without the weight

Are Your Goals Too Big?

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A big pattern in my life is whenever I find myself starting again. As per usual, I’d lost motivation, fallen off track, and ended up heavier and sicker than I was before I started. It was a miserable feeling, but I wasn’t ever ready to fully give up.

Whenever that happened, I’d sit down to do the only thing I’d ever known to do - plan a way out.

My goal was always clear since I was a kid - I needed to lose weight. A LOT of weight…. at one point it was about 180 lbs worth. More importantly, I needed to do it quickly before my illness completely took over.

Now tell me that’s not a lot of pressure!

I drew up a plan, but it made me feel queasy. I’d never been able to keep to one before and the worse I felt physically, the harder I knew this would be.

Then again, no one has ever said it’d be easy.

So I’d set out, bursting with motivation and drive, and I’d totally crush it… for a few months. As soon as something stressful happened or a relapse hit, I’d completely falter and allow my success to crumble. I’d allow my old habits to come back.

I was frustrated, sure, but once I became aware of the pattern, it made me realize something huge…. this goal of mine, while very real and necessary, felt far too big for me to focus on. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to lose that much weight and even if I could, the vision felt soooooo far away. I used to give myself SUCH a hard time about not being strong enough to just finally freaking do it already, but it turns out, my failures weren’t about my abilities at all.

In fact, it was my expectations that were getting in the way. It was my focus on this gigantic end goal that I wasn’t really sure I could reach.

Should You Have Goals?

Now, I’m not going to tell you NOT to have goals. In fact, I highly think you should not only set goals, but I think you should spend time figuring out why you want it.

What will hitting that goal give you? Maybe you want to lose weight to attract a partner so you can fall in love or you want to eat well to manage your cholesterol so you can be healthy to play with your kids when they’re older.

Once you know the real reason behind the goal, then you can start to create real ACTIONABLE goals that you can understand and relate to.

Why Do Big Goals Set Us Up For Failure

When you’re dieting, notice what you’re thinking about. I’ll give you a moment….

Okay, let’s be real… you’re thinking about FOOD. Of course you are! And when you’re thinking about food, what do you want to do? EAT.

What you’re thinking about is what you’re paying attention to. That’s what you’re giving your energy to and if it isn’t serving you, it’s screwing you up.

So how does this play into big goals? Well, when you have a big goal, it generally takes a little while to get to the end. You have to put in some serious energy, commitment, and time into this project and if you’re only thinking about the end goal, you’ll probably lose your motivation along the way. You start to think about how much you really really really want that goal and get frustrated that it’s taking so long. That’s the moment where everything starts to get all messed up.

If you start thinking about how you don’t have what you want, it attaches pain to the process. You get annoyed with going to the gym and eating well because they’re things you’re only doing to hit a goal and if you haven’t reached it, frustration is bound to take over.

So What Can You Do?

Ok, so obviously I understand how infuriating this situation can feel because the goal never goes away. Even when you’re trying to lose weight and you say “FORGET IT” and eat an entire sleeve of Oreos… you know in your heart that you’ll have to get back on the wagon soon because that goal is never going to disappear.

I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was 8 years old and through trial and error, weight loss and weight gain, I finally understand what blocks most of us and how to overcome.

That giant goal is adding PRESSURE onto your mind and do you know what happens when a container has too much pressure? It pops! Popping can come in the form of a meltdown, a binge, or even giving up entirely (for a few months or so).

The way to escape that problem is by setting up SMALL and REALISTIC goals that you can understand. Ones that you can feel and visualize with ease.

Instead of setting out to lose 180 lbs, set out to lose 10.

Instead of trying to heal your illness, set out to minimize one symptom.

Instead of trying to run a marathon, set out to run for a minute straight.

Instead of trying to overhaul your entire diet, set out to eat a healthy breakfast each day.

Instead of trying to meditate for 30 minutes, 2x/day, try 5 minutes, 1x/day.

Do you see the difference?

Once you have the smaller goal, focus on it.

Visualize it.

Create a plan to hit THAT goal… and then once you do… create another.

