.
  2. Take a few deep breaths before you eat and when you notice that you’re starting to eat fast again.
  3. If you notice you’re chewing fast and lost in your thoughts, then refocus on breathing, chewing, and tasting your food.
  4. Make sure you chew each bite thoroughly. Remember that you can’t properly digest the food that hasn’t been thoroughly broken down.
  5. Take small bites so that it’s easier to chew the whole mouthful before you get tired of the taste.
  6. Put your food or utensil down between bites.
  7. Focus on the food in your mouth, not the food on your plate.
  8. A lot of times, fast eating is because of stress. The next section will help to improve your mood and alleviate stress, which will naturally slow down your eating rate.

Stop Eating When You’re Comfortably Full

When you finish eating, you should feel comfortably full. If you don’t feel full at all, then you will end up craving something else. If you feel overly full, then you likely ate too much. Becoming overly full stretches the stomach which actually triggers hormones that increase your appetite.

If you tend to overeat, then follow the guidance below. Once you start to eat smaller portions, your stomach won’t shrink, but it will become less elastic. You will feel satisfied with less food, and it will become difficult for you to eat large portions again.

How To Prevent Overeating
  1. Pre portion your food. As a survival instinct, your brain will urge you to eat everything in sight.
  2. If you’re at a restaurant, place your napkin on your plate to cover your food when you feel satisfied, or ask for a to-go box with your meal and take whatever’s leftover. Removing the food from your sight will soften the brain’s hormonal craving response.
  3. Stand up and walk away from the food or put it away when you feel satisfied to give yourself time to become satisfied.
  4. Have a meal ender like a cup of tea, a hard candy, or a chocolate-covered mint. Brush your teeth, chew gum, or use mouthwash to cleanse your pallet.

Set Aside Time To Eat

Set aside around 15 to 20 minutes to eat each meal. Once you do this, you might be surprised to see that you’ve actually been eating your food in less than five minutes. If you’re eating your food this quickly, then you will have difficulty becoming full.

You should set aside time to eat, even if you’re a slow-eater. If you take too long to eat, then you’ll never feel full because the food is emptying out of your stomach at the same slow rate that it’s going in. The same thing happens if you’re just taking a few bites here and there while you’re doing other things. This is not to say that you can’t eat while you watch television or use the computer. However be sure to take your time to chew your food thoroughly and avoid taking long breaks between each bite.

Pay Attention To What You’re Eating

If you’re distracted when you’re eating, then you can easily eat an entire bag of chips without even enjoying it. You might not even realize what you were doing until there are no chips left. At that point, you won’t feel satisfied with the snack, even if you’re full. Mental satisfaction from eating is even more important than how full you are.

Once again, this is not to say that you can’t eat while you do anything else. You can still pay attention to what’s in your mouth while you sit in front of the television or computer. When you eat, chew thoroughly, and pay attention to tasting and breathing. You’ll probably have to keep reminding yourself at first, but it’ll become a habit.

Imagine Being Satisfied

Sometimes you might be lost in the pleasure of eating and be surprised and disappointed when there’s no more food left. You’ll look for something else to eat, even if you’re full.

While you eat, imagine feeling satisfied when you finish. Expect to feel satisfied. This will  help you prevent the abrupt end of pleasure when you finish. If you know that you always crave something after your meals, then you can factor that into your meal plan or use a low-calorie meal ender like tea, a hard candy, or chocolate-covered mint.

Trick Yourself With Seconds

If you’re the type of person that doesn’t feel satisfied with one serving, then break your meals up into two portions. Have ¾ of your meal at first, and then serve yourself the rest as a second portion. This will make you feel like you’re eating more, even if it’s the same amount of food.

Don’t Eat Boring Food

If your food is bland, then you’ll end up hating your diet. There’s plenty of room for flavor in your weight loss plan. If you do your own cooking, then you can use the recipes from the free meal plans on my website or from other sources. If you always order take out or if you usually go to restaurants, your only option is not boiled chicken and vegetables. You can get something indulgent that fits into your calorie range. Be sure to include some vegetables, even if you’re getting them as a side dish.

Fit In A Treat

You don’t have to feel guilty if you’re not ready to give up daily junk food. There’s always a way to fit something into your plan. Knowing that there’s a treat scheduled into your day will help you avoid each temptation that comes along.

Distract Yourself

Your brain’s reward center can be triggered whenever you see, smell, or think about something pleasurable. Do you notice what happens when someone gives you a treat, or there’re snacks in the break room? Even if you weren’t craving anything before, you feel deprived if you don’t have it.

If you want to avoid indulging or overeating, then your best bet is to distract yourself and get it out of sight. If you’re still craving it, then don’t talk to yourself about it even if it’s to tell yourself not to eat it.

If you’re thinking about it, you’ll keep wanting it because the thought of the food is still triggering your reward center.

As soon as the craving comes up, focus your attention on something else until it goes away. Distract yourself with anything, like watching something funny, talking to someone, listening to music, taking a walk, drinking tea, or even meditating, which we’ll cover later in this section. The craving won’t last forever.

