Author Archive


Loving Your Good Enough Body-Part II

July 11th, 2021 — 11:38am

Here’s a link to my interview with the fabulous Nick Mattos for The Shift Network’s Transforming Your Health Summit! https://vimeo.com/user103192897/review/561545228/740d29933c

This interview is part of the Transform Your Health Summit a free online event. For more information, please visit https://transforminghealthsummit.com. This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.

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Loving Your Good Enough Body

June 24th, 2021 — 1:01pm

Pretty darned happy to be presenting at The Shift Network’s upcoming Transform Your Health Summit! I’ll be speaking with the wonderful Nick Mattos on Loving Your Good Enough Body (for real folks, no time better than now). The Summit runs June 28 to July 2. My session is on June 29 at 1 pm. Here’s the info, but check out the other speakers including John Douillard, Bernadette Pleasant, Abiola Abrams and others. Did I mention it’s free? Such a deal!!

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Happy Tenth Anniversary Ravenous!!

May 11th, 2021 — 3:30pm

Happy tenth anniversary to Ravenous!! What a joy you were to write! Though I had teachers tell me to write what I know, that never seemed to interest me. Instead, I write to discover who I am, and what my purpose is in this gorgeous and difficult world.

While our souls may be immortal, our bodies are not – they are the beautiful, vulnerable vessels with which we navigate the lessons of this world. Ravenous may have started as a journey to lose weight, but it taught me much more. I learned that kindness, with regard to the body, (and pretty much everything else), is essential; that the habit of judgment can be softened; that there is no such a thing as perfection; and that regardless of our shapes or sizes, our bodies, and ourselves, without exception, are worthy of our respect, kindness, and Love. The journey continues.

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Ravenous: An Interview

August 26th, 2020 — 4:34pm

I was recently interviewed on a radio show and sent her this Q&A from the book’s press kit. There’s a lot of sturdy info here on finding a healthy weight and maintaining it. It’s been a long journey and I’m proud to say the nuggets of insight in here still hold true for me. Perhaps they will be useful for you too.

An interview with Dayna Macy
author of Ravenous: A Food Lover’s Journey from Obsession to Freedom

1. Why did you write Ravenous?

I wanted to learn to eat in a way that would bring my body into balance and health.

2. So how did you do that?

As a food writer, I know a lot about food. And as a longtime yoga practitioner, I know a lot about yoga. But this knowledge did not translate into weight loss. I kept gaining weight steadily, year after year. It was not until I replaced the very American notions of diet and willpower with the idea of eating as a “practice” that things began to shift.

3. How do you approach eating now?

I measure my food. I weigh it, and then I record it in a journal. This is not unique – there are different weight loss programs that use this method. The difference for me is that I see that what lies beneath are some profound questions: “what is enough?” “Can I learn be satisfied with less?” And finally, “what does it really mean to be nourished?”

This is awareness that comes from the inside out, helped along by the practice of measuring. This is not typically what one thinks of as a diet, which is a word I never use.

4. Why don’t you use the word diet?

Words are important, and for me, a diet is something that you go on, which means it’s also something you go off. Like flipping a switch– you’re either on a diet or you’re not. And that all or nothing approach isn’t real life. It’s based on some misguided idea of perfection — if I eat only this and not that I’m going to win. But life is not a game. You don’t win or lose. It’s a journey.

5. In your book, you write that, “One needs limits to be free”. That sounds contradictory. Can you explain what you mean?

We live in a culture that disdains limits. We don’t like to be told “no”. But this is also a mixed message. More is better when it comes to many things, so the typical portion size in America is pretty gigantic. But we’re also told that fat is bad and that you are more valuable as a person if you are thin. It’s hard to be moderate in a culture that lauds excess, offers cheap processed food filled with fat, salt and sugar that’s been engineered to be addictive, and then tells you that you have to be skinny to be worthy.

Many of us think that freedom can be found in having whatever we want when we want. I know I used to. But now I see that with food, drawing boundaries around what and how much I eat keeps me healthy. And, as an added bonus, I appreciate my food more too.

6. What has most affected what and how you eat?

My yoga practice. If you practice yoga for a while, you begin to realize that the body is really quite eloquent in expressing its true needs. Yoga forces you to slow down and teaches you to pay attention – to the physical body, and to your breath. So I learned to pay attention to myself around food.