You see, you don’t have ONE big goal… you actually have a bunch of small goals that altogether make this giant change. You don’t have to be at your end goal tomorrow, so why are you even thinking about it? You know the goal and you’re putting in the time and energy to build a strong foundation that will lead you exactly where you want to go.

The desire to hit your goals isn’t going anywhere, so do yourself a favor and let go of the pressure to get there ASAP. No one cares about how many times you fail… but they’ll care about how well you succeed. Show them that it’s possible, one tiny goal at a time.

How To Heal: Energy and Shamanism with Dave Eyerman

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This week I connected with Dave Eyerman from Clear and Now Healing to dive into the world of energy and shamanism. I specifically wanted to reach out to Dave because I think there’s a gap in the health and wellness world when it comes to understanding energy work, a method that has contributed to healing for centuries, and I want to bring some awareness to those methods through this interview. 

Carolyn: Hi Dave, thanks for connecting with me today! I always like to start with basic introductions, so, tell me a little about yourself. How did you get involved in Holistic coaching? 

Dave: Pleasure to connect! I’ve been a coach, healer, and teacher my whole life. When I was a kid, I ran for student council in elementary school on a platform that focused on just wanting to make things better. Then, when I was older, I was a high school teacher and loved it. I was good at teaching, but I really liked working with kids 1:1. That clicked with me much more and my wife suggested I go to acupuncture school. I was going through treatment at the time and it was really helpful for me but I didn't know if I wanted to go for it. The short version of the story is that I said no at first but that when I said yes I loved it! 

Carolyn: That's so awesome! I love how life will direct you exactly where you need to be, even if you don't realize it. How did energy work come into play? 

Dave: Well, I added my own stuff over the years like energy work and shamanism but they all kinda layer together. I use them all as tools to an end. Yes, I’m an acupuncturist and a shamanic practitioner but really, I'm a life coach. I help people grow and get clear on who they are so they can live a rich, happy, life. When people come to me and ask if acupuncture is the only way, I say no. There are so many options and it’s really how you use those tools that matters. 

Carolyn: That's the whole point of writing these posts, to let people know that there are SO MANY options to find better health, healing, and happiness. I know you offer both coaching and classes, can you tell me a little bit about your programs? 

Dave: Sure! I teach a few different types. I teach reiki and the other classes are things I've developed myself. For example, I just taught a boundaries class for empaths. I developed these classes as a way to heal myself, but I learned how much they resonate with others. When it comes to empaths, most of us over help. We say yes when we should say no. We help at the expense of ourselves, and while empathy is good and helping is good, we want to do it in a boundary appropriate way. There are issues that are underlying and come from being an empath without boundaries. 

Carolyn: That's what the journey is all about, right? Learning how to navigate the route and then helping others along the same path! 

Dave: Exactly. And this class gives you actionable tools to take with you. We look at why we over care and some techniques to come to a better understand of a way to be healthy with it. I want people to know how to use these concepts so it's all about learning and reflecting. The second half of the class is about just being sensitive to other people's energy. You can take on the energy of the people around you and we go over the how's and why’s that that happens and better boundaries around that. So that’s one class that I teach…. 

Carolyn: Sounds fascinating! What do you want people to take away from working with you?

Dave: The basic aim of my life coaching is to help people live a fuller, richer life. Most commonly people will reach out to me because of stress and anxiety but usually, that points me to something different. How you respond to external pressure shows me more about what’s going on with you. I work with clients to help them move through this. I help them consider how they can become more free from themselves. I call myself a Personal Freedom Advocate. Who we are at our core is whole and complete but all the shit that happens in life layers on top and blocks us from accessing that beautiful truth. I work with clients to help them move those things away so they can reconnect with their truest self. 

Carolyn: Ummm, that sounds incredible! How do you do that? By teaching alternative coaching methods? 

Dave: Actually, I usually don’t teach coping mechanisms. Instead, I like to help clients follow their train of thought to discover the root of where the stress is coming from. If you don’t argue with your anxiety, you can work with it and use it to understand what's really going on under the surface. It’s not about trying to meet your anxiety where it’s at, it’s about clearing out those under-the-surface thoughts and beliefs. What happens is, over time, some of those issues will just go away as you work with the underlying negative thoughts. It happens with practice. 