Don’t Say “I Can’t”

If you tell yourself you can’t have something, it will make you crave it even more. The truth is, you can have indulgent food and still lose weight, just not all the time. Be very careful with your thoughts. If you want a double cheeseburger, don’t tell yourself you can’t have it. Change the thought to something like:

“I could have that now if I want. But I’d rather eat something healthier. I can have a treat later if I want, but it’s not worth it right now.”

Don’t Say “I Have To”

Don’t tell yourself that you have to eat healthily. If you have to do something, it implies that you don’t want to, and it’s not true. You might have to go to work, so you don’t get fired, but there’s no immediate consequence of eating a cheeseburger instead of a salad.

Change the thought to something like:

“I’d rather have a salad so I can get some nutrients and feel full without going over on calories.”

Once you finish eating and you feel full, the desire will be gone or at least diminished.

Stop Feeling Guilty

You won’t be perfect all the time, and you don’t have to be. Sometimes you might overeat, or get off track for a few days, which is normal. Feeling guilty and beating yourself up is just a way of telling yourself that you’re not in control. But that’s not the case. You’re just in the process of making new habits.

Instead of beating yourself up, take note of how you feel. Overeating doesn’t feel good. Neither does getting off track and gaining a few pounds. If you associate that feeling with steering away from your plan then you will be much less likely to do it again in the future.

Don’t Romanticize Unhealthy Food

Be more realistic with how you think about foods like cookies and pizza. Whatever your “weaknesses” are. Notice how they actually taste, and how you feel while you’re eating them. It’s not the taste of the food that’s creating the feeling. The reward center of your brain is tricking you with dopamine, making you feel happy.

It will make you think about the food though you’re in love with it. You’ll be associating those foods with the taste, the reward it gives your brain and love. Resisting them becomes even more difficult. Yes, the food tastes good, however, become aware of the dialogue you use about your food. Recognize that it is not love but rather a survival trick of the mind.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

You’re Not Weak; You’re Human

Almost every new patient that comes to my office complains about their lack of willpower as though it’s a character flaw. They expect to be able to constantly deprive themselves for the rest of their lives, which will not ever happen. What they don’t understand is that our brains are hardwired to crave, and it has almost nothing to do with who we are. To feel like you’re in control, you will only need to become aware of how your instincts function and how to work around them.

You can enjoy good food while you lose weight, but there are some limits. No matter how motivated you are, there will still be times when it’s hard to stop yourself from overindulging. Especially when you’re at a restaurant and one part of your brain is telling you to eat every piece of bread in the basket even though another part of your brain is telling you not to. The part of your brain that’s urging you to eat the bread is called the “reward center.” It can easily overpower the other part of your brain that’s trying to keep you on track.

The reward center is strong because it’s built for survival. It’s designed to give you pleasure for doing things that keep you alive like eating.

In the past, eating bread triggered your reward center to release dopamine, which made you feel good. The reward center remembers that. When you see the breadbasket, the reward center lights up and triggers dopamine in anticipation of the bread. Then, it releases stress hormones to make you feel bad. You feel like the dopamine you’ll get from eating bread is the only way to feel better. This is why it’s so hard to resist food when it’s right in front of you.

The reward center makes you crave food, even if you aren’t hungry. It urges you to keep eating, even if you’re full. It also builds up a tolerance to the dopamine it gets from food. This makes you want to keep eating more and more until you feel the same “high” that you got the first time. But you’ll never really feel satisfied. It usually takes willpower, or a stomach ache to make you stop.

The reward center isn’t going anywhere. But it helps to understand that it is responsible for all of your cravings and overeating. It will help you realize that you aren’t weak, you’re just human. The next time you have a craving, take note of how you feel. It isn’t just the taste that you crave. It’s the survival part of your brain, tricking you with stress hormones and dopamine.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

The general idea of meditation is to set aside time each day to quiet your mind and to let go of everything. A time to appreciate life in its purity. In the beginning, it will take a lot of practice to let go of the constant chatter, but will be the best thing you can do for yourself. To lose weight, be happy, more relaxed, and more productive. It might make you feel like you’re thinking clearly for the first time in your life.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about meditation. After months of resistance, I had a patient admit to me that she hadn’t tried it yet because she heard it would open her mind up to evil spirits. I spent the rest of the session convincing her that she won’t become possessed.

I have other patients who have never tried meditation because they thought that they would need to sit Indian style on the floor and chant mantras. However there are more ways than one, and you will do what feels most comfortable for you.

There are many ways to meditate, and you don’t have to be a hippie to do so. In fact, almost all of the 200 industry leaders interviewed in Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of the Titans meditate every morning.

On a personal note, meditation has single-handedly transformed my life and my consciousness. Long gone are the days of procrastinating, losing focus, feeling anxious, or looking to food for comfort. It’s given me complete authority of my thoughts and emotions.