The foods I cover in the first section of my book– chocolate, sausage, cheese and olives – are trigger foods for me. All I know is “I want that and I want that now!” Yoga though, helps me take a step back, and see that I’m in that state, and to just take a moment and pause. When I can do that, I have a greater chance of avoiding overeating.

7. So if you know that you have a problem with certain “trigger” foods, why did you spend so much time working with food artisans who specialize in those foods?

The foods that I cover in the beginning of the book have had a visceral hold on me since childhood. I wanted to delve more deeply into these foods to see if I could unlock their hold on me. They became a springboard for examining the roles these foods played in my childhood. It turned out that every one of these were my comfort foods, foods that felt like an embrace, like love. They steadied me during my chaotic childhood.

What I learned is that these foods are not love. They’re food. One is not a substitute for the other. This realization is allowing me to create a different relationship with them. I can occasionally eat them and just enjoy them for what they are — delicious food — and not a lover, a mother, or a long-lost friend.

8. How did you feel when the nutrition professor you interviewed in your book called you “fat?”

Dr. Linda Bacon is a writer whose work I admire and trust. I asked her if I was fat, because I have been dancing around that word for years. But when she said, “Yes, you’re fat,” I both wanted to smack her and simultaneously burst out laughing. She was right, and dragging the “f” word out of the closet was incredibly liberating.

9. How was it liberating?

It was the start of what I call, “clear seeing,” which forms the basis for true transformation. Change that comes from deep within cannot begin from a state of illusion.

I want to be clear. I make no judgment of who should lose weight. These are individual choices and I have a lot of respect and admiration for what is called “fat acceptance”. Everyone has the fundamental right to be proud of their body and the skin their in. But I felt uncomfortable in mine. My excess weight showed up in joint pain, in my yoga practice – it tired me and started wearing me down.

10. How much weight did you actually lose?

About thirty pounds.

11. What surprised you the most in the course of writing your book?

I became less romantic about food, but much more grateful for it. And I learned that it’s easier to lose weight than our judgment about weight.

I thought the journey I was going on was only about food, but as my eating issues have become quieter, I realize how much time I’ve spent fretting about my body, and that there are so many other interesting things to pay attention to! I needed to go on this journey because I need my body to be healthy, but I need it to be healthy not only because I want to feel and look better, but because there’s so much more I want to do in the world.

12. The subtitle of your book is “A Food Lover’s Journey from Obsession to Freedom.” So are you free from your obsession with food?

I’d say I’m freer, but I’m not fully free. I’m a work in progress.

And for me, freedom does not mean reaching a certain weight. Freedom also means letting go of the idea of perfection.

13. What is it you hope readers take away from “Ravenous”?

A: I now wear a size 12 or 14. In other words, I’m a typical American woman. And I like my body. I may not love my belly that still looks pregnant, but it’s this same belly that carried my twin boys, and how miraculous is that? I don’t yearn to be a size 6, because my body would not get there without doing some serious violence to it. And that’s a non-starter.

I want people to know that when it comes to finding a balanced relationship with food and reaching a healthy weight, struggle may be part of the journey but doesn’t need to define it. This is not a battle and your body is not the enemy. Your body, mind, and spirit are all equal partners.

I want people to know that habits can change, slowly over time. Have patience, and take the long view.

But mostly, be grateful for your body, no matter what your size. Our bodies are only on temporary loan to us, and we need to take care of them because they are the vehicles with which we move through our lives. Be grateful right now for the skin you’re in. There is no time to waste.

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Chocolate Chip Loaf with Cinnamon Swirl

April 27th, 2020 — 12:13pm

An easy and comforting, home-spun breakfast bread or dessert.

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tablespoons butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cinnamon Sugar:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon for cinnamon sugar
In a third bowl, mix together butter and sugar. Add eggs, mix well. Add in vanilla. Mix well.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Add the buttermilk or yogurt and stir until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spoon 1/2 the batter into a loaf pan that has been coated with oil. Spoon the cinnamon sugar evenly over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter to cover.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean . Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

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Old Fashioned Granola

March 10th, 2020 — 10:02pm

Nothing like a pandemic to bring back the domestic arts. If you’ve gotta cocoon, you might as be well fed.