Carolyn: Speaking my language, my friend! Ok, so let's talk about energy! For the people who have no clue what shamanism is, can you break down how it works?

Dave: Oh yes, shamanism is mankind's oldest spirituality and medicine. It’s built on a couple fundamental principles, taking in all aspects of who you are:

1. Everything is connected. Everything is a relationship. There are many native tribes that don’t have a word for object, so everything is a being, So you’re always in relationship. It brings into focus how you relate in a balanced and honorable way to all beings, and everything then becomes an ally. 

2. Everything is a being. 

3. All beings have a spirit. 

4. All beings are a manifestation of Spirit. Truly, you are Spirit manifesting as a being, just as everything else is. 

A shaman is one who has been trained to connect with the spirits of these beings. I am not a shaman, and I don't think I will never call myself a shaman. That is a community-appointed title, not a self-appointed one. I do shamanic work and use shamanic techniques as part of my healing practice, but I don't call myself a shaman. 

Carolyn: The idea that everything is connected was a really difficult concept for me to grasp for a long time, but now, it all makes so much sense. And what about energy work?

Dave: We know energy. We know what it's like to have a lot of energy. We know what its like to feel low on energy. When we have a lot of energy, we are clear headed, bright eyed, more positive. Low energy is lethargic, etc. If you told someone you’re having a low energy day, they’d get it. So I describe it on that level. In order to get more energy, we need to eat well, sleep well, eat good foods, we know that. All those are active processes, things we have to do in order to get more energy. Receiving Reiki or other energy work is like filling up your gas tank without having to do anything active. And then your body’s natural wisdom knows how to heal itself. If you break your arm, the cast doesn’t heal you, its just protecting it so your body can do its work. 

Carolyn: So, it’s about relaxing the body so it can heal itself. Right?

Dave: You've got it!

Carolyn: I believe that to my core. So tell me, who would benefit from this type of work?

Dave: People who know there's something more to life than what they’re experiencing. Have you ever had the feeling that something is missing? You may not know what that thing is, but something just isn't satisfying or there's some deeper discontent, and I like to help guide people to discovering what that is and incorporating that into their life.  

Carolyn: That's me, for sure, and so many other people I know. What a gift to give such clarity to people! Tell me, what does a class with you look like? What should people expect? 

Dave: To start, usually we do some introductory material to get acquainted. Classes are always a combo of lecture, discussion, and practice because I want everyone to have tools to walk away with. A good teacher is valued based on what students can do on their own after the class is over. I give students the freedom to ask questions and open a discussion in a formally informal setting. It's a casual atmosphere. I wear jeans, I curse, and I try to be as grounded as I can in my presentation. I want to give a hands on approach with tools in a relaxed setting. 

Carolyn: I bet that takes away a lot of nervous tension! What benefits have your clients seen from working on this with you? 

Dave: People have told me it’s been life changing, but you get out of it what you put in. If people are looking to me to fix their problems, they’re staying in disempowerment. When you're working with me, you're making an investment in yourself, a commitment to yourself. When people are invested in the work, they can get to another level of understanding themselves. If people want to change their lives, absolutely this is the place. If you want to become fully alive, more fully who they are, this is the place to do it. 

Carolyn: That's a powerful statement and so true. You get out what you put in! Ugh, I'm so inspired by this interview and I'm sure a lot of other people will be too! Where can people find you? 

Dave: On the web! Find me on my website and my Facebook!

Carolyn: Awesome!! Thank you SO MUCH for meeting with me and sharing some of your knowledge, this was absolutely fascinating!

Dave: It's my pleasure! Thanks for having me!

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.

How To Follow Up On Good Advice

Louise Hay is a hero of mine. 

If you don't know who she is, Louise Hay is a motivational author who wrote the bestselling book: You Can Heal Your Life, and she is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. She was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and healed herself by using a combination of physical, mental, and emotional exercises to understand, overcome, and let go of issues from her childhood. 

