I wish I had 100 copies of this book. After giving a copy to each of my family members, friends and clients, and then donating a copy to my local library, I would save the last three copies for myself: one copy would sit in the fridge, another in front of the bathroom mirror and the last one I’d keep in my purse – just in case.
I wish I had written this book myself, but I’m not a world-renowned doctor, philosopher, motivational speaker or author of 22 bestselling books like Deepak Chopra. But I will steal a page (or two) from his approach to healing everything:
“It’s incomplete medicine when the mind-body connection is being ignored. In anyone’s story, the main themes aren’t incidental or irrelevant. When you feed negative input into the brain, it changes, shaping itself to conform to the messages it receives. The brain has no mind of its own. It cannot choose which instructions to obey and which to ignore. You are the one who possesses a mind, and you are the author writing your story…you can feed negative messages to your brain or positive messages – the choice is yours.” (p 38-39)
This is Dr. Chopra’s overture to the best anti-dieting book ever. Why “anti-dieting”? Because diets don’t work. And why don’t they work? Because any approach that addresses only the superficial issue, i.e. “overeating”, or a regimen that requires unsatisfying and narrowly limited food choices never touches the source of our cravings – hence the question: “What is it that you are really hungry for?”
Dr. Chopra’s answer is simple enough: fulfillment. When we reach for a candy bar on the run or go back for seconds when we’re already full, we are trying to fill another void in our lives – a need for love, self-esteem, a sense of purpose. We know a salad would be better than a plate of french fries, we know that taking a walk would be better than watching a movie…and yet we rarely make the better choice. We’ve heard all the good advice about how to get healthier, lose weight and enjoy life…and yet we find it impossible to change. “What’s missing,” Chopra argues, “is how to change.”
“Awareness is key, because we have all been trained through massive conditioning to damage our bodies…All of these obstacles begin in one place: the mind…Knowledge is important, but adding more good advice isn’t the solution to healthy eating. The solution is to transform your awareness.” (p 6-7)
So, in reality, this is a spiritual-psychology-holistic health book brilliantly disguised as a “solution to permanent weight loss”. He begins by candidly sharing his own struggles with managing his weight, and pointing out the irony that a conventionally trained Western endocrinologist had to re-discover Ayurveda – the traditional holistic medicine of his ancestors – to find the solution.
He holds the readers’ hand through the opening chapters offering typical advice on “clean eating” and “meal planning”. Once he’s got you on the boat, he weaves science, philosophy, the poetry of Rumi, humor and quantum mechanics into the process of self-transformation.
At the bottom of the rabbit hole, we finally arrive at the very source of our hunger – lack of awareness. Our general absent-mindedness is what perpetuates poor choices that lead to poor health. Dr. Chopra recognizes the deeply ingrained patterns that keep us trapped in bad habits. But finding fulfillment is not as elusive as we think:
“Happiness…is the natural by-product of waking up to who you are and why you are here. You can find out those things only through expanded awareness, but expanded awareness depends on something that comes first: the courage to see your situation without denial or giving in to the temptation to be unconscious.” (p 126)
Reading this book is an exercise in moment-by-moment awareness. At every turn he is asking us to pay attention – to wake up! Dr. Chopra gently and skillfully guides his readers in a course from the “Joy of Awareness” to “Lightness of Soul” – and, of course there are delicious and fulfilling recipes at the end!
Deepak Chopra’s approach to cleansing and eating, life in general, is the optimal weaving together of body, speech and mind. Join the Holistic Homestead for our annual online Spring Cleanse: Body, Speech & Mind, April 22 – 29. Register by clicking this link, cheers to your health!