I know how essential meditation is to happiness and therefore to the ability to adhere to a weight loss plan. I urge everyone I know to make it a habit, regardless of their level of skepticism.


How Meditation Helps With Cravings, Overeating, And Emotional Eating


Increased Dopamine

When you have a craving, it is because your reward center is looking for pleasure in the form of dopamine, however it does not necessarily need it from chips or cookies. Meditation triggers the release of dopamine in the same way as food, drugs, or shopping. However it’s not fattening or expensive.

Improved Focus

Sometimes when you have a craving, you need to focus on something else until it passes. Otherwise, you won’t be able to stop thinking about the food until you eat it. Meditation helps by strengthening the neural pathways that are responsible for focus. This makes it much easier to steer your mind away from the craving or the negative thoughts that are causing it.

Improved Mood And Relationships

Meditation has been shown to alleviate depression and anxiety by increasing dopamine and shrinking the part of the brain that is responsible for negative and wandering thoughts. It also improves your ability to communicate and makes you more empathetic, which naturally improves your relationship with friends, family, partners, and coworkers. Tension in any of those relationships is a common source of stress. With an improved mood and improved relationships, you’re much less likely to use food as a crutch.

Improved Awareness, Memory, and Cognition

Meditation changes the structure of your brain in a way that improves awareness, memory, and cognition which helps in  many ways. Having more awareness will keep you from ignoring your hunger signals which usually leads you to be starving by lunchtime, and making bad decisions.  Improved awareness can prevent you from snacking mindlessly, eating too quickly, and ignoring the fact that you are already full.

An improved memory will prevent you from doing things like forgetting to bring your lunch or afternoon snacks to work, which is an unexpectedly common barrier to weight loss. Improved cognition and memory will also make you more efficient at work, which will inevitably reduce stress.

Prevent Eating Out Of Boredom

One of the most common barriers to weight loss is wanting to eat when you’re bored. Usually, we try to fill in downtime with television, eating, drinking, or scrolling through our phones. Anything to keep us from being bored, thinking about our to-do lists, or letting our minds conjure up any negative thoughts that it can find.

Sometimes even those distractions aren’t strong enough if you’re too stuck in your head. After you’ve been meditating for some time, your mind will be quieter, and it’ll be easier to focus and enjoy those activities. Practicing meditation will also give you something productive and enjoyable to do with your downtime.

Improved Sleep

Not getting enough sleep will make you more hungry than usual. It’s common to use food for energy when you’re feeling tired. Meditating before bed, or consistently, will help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Eat While Your Metabolism Is Running

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t eat past a certain time of night. There’s some truth to that, however this cut off time has more to do with your body’s internal clock than the actual time of day.

Some things in your body happen once every 24 hours, and for a limited amount of time like sleep, digestion, and metabolism. Your body isn’t designed to sleep all day, and it isn’t designed to process food all day. Your body will only properly digest and metabolize the food you eat for about 12 hours a day. The clock starts as soon as you ingest anything but water, and it stops about 12 hours later.

If the first thing you eat or drink is at 9:00 am, then you wouldn’t want to eat anything after 9:00 pm. Preferably even a couple of hours before that, because you still have to digest after you eat.

If you eat for more than 12 hours a day, then you’re more likely to be overweight and develop metabolic disorders. You should try to minimize your eating window to 12 hours a day at most, which is easy to maintain as long as you’re getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep. If you’re up all night, then you’ll end up getting too hungry to stop yourself from eating. We will cover eating windows in more detail when you choose a weight loss plan.


You Have To Burn Sugar Before You Can Burn Fat

Your body stores the energy that it gets from food as fat and as glycogen. Glycogen is basically stored sugar.

Before your body can start burning fat, it has to use up your glycogen stores. Your body uses up glycogen stores when you restrict calories and exercise. We’ll cover how much you should be restricting and how to exercise later on because you do not want to restrict calories as much as possible.

Another way to use up glycogen and start burning fat is to fast for more than 12 hours.

As long as you don’t eat or drink anything with calories, then your body will use up your glycogen stores in about 12 hours. After that, it’ll start burning fat for as long as you continue fasting.

If you fast for 16 hours a day, then you’ll have about four hours a day that your body is burning fat for energy. The first 12 hours of the fast is burning glycogen, and the last four hours are burning fat.

I will go into the specifics of how to fast later on, however you don’t have to fast to lose weight. Every weight loss plan is different.


Only Suppress Hunger If You’re Fasting

A lot of people think they’re burning fat when they skip lunch or wait until they finally get home before they eat. They think that being hungry for two hours is helping them lose weight, however it is not.

Again, it takes 12 hours without eating before you actually start to burn fat.

If you eat breakfast at 9:00 am and then wait six hours until 3:00 pm to eat lunch, you’re not burning fat. You’re just making yourself hungry for no reason. That will make it impossible to eat slowly and control your cravings.

During your eating window, you should eat whenever you start to feel hungry.