I told you... absolutely AH-MAY-ZING! 

I watched this video awhile ago and connected on so many different levels, but when the video was over, I just turned off my computer and didn't put anything into practice. 

And if you're anything like me - you'll think about it, maybe even talk about it, but you struggle to put it to practice. It's weird but I see this happening all the time. We hear great advice that we KNOW we should take, but we continually do the same things over and over again that don't serve to benefit who we are or where we want to go. It's bizarre. 

But I realized, maybe the reason we don't take on the good advice is because it's too much change all at once. Maybe, asking us to adopt 10 new rules for success feels overwhelming. If that’s the case, it’s really the best case scenario because it's easy to work with overwhelming things... you just have to minimize them until they feel doable. 

Every action comes from a thought first. Louise Hay would be the first person to tell you that, but when we overload our mind, we feel too burdened to actually take action.

Don’t make things heavy for yourself. Watch this video and choose 1 thing to change. Work on that and then, once it feels simple, add another.

Before you know it, you’ll be living all 10 and walking in the footsteps of the truly brilliant, Ms. Louise Hay.

With love & light,

Carolyn Kaufman

Resources To Manage Stress and MS

The only thing more stressful than the diagnosis itself is dealing with the symptoms.

MS is a really tough disease that can feel impossible to navigate, but I want to let you know that you have control of the ship and there are so many treatment options available to find relief!

When I first started on the MS path, I thought the only thing I could do was take my medication and “try to stress less”. I had NO IDEA what it meant to stress less (isn’t it a part of life to be stressed?), how to do it, and nothing gave me more stress than taking the medication itself.

I started with injections and I hated it, every single time. I just wanted my disease to go away, but instead, it seemed to get more fierce with each passing day. Everything felt out of control and I didn’t know how to feel grounded again. I needed help and felt completely lost.

That’s why I decided to write this post today. It took me YEARS after diagnosis to reach out for help… but once I did, I was AMAZED at how much is available for MS patients. Non profits like the National MS Society and MS Focus (these are just two of the heavy hitters but there are many small organizations as well) are working day and night to improve the lives of MS patients and I couldn’t be more grateful for all they offer. For example, MS Focus helps to relieve stress with grants for everything from Health and Wellness Programs, Homecare Assistance, Healthcare Assistance, and more!

If you have MS or are affected by a loved one with the diagnosis, use these resources. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reach out to these networks for support and they’ll gladly direct you to relief…. and that’s what matters more than anything. YOUR RELIEF.

Happy healing,

Carolyn Rachel

How To Heal: Yin Yoga with Pamela Newman

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A few years ago, I found myself with a friend in New Hampshire at a Yin Yoga class. I’d been doing yoga at home for quite some time, but I’d never actually been to a class. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I felt nervous, but as the class flowed, I realized how beneficial this type of yoga could be. By the time it was over, my life was changed forever. I was head over heels for Yin.

According to Yogapedia, “Yin Yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative version of the popular physical and spiritual discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues (such as the ligaments) rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement.”

After that first class in New Hampshire, I came back to Boston and immediately searched on google for a nearby class. As if divine intervention was guiding me, I discovered a class at the perfect time above my favorite restaurant in Cambridge (just an aside, it's called Life Alive Cafe and you should DEFINITELY go if you're ever in Boston!). Yin yoga with Pamela became a staple in my weekly routine and I loved how much mental strength I developed by focusing on my breathing during those long holds.  

Through that practice, I’ve learned to better manage stress, to carve time out of my schedule for self care practices, and that healing the body doesn’t have to be aggressive or quick… it can be simple and flow smoothly.

That’s why I wanted to interview my bright light of a yoga teacher and now my great friend, Pamela Newman, to share a little more insight with you into the world of Yin.

Carolyn: Hi Pam! Thank you for interviewing with me! You know how much I love your class and I’d love for others to become aware of the power of Yin, so this is great! Let’s just jump right in… Tell me, what makes yin yoga different than a standard yoga class?  