Here’s a really simple recipe for old fashioned granola. Yummy alone, with milk, nut milks, or over yogurt.

3-1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole almonds, unsalted
1 cup coconut, unsweetened (optional)
3 Tablespoons flax seeds, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Spread onto cookie sheet with edges or large baking dish.
Bake for 10 minutes. Stir. Bake for 10 more minutes.

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The Numbers Game

April 15th, 2019 — 1:06pm

Someone asked me recently how much weight I lost. Enough, I said. She wasn’t satisfied. She wanted a number. I didn’t give it.

I’m not being coy or modest. Playing the numbers game doesn’t work for me. It’s a way of measuring success, or beauty, or worthiness that depends entirely on an outside source of validation. This feels like a prison cell to me. Why would I give that power to anyone, or anything?

First, a disclaimer: I don’t talk about weight much anymore. Having gone on my journey, I am grateful for the freedom that living in a less weighty body gives. I’m grateful for my body’s strength and grace. I’m grateful NOT to think about it that much. But I notice how people get stuck on numbers, and how fixating on numbers can cause pain. When is enough enough? What happens if you gain weight? Will you be any less happy because of it? Perfection is the enemy of the good, or good enough.

I get that stepping on the scale can be useful, and I’m not immune to checking in occasionally. It can be a source of information, but it’s not the answer to bodily happiness or health. The scale can never takes the place of developing your internal barometer of hunger and satiety, and that can be an interesting and rich journey. Learning to listen, and learning to pay attention is a powerful gift you can give yourself. Your happiness is not based on a number, it’s based on your relationship to your own body.

I’ve lost enough weight now that I can move more freely and lightly through the world. I’ve lost enough weight that my blood sugar and cholesterol levels have dropped considerably. I’ve lost enough weight that I can joyfully practice and teach Pilates.

We’re all embodied in a certain way. I’m curvy, even still, with my weight loss. Hallelujah!

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Mushroom Barley Soup

February 4th, 2019 — 3:35pm

Here’s the recipe for my FB Post on mushroom barley soup:

Mushroom Barley Soup, adapted from “Jewish Cooking in America” by Joan Nathan

2Tbs dried mushrooms (I use mixture of shitake, maitake, and sometimes reishi for its healing properties), soaked in hot water for ½ hour
3 TBS butter
1 large onion diced
2 celery ribs diced
2 carrots peed and sliced
½ cup fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 pound fresh mushrooms (I mix shitake with crimini)
1 TBS Flour
2 quarts broth or water (I use vegetable broth but chicken or beef stock is fine too)
1 cup whole barley
Salt and pepper to taste

Strain mushroom, retain broth
Chop mushrooms
Melt butter in stockpot
Add onion, celery, ½ parsley, carrot, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Saute until soft
Lower heat, add flour for a few minutes, making sure to stir so it doesn’t stick
Add broth or water, turn heat up
Add reserved barley, dried mushrooms and mushroom water
Simmer covered for about an hour or until barley is reasonably tender
Add additional parsley, mix, and serve!

Serves 6 – 8

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Quiet (er)

January 15th, 2019 — 1:14pm

I was interviewed last week by the wonderful Emily Francis of healthylife.net. The full interview is here. We discussed Ravenous, which was published 7-1/2 years ago. I’m so proud of that book! I wrote it true. And the journey has continued.

Speaking with Emily reminded me how much quieter this weight journey has become, all that noise and chatter about should and shouldn’t, all those disappointments I used to carry about my weight. Truth is, I don’t think about weight that much anymore, and I don’t talk about it either. Through living my life and taking what I’ve learnedfrom Ravenous, I’ve lost and kept off a lot of pounds and several sizes. So though there’s not much more of a weight journey, there is a life journey. My life. And it’s precious, just like yours.

Here are a few things I’ve learned, in no particular order:

Say something kind to your body everyday. No matter what. Your body is the vessel which takes you through the world and it is precious. It is to be honored. And thanked. I found losing weight was easier when I was kind to myself.

Weight is not a war, it’s a conversation. The mind is not the General doling out commands. Body, mind and spirit are three equal partners at the table with each spoke of the triad guiding you to what is next. I found it possible only to shed weight when all three aspects of my life were given equal time and respect.