Get To Know Your Early Hunger Signals

If you’re used to ignoring your hunger signals, then you might not know what they feel like. They aren’t the same for everyone. It can start by feeling like your stomach is empty. It can be easy to ignore and only lasts for a minute or two. Once you start to pay attention and eat at the first sign of hunger, they will become more noticeable.


If You’re Always Hungry

The first hunger signals of the day should start about 12 hours after dinner the night before. Then, three to six hours after each meal, and one to two hours after snacks. If you feel like you’re hungry more often, then it could be from lack of sleep, medication, stress, not eating enough, or eating processed carbs or inflammatory foods. Later, we will discuss what to eat and how much to eat, which will help to regulate your hunger.


If You’re Never Hungry

Having no hunger signals is not a good thing. It makes it hard to know when you should start eating, and when you should stop. If you never feel hungry, then it could be from ignoring those signals. If you ignore hunger signals for long enough, then your body won’t keep bothering you with them. You can even lose your hunger signals from having extra body fat because fat cells send out a hormone that suppresses your appetite. It could also be that you’re suppressing your hunger with things like caffeine, nicotine, gum, or medications.

If you’re not doing anything to suppress your appetite, but you still never feel hungry, then start by making a routine eating pattern. Losing weight and having some regularity will start to trigger your hunger signals.


Don’t Eat When You’re Not Hungry

If you’re not hungry, your cells don’t need energy. That means anything you eat at that point will be stored as fat and glycogen that you have to burn off later. Try to wait for your hunger signals to kick in. If you’re having a hard time waiting, then refer back to Part Two on cravings.


Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Your gut hosts a hundred trillion bacteria and other microscopic bugs. You actually have more microbial DNA than human DNA in your body. Research is showing that there’s an important link between the type of microbes in your body and your likelihood of being overweight. Hosting and supporting the growth of the wrong bacteria can actually make you gain weight.

There are a lot of factors that influence the type of bacteria that live in your body.

  • Urban areas breed a lot of unhealthy bacteria. Living in the city makes you more likely to have problems with your gut.
  • Taking antibiotics kills off healthy bacteria in your body, leaving room for unhealthy bacteria to populate.
  • Being born through a c-section means you were never exposed to a lot of the healthy bacteria you needed.
  • Eating a diet high in fat and sugar and low in fiber will feed unhealthy bacteria and starve off healthy bacteria.

You are not doomed if you didn’t have a natural birth, live in the city, or if you’ve ever taken antibiotics. The right diet, supplements, activity, and reduced stress levels can impact your gut bacteria in a way that can help you lose weight.



High fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes feed healthy bacteria, and foods that are high in fat and sugar feed unhealthy bacteria.

The following foods are called prebiotics, are particularly good at supporting healthy bacteria.

  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory
  • Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Wheat
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Soybeans

The following foods contain healthy bacteria; however, they usually don’t contain high enough doses to alter your bacterial profile drastically, so you might want to consider taking probiotic supplements.

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • apple cider vinegar
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Miso


If you have digestive issues, then those foods and supplements can be bothersome, especially if you have chronic bloating. You would need to heal your gut before taking probiotics or eating some of those fiber-rich foods which we’ll cover next.



You don’t need to take probiotics to lose weight, but there are a lot of studies that show significant weight reduction from probiotic use. According to Consumer Lab, three strains of bacteria are particularly effective. Bifidobacterium breve, and Lactobacillus gasseri for both men and women. Lactobacillus rhamnosus for women in particular. Check with your doctor before you start taking any supplements because the FDA does not regulate them. These specific products have been rated and tested by Consumer Lab for purity, contamination, and digestibility.


Recommended Probiotics For Men And Women

Hyperbiotics Pro-15   

Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Free from Yeast, Lactose, Soy, Iron, Gluten, Wheat, Nuts, Preservatives, Sugar, and Artificial Colors or Flavors. Timed-release.


Ingredients: Proprietary Probiotic Blend [L. plantarum, L. fermentum, L. acidophilus, B. infantis, L. casei, B. longum, L. rhamnosus, B. lactis, L. reuteri, L. salivarius, L. paracasei, L. gasseri, B. bifidum, B. breve, S. thermophilus] 5 Billion CFU, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) 25 mg. Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Pectin, Stearic Acid, Sodium Carbonate, Guar Gum, Turmeric.



Probiotic For Women

Garden of Life® Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Women’s

Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Free from Gluten, Dairy, and Soy.

Ingredients: Women’s Daily Probiotic Blend [[Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus] Total Lacto Cultures (40 Billion CFU), [Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum] Total Bifido Cultures (10 Billion CFU)] 248 mg] Total Probiotic Cultures 50 Billion CFU, Organic Prebiotic Fiber Blend [Organic Potato [Resistant Starch] (tuber), Organic Acacia Fiber (A. senegal)] 377 mg.



Even low-intensity exercise changes the shape of the gut and blood flow to the gut in a healthy way. It also supports the growth of healthy bacteria. Even if it’s just low intensity. A lack of exercise will do the opposite, having an unhealthy impact on your digestive system.