Pamela: Hey, Carolyn, thanks for having me! Yin targets your connective tissues as opposed to your muscles, like regular yoga classes do, so we do all of our poses on the mat for anywhere from 2-6 minutes.  Each pose is supported with props so you can relax the muscles to stress the connective tissues.

Carolyn: Right. So it’s less about getting a workout and more about relaxing the muscles, which is huge when it comes to reducing stress! What are some other benefits of taking yin/restorative yoga?

Pamela: The benefits are endless!! But to name a few, it helps with stress management, improved joint mobility, increased circulation, lower blood pressure, anxiety reduction, increased flexibility, and it calms and balances mind and body.

Carolyn: No wonder I love this class, I need all of these things… It’s amazing how one class can have such dramatic benefits! Can you break down how a class with you would go?  

Pam: Sure! We open in a relaxing pose to get centered in the present by either lying down or sitting upright. Then, we go through a handful of poses that we hold for 2-6 minutes. It can take up to a minute to set up each pose but, once you are comfortable in the pose, you resolve to be still for the remained of the time and attempt to keep your mind present throughout. At the end of each pose, we come out slowly and do a minute of rebound in a more relaxed posture. Every class ends with an extended Savasana (final relaxation pose).

Carolyn: Ah, Savasana, my favorite part! Despite all the benefits, Yin hasn’t picked up in popularity in the Western world yet. What prompted you to start teaching Yin and Restorative yoga?

Pam: After 10 years of regular vinyasa, ashtanga and Iyengar classes, which are all considered yang or active styles, I took my first ever yin class in Portland Maine with Sagel Ulacher and fell in love. I couldn't believe how challenging it was for me to be still for so long.  As a self proclaimed type A personality, I realized immediately the benefits that slowing down would bring me.  When I started my 200 teacher training I knew right away that I wanted to offer my students Yin and restorative because the benefits of slowing down were endless for me.

Carolyn: Wow, so you fell into it just like I did… except you’ve had a lot more practice with other styles! Ten years is a long time, what got you involved in yoga in the first place?

Pam: My older sister dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a hot yoga class in 2007 when I was staying with her in Princeton, NJ. I had been running for years and never felt so open as during class. I just felt the immediate benefits of better posture and increased confidence. After that, I was hooked.

Carolyn: Oh, that’s so funny that you went kicking and screaming! Funny how we always need what we’re resisting most. So, you teach yin all over Boston now… Who should come to your classes?

Pam: Everyone! Although I believe “should” is a judgment word, so I would say that physically yin yoga is accessible to most people. We use plenty of props to support each individual's postural needs and in our overly busy “on the go” culture, most people would benefit from slowing down and spending some time in their parasympathetic nervous system.

Carolyn: Ah! You caught me using the should word! Louise Hay would be questioning me up and down for using that. And yes, I completely agree… we spend so much time in our Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) that it’s an absolute gift to have Yin to bring us back to our Parasympathetic (rest and digest). After decades of practice, do you have a favorite yoga pose?

Pam: Definitely Deer pose - I have been known to drool over the bolster in this pose :)

Carolyn: Haha, just the imagery makes me laugh. Let’s get back to your class. What’s the main way you hope your class attendees feel after class?

Pam: At ease, centered and grounded in themselves.

Carolyn: That’s beautiful. And what is the main message you hope people will take away from your class?

Pam: You are perfect just the way you are, let's love ourselves a little more and judge a little less.

Carolyn: Amen, girl! What are your top three tips for people who’ve never tried it or are new to yoga?

Pam: Come with an open mind and know you don't have to do any of the poses, breath work or meditation techniques that don't resonate with you.  Everyone's experience will be a little different and you can't do it wrong!

Carolyn: I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions about yourself, Yin, and your class. It was such a pleasure, as always, to connect with you and I can’t wait for my next yin class! Just tell me now, how can people find you?

Pam: I currently teach around Boston at Yoga Works in Back Bay, The Corner Studio in Medford, and Coolidge Yoga in South End. To keep up to date on my classes or any pop ups, follow me on instagram at instagram.com/yinspiritwarrior!

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.