To decrease weight, decrease stress. Losing weight takes time and attention. It takes **awareness. And stress can lead you out of awareness into habit.

Other people’s judgements about your weight are judgements about themselves. Judging others makes them feel better. I recently had a relative tell me how “great I look” but I should lose more weight. This person is so hard on herself. When she was a size 6 she felt big. This statement was about her, not me. I said to her, not unkindly, “Please keep your judgments out of my body. They are not welcome.”

Perfection is the enemy of the good. Your weight is not an ultimate number, it’s how you FEEL embodied, not what you THINK about your body.

Develop your internal compass. Do you know what real hunger feels like? (And I say this knowing it’s a privileged question to ask because it assumes there is a choice, which is not always true.) I was always running away from hunger, and the fear of future hunger. But when I allowed myself to feel it, I learned it wasn’t going to kill me. This was a useful tool (and interesting to write about) because i began to discern the difference between real hunger and mouth hunger. And when I was truly hungry I ate. This practice helped me develop my own internal compass around hunger and eating, which ultimately is what you will need to develop in order to keep weight off over a long period of time.

Yep, eat your veggies. And drink your water. Eat real food when you can, no matter what else you are eating. The journey is not only about what you leave out but also what you add in. I recommend dancing as well.

Keep moving. Whatever brings you joy! Walking, dancing, gardening, the body is meant to move!

Take the long view. Weight is not measured in 24 hour increments. Weight arcs over a long period of time. There will be plateaus, your body is getting used to being at a new weight. If and when it’s ready, it will continue. There are healthy weight ranges. Don’t fixate on a number. Take the long view.

When given the opportunity, the body wants to heal.

Acknowledge that weight loss is a loss. You may have deeply negative feelings about your weight but it’s there for a reason and life is still there even after weight comes off.

And finally, did I mention how essential kindness is? I did. And it is worth repeating: Say something kind to your body everyday. No matter what. Your body is what takes you through the world and it is to be honored and thanked. It is precious.

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Going Grey

August 11th, 2017 — 6:02pm

Here’s my piece which was just published in Yoga Journal, about letting my silver hair grow out. The upshot? I’m a happy camper.

—–

NATURAL BEAUTY
Gray Hair, Don’t Care: How to Embrace Your Natural Color
Dayna Macy, Yoga Journal’s director of corporate communications, shares what drove her to do away with dye and her unexpected discovery when she did.
DAYNA MACY
AUG 3, 2017

I was buying plants at my local nursery—dressed in sweaty yoga clothes and eager to get my latest haul into the ground—when I caught the man in line behind me staring at my hair. My messy, silver hair.

“Your hair is beautiful,” he said. I turned crimson, then thanked him.

I am seriously vain about my hair. Twenty years ago, I found the hairdresser of my dreams, who kept my medium-length shag just rocker-edgy enough for me to avoid sliding into middle-age frump. (My personal nightmare: The image of a 50-something me with a neat bob and wearing elastic pants.)

Ten years ago, when my gray starting coming in unapologetically, my stylist began dyeing my hair a lovely, dark chestnut with coppery highlights that showed off my layers. At first, I dyed my hair every four months. Then every two months. Then every month. Then every two weeks: That became the deal breaker.

My scalp itched. I popped antihistamines and kept my personal pain private, continuing to color my hair until one day I literally could not drag myself to the hairdresser even one more time. My inner rebel roared to life and made an executive decision. I was done with dye.

See also 15 Anti-Aging Health Benefits of Yoga That Will Make You Want to Start Practicing Now

I started to let my hair grow out, pulling it down into bangs. I rediscovered my love for hats. I artfully hid my gray for three months, until there was no denying it anymore.

So, I didn’t.

A few months in, I realized my hair wasn’t just gray. It was silver-white in the front with silver-and-dark streaks in the back. And it looked, well, awesome. I had expected to simply make peace with my gray hair. But the more my hair grew out, the more I fell in love with it. I felt a little subversive and downright sexy—whether men at the plant shop were checking me out or not.

As I’ve fully embraced my gray, I now feel the kind of freedom I’ve long felt on my yoga mat. Freedom not only in my body, but also in my mind and spirit. Freedom to be who I am, with complete faith that that’s enough.

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