For All Digestive Issues


Check With Your Doctor

It is usually nothing serious but check with a gastroenterologist to make sure your symptoms aren’t coming from Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, colitis, hernias, or ulcers. They can also check for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, which is less serious but possibly in need of antibiotic treatment, if you aren’t able to treat it with diet and lifestyle alone.

Chew Thoroughly

The food you eat needs to be chewed thoroughly enough for digestive enzymes to break it down. Undigested food can lead to bloating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you have trouble slowing down, then refer back to Part Two.


Don’t Eat When You’re Not Hungry

If you’re not hungry when you eat, then your body isn’t prepared with digestive enzymes to break your food down. If you find it hard to wait until you’re hungry, then refer back to Part Two.



Your gut needs to be hydrated to function properly because water is the base of digestive juices. Your gut is constantly reabsorbing water back into your body, so you should stay hydrated. Refer back to Part Two to find out how much water you should be drinking.



Your body does not have a built-in response to relationship problems or deadlines at work. It responds to any type of stress as a life-threatening situation. It redirects blood flow away from your gut and towards your muscles so you can fight or run away. During a time of stress, the last thing your body cares about is digesting your lunch. Refer back to Part Two for tips on how to reduce stress

IBS And Bloating

A lot of times, cutting back on wheat, dairy, sugar, and caffeine will drastically reduce bloating and IBS. But if you still have problems, it is worth trying a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Those are the types of sugars in certain foods that are easily fermented by the bacteria in your gut. The byproduct of the fermentation process are gases and toxins that lead to bloating, pain, and IBS.

Avoiding high FODMAP foods reduces bloating and IBS, but make sure you also drink enough water, only eat when you’re hungry, chew your food thoroughly, and relax. You don’t have to follow a low FODMAP diet forever. Try it for a few weeks, then reintroduce one high FODMAP food at a time.

Don’t take probiotics or fermented foods until your symptoms are resolved. And be careful about hidden high FODMAP ingredients, like garlic in spices and supplements.

Enlightened weight loss


Acid Reflux

You can find relief from acid reflux if you lose weight and avoid overeating but check with your doctor to make sure that you don’t have an infection from H. pylori or a structural issue in your stomach.

Your doctor might recommend reflux medication, but that can do more harm than good. Reflux medication reduces stomach acid, which helps you feel better initially. However, stomach acid is what keeps the sphincter in your esophagus tightly closed off from your stomach.  Lowering the acid in your stomach with medication can actually loosen that sphincter and allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus. The other problem with reducing acid with medication is that you need enough acid to kill off unhealthy bacteria and digest your food. Do what you can to control your symptoms naturally. The best way to reduce reflux is to relax and avoid overeating. But you should also try to:

  • Reduce wheat, dairy, and caffeine consumption.
  • Drink a cup of water 10 minutes before you eat to hydrate the layer under your stomach that neutralizes the acid.
  • Drink teas like Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals or Throat Comfort from Yogi. They have mucilaginous herbs that protect your esophagus from acid. It’ll alleviate symptoms but won’t solve any underlying causes of acid reflux like stress or overeating.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Your body stores fat to use in case of emergencies. It has built-in survival mechanisms to prevent you from losing it for good.

Your body responds to weight loss by slowing down your metabolism and making you feel hungry and lazy, which makes it impossible to keep the weight off.

Studies show that taking periodic breaks from weight loss can prevent those survival mechanisms from kicking in. That way you can lose the weight, without gaining it all back.

You need to take these breaks for every ten pounds you lose.

What I mean by “take a break” is adjust your intake so that you don’t lose weight anymore. That doesn’t mean you should gain weight. It means you should maintain it.

You’ll maintain your weight for one to two weeks and then go back to your weight loss plan until you reach your goal weight.

During your weight loss break, you should weigh yourself every day to make sure you aren’t gaining.

There are a few different ways to maintain your weight:

  • If your weight loss plan is based on calories, then follow the weight maintenance calorie target guide below. If you’re following a meal plan, then switch to the plan that‘ll hit your calorie target for weight maintenance.
  • If your plan does not involve calorie control, then you can experiment by increasing your intake by a small amount at a time, until you see that your weight is stabilizing.
  • If your weight loss plan is based on fasting, you can stop fasting for those two weeks. Or continue to fast, with your calorie target increased for maintenance.
  • Instead of eating more, another option is to reduce or stop exercise for those two weeks.


After your maintenance period, return back to your previous weight loss plan.

Repeat weight loss breaks for every ten pounds you lose until you hit your goal weight.


Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

I’m in a position where I see how people really treat themselves. They beat themselves up over little things, and tell me how fat and lazy they are. How disappointed they are in themselves for getting to this point.

They treat themselves worse than they would treat anyone else in their lives. They don’t see how talking down to themselves is like spending all their time with someone who wants them to be unhappy. It is the same as being stuck in a toxic relationship.

Start to pay attention to how you talk to yourself. You might notice that you’re talking to yourself in a way that you would never tolerate from anyone else. In a way that you wouldn’t talk to a friend or someone that you care about.

If you notice that you’re hard on yourself, then work on being kind to yourself. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it will become second nature once you get used to it.


Quit Raging

If you are mad at someone or something, then your best revenge is not to be angry. Anger triggers the same stress hormones that shut down brain function and cause you to feel unhappy. That doesn’t mean you should never get angry, however it does give you a reason not to stay angry.

This is especially true because in this situation you will likely need to confront someone or solve a problem. With all those anger induced stress hormones, you will be in no position to solve problems or communicate.

If you are angry with a person or a situation, then calm down before you talk. Swallow your pride, and use all the empathy you can manage to see where the other person is coming from. Recognize that no one is perfect. You are much more likely to get your point across if you are calm and thinking clearly.

In other situations, you might not have the opportunity or authority to communicate. In that case, allow yourself some time to feel anger but then realize that it is not worth holding onto. The only person it is hurting is yourself.

If you are angry with a situation and there’s something you can do to change it, then it’s in your best interest to calm down so that you can find the best solution.


Slow Down

With limited time we often resort to rushing. However, we do not realize that it has not benefited us. Rushing is an easy way to trigger stress hormones, which we have understood to slow down brain function and reduce focus. In the event that there is a limited amount of time, it would only be beneficial not to rush but to move with awareness and focus. This can be at an increased pace, however it does not need to be with stress and worry.

Try to avoid situations that cause you to rush. Give yourself a few extra minutes whenever possible. But be aware of your thoughts and mood if you’re short on time. It’s possible to move quickly without being frantic if you:

  • Don’t agonize about the consequences of being late, if there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • Let yourself be a few minutes late if there are no major consequences.
  • Find useful ways to spend the time that you’re sitting in traffic or waiting for the bus or train, like listening to music, audiobooks, reading, meditating, or just relaxing.
  • Take a minute to calm down when you start to feel rushed and unfocused.

There are inevitably going to be times that you’re running around. However, be sure not to perpetuate the same frantic energy for the rest of the day. When everything is settled, set aside time to reset with a quick meditation or a few deep breaths.


Believe That You Can Change

Having anxiety or depression is not a life sentence, and it doesn’t always require medical intervention. I have witnessed the transformation of many people just by changing the way they think and deal with stress.

Sometimes the biggest and most difficult step towards being happy is to decide that you don’t want to be unhappy anymore. To make that possible, understand that you have the power and the tools to be happier if you decide to make that change.


Accept The Highs And Lows

Even after you make these changes, there will still be times that are harder than others. Some days or some weeks that you feel less happy than you were before. If you notice that happening, then don’t use it as another cause for concern. Stressing about being stressed will only make things worse. The highs and lows are inevitable in your life, as not any emotion has permanence. In fact motion is in the word itself, as it always remains in motion.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss


The Basics

When you meditate, you’re setting aside time to let everything go. To appreciate life in its purity, without the distraction and filter of thought. In the beginning, that won’t be easy. You’ll need to repeatedly guide your focus towards something like your breath or a sound, and away from your thoughts. The goal is for it to feel good, reduce stress, and improve your focus and clarity. Everyone goes about it differently. Some people listen to guided meditations on the train or in their office. Others lie in bed or sit on the couch with a candle lit. However and wherever you choose to meditate doesn’t matter. It’s all based on your preference. The guidance below will help you figure out what works best for you.

Understand The Mind

While the goal is for the chatter of the mind to cease, it is not under your direct control. During this time, you won’t be forcing the mind to stop. This will never work. The reason you will not be able to do so is because of your misunderstanding of the mind. It is because of your identification with it. The mind is not you. The mind is simply a recording, a firing of nerves and synapses in the brain. You hear the thoughts in the mind, a voice in your head and you believe that it is you. However it is not. You are simply awareness. You are pure consciousness. The mind is something that you can use. However now it is using you.

Do not try to force the mind to stop. Instead become aware of who you are. Sit in your meditation and hear the mind chattering. Realize who it is that is hearing the mind. That is you. You are the awareness behind the mind. The awareness is quiet. The awareness is experiencing all of the senses.

Once you have broken the identity with the mind and come to realize that you are a state of quiet awareness, the mind will become quiet. It will no longer be the master. Once you realize who the master is, the mind will have no authority to speak.

Meditation Throughout The Day

While it is beneficial, if not necessary, to set aside time to meditate, it should not be seen as a task in isolation. Meditation is something that can be done in everything you do. In every breath and in every action. In meditation you are experiencing yourself and your actions through awareness as opposed to moving subconsciously while being lost in thought. When you breathe, when you take each step, when you brush your teeth, when you eat, do so with awareness. The more energy that moves into awareness, then less energy there will be for thought.

What To Expect

During each meditation, you might only feel that your mind was clear for a few seconds. Especially in the beginning. However even that’s enough to start feeling the effects. Meditation will make you feel happier, calmer, and more focused. If you keep it up, you’ll notice that it becomes easier to focus away from your thoughts. By the end of each session, you might feel a kind of high. You are accessing the natural state of bliss that is available to you once you have moved above the mind.

Refocus Without Judgement

When you start to meditate, you’ll notice that your thoughts are emerging and wandering without control. Every thought you have is causing an emotional reaction and preventing you from being relaxed and present to the moment. You will use a focal point like your breath to focus away from them. Whenever you start to notice that you’re lost in thought, gently steer your attention back to your focal point.

 This might be hard at first, however don’t become frustrated. Getting frustrated or putting yourself down will defeat the purpose of the meditation. It’s only difficult to focus because the region of your brain that’s responsible for wandering thoughts is overdeveloped from years of using it. Your ability to focus is underdeveloped from a lack of practice. The more you practice meditation, the easier it will become to steer your focus.

Don’t Obsess About An Empty Mind

It has taken many people many years to break the identification with the mind. To be in a state of pure awareness. For some it has been spontaneous. However the expectation of an empty mind will prevent your experience of it. It is also not necessary for your initial journey. Even moments of clarity are enough to create more bliss than you have had in the past. Do not be discouraged or distracted if you don’t have an empty mind, simply continue to experience life while separating from the mind.

Find What Feels Good

Granted, there will be times that you can’t be as comfortable as you’d like. Sometimes you’ll only have a chance to meditate on the train or in your office, however you will want it to be as enjoyable as you can make it. You can use scents from candles, essential oils or incense, wear comfortable clothes, lay down with a blanket over you, shut off the lights, or play relaxing music. Some people find it more enjoyable to sit up straight or meditate while they walk, or stretch their body. Whatever works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what feels good.

How To Breathe

How you choose to breathe depends on how stressed you are when you start. If you’re stressed or very anxious when you begin, then a controlled breathing technique can help you relax. It will trigger your body to switch from your “fight or flight” nervous system to your “rest and digest” nervous system. Once you feel relaxed, the meditation will be more enjoyable. There are several breathing techniques to use. Two of the most effective are described below. You can start with them, and then continue the meditation while you breathe naturally.

Another technique to understand is to recognize the personal patterns of your breathing. While the methods below can give you relief, it would benefit you to become familiar with your own breathing patterns. At times of anger your breathing will follow a pattern that is different from the pattern you breath in during times of relaxation. Over the next few weeks become familiar with how you breathe during relaxation. Begin to bring this same pattern of breathing into your meditation.

4-7-8 Breathing Method
  1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the exercise.
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  6. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.


2-4 Breathing Method
  1. Inhale through your nose for a count of two.
  2. Hold the breath for a count of one.
  3. Exhale for a count of four.
  4. Hold the breath for a count of one.
  5. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.


Eyes Open Vs. Eyes Closed

Keeping your eyes open or closed depends on how you’re meditating. If you’re doing it while you walk, then I would suggest you keep your eyes open. However for the most part, you can open and close them as you please. Sometimes closing your eyes will help you relax, but other times it can make it harder to get out of your head. Do whatever feels natural and comfortable for you.

Pick A Focal Point

Whenever you start to notice that you’re lost in thought, gently steer your attention back to your focal point. Experiment with the focal points below until you find something that works for you, and switch things up if you’re getting bored with your routine. Keep in mind that you can use more than one at a time. For example, you can use a breathing exercise while you listen to music.


Guided meditations make it easier for some people to get out of their heads. Sometimes, the person’s voice can be bothersome, or you might find it too dramatic or distracting. Take some time to find the ones that you like. I would recommend you use Insight Timer because it’s free and has a lot of options.


  1. Insight Timer
  2. Headspace
  3. Breathe
  4. Oak
  5. Binaural Dream
  6. H*nest Meditation



Music, natural sounds, and binaural beats can be used to trigger relaxation or positive emotions. However, it can also be distracting. You might find that you prefer silence or whatever noises you can hear from outside your window. The following apps have many different sounds to choose from.


  1. Breathe
  2. Insight Timer
  3. Binaural Dream

Open Eye Focal Point

As you breathe in a relaxed way, with open eyes, maintain focus on a single point. The mind would like to take your visual focus away from this point however maintain your focus until the point that the concentration fades into a state of meditation.


Breath is the most common focal point to use. You can use it at the same time as body scan, sound, active, visualization, and guided focal points. As mentioned before, controlled breathing techniques can be used to trigger relaxation if you’re not already relaxed. Once you feel relaxed, you can focus your attention on the feeling of your breath. There are different ways to do this. You can focus on the feeling of your breath as it moves through your nose or mouth, and how your stomach moves up and down as you breathe. You can think of how you’re inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.


If you have trouble sitting still, then you can do something with your body while you meditate, like walking, stretching, coloring in mandalas, or using meditation balls. Walking on a treadmill works well because you can hold onto the sides, listen to music, and walk carefully with your eyes closed. You might find that exerting energy prior to meditation helps you become relaxed during the meditation itself.

Body Scan

Lie down or sit up straight, and breathe naturally as you individually relax all the muscles in your body. Start from your feet and work your way up to the top of your head, or the other way around. If you find this difficult to do on your own, then you can search online for guided body scan meditations.


Experiment with the timing of your meditation. For instance, when you wake up, before you leave for work, on your commute, at lunch, when you get home, or right before bed. You will likely find that there is a time you prefer. Meditating in the morning will keep you focused and relaxed throughout the day while meditating before bed is the most helpful for sleep. You can start off with a few minutes at a time, and work your way up to 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even an hour.

Keep It Up

People often avoid meditation because they are too stressed. It is easy to make that excuse for yourself, however it doesn’t make sense. If you make meditation a priority, then you would not be so stressed. Time restraints are no excuse either. You can always find a few minutes in the day to meditate if you try. Even one minute would make a difference.

You might even stop meditating for the opposite reason. Regular meditation will have you feeling better daily, so you might feel like there’s no need to keep doing it. The efforts of consistent meditation can be easily lost. You spend most of the day creating patterns of thought. Creating an identity with the mind. In the time that you spend not meditating, you are undoing the habit of separating from the mind.

Excerpt from Enlightened Weight Loss

Balance Your Meals

Unfortunately, you won’t get ideal results from only eating pizza and ice cream every day. It’s not that you must eat perfectly all the time. You could lose weight regardless of what you eat, as long as you’re hitting your calorie target. However, eating junk every day will wreak havoc on your health, gut, and mood. For the most part, you should eat nutritious meals that have protein, non-starchy vegetables, and slow-digesting carbs. Below are examples and benefits of those food groups; you can get specific recipes and meal plans from my website .



You need protein in your diet to maintain muscle. Proteins are also typically slow to digest, so they will keep you full. You can get protein from animal sources like eggs, meat, fish, or poultry, or from plant sources like quinoa, grains, beans, lentils, nuts, or seeds. You can use soy products, but they’re usually processed and genetically modified. Go for organic tofu, tempeh, or edamame. For animal products, it’s best to choose organic because they’re free from antibiotics, growth hormones, and appetite stimulants.  For beef and milk, the best quality is from grass-fed cows.


Slow Carbs

You can eat carbs and still lose weight. It isn’t necessary that you completely omit them from your diet. One of the problems that can occur if you rely on carbohydrate restriction for weight loss is deprivation. Completely eliminating foods usually leads to an intense desire for them. That can cause you to binge on them or at least feel deprived which will not create a lasting diet.

If you decide that eliminating carbs will not create deprivation then it can speed up your weight loss. Just be conscious of the other means of weight loss that we discuss, because people often regain weight following a low carb diet because it was their only means of weight loss. Once they inevitably revert back to consuming carbs, they have no other way of maintaining their weight.

When following a low carbohydrate diet, aim for about 50 grams or less of carbs per day. There are many recipes for low carbohydrate meals and deserts if you search for ketogenic recipes.

However, it is not necessary that you reduce carbohydrate intake. That being said, not all carbs have the same effect on your body. You want most of the carbs you eat to be slow-digesting, like quinoa, beans, legumes, teff, bulgur, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, kamut, oats, squash, fruit, or plantains. Sweet potato and white potato are fine too, in moderation. Carbs that dissolve slowly will keep you full longer. They’ll distribute sugar into your blood more slowly. Meaning your cells have time to use the sugar for energy. As opposed to foods like pasta, bread, white rice, sugar, and soda, which digest quickly and distribute sugar into your blood all at once. Your cells can’t use all of that energy at one time, so the excess sugar is stored as fat.

It’s not that you can never have pasta or bread again, but it’s something to work on limiting.

Look back to the section on Healthy Alternatives for products that mimic your favorite carbs without a high sugar load. If you’re a vegetarian, you can double up on beans, lentils, and quinoa because they’ll count as your carbohydrate and protein.



The fat in your diet should be coming from lean meat, fish, avocado, and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Other oils are usually processed with chemicals, even if they aren’t listed in the ingredients. Keep in mind that fatty foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, and nut butters are high in calories, without doing much to fill your stomach. They’re healthy, but if you’re a smaller person that doesn’t have many calories to work with, then they’re not your best option.


Non-Starchy Vegetables

A third to a half of your meal should be non-starchy vegetables. They’ll fill you up with almost no calories. They tend to be anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants, so they’ll improve your health and mood and regulate your appetite.

Non-starchy vegetables are green leafy vegetables, asparagus, eggplant, artichokes, beets, Brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, turnips, peppers, radishes, string beans, tomato, and zucchini.

Starchy vegetables like corn, peas, potatoes, and yams don’t count towards the vegetable part of your meal. They have a lot more calories and would count as the carb part of your meal.



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