Publisher, author, registered dietitian, yoga teacher and Kaua‘i resident Annie B. Kay challenges body image, junk-food obsession and societal expectations in her new book “Every Bite is Divine.” Having struggled with her own journey through unhealthy body image, unbalanced lifestyle and yo-yo dieting, Kay has written an inspiring book that focuses on holistic health through the multi-modal approach of sensible nutrition and the practice of yoga.
“We each have a perfect natural weight and shape,” writes Kay, “but it’s easy to get caught in the spiral of stress, body hatred, dieting and bingeing. By remembering how to care for ourselves lovingly, we gracefully create our unique and healthy body. Crash diets are not in the picture. Through yoga and other methods of relaxation and rediscovering sensible self-care basics, we can find peace with food, and a spiritual path to our true self.”
While holistic medicine, nutrition and yoga have been linked by Eastern or alternative health care professionals for centuries, Kay uses her own extensive experience to introduce and provide practical information for the person who feels chronically unbalanced and confused by the labyrinth of the American diet industry. When cartoon-ish cereal boxes and fruity yogurt packaging make it is easy to forget that food is not meant for entertainment — true nourishment comes from the powerful properties of the food we ingest. The relationship between physical activity and food, yoga and nutrition may be new to the industrial west, but the two have been long-married in Chinese and Indian Auryvedic medicine. Kay introduces these concepts to the uninitiated.
After a short introduction to America’s obesity epidemic, Kay uses easy-to-follow charts and graphs to educate, define and suggest healthy changes in exercise and nutrition. Navigating through ‘the weight-loss circus’ Kay outlines the basics to growing a ‘healthy weight lifestyle,’ including emphasis placed on changes that can be sustained throughout a lifetime.
As a certified Hatha yoga teacher from the respected Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, Kay writes a simple and concise chapter to define Hatha yoga, meditation and it’s ability to contribute to a stable and healthy weight. Though for many who practice Hatha yoga or meditation Kay’s descriptions may seem rudimentary, for the curious novice, the author makes the world of yoga easily digestible. Later in the book, helpful diagrams show various yoga positions and basic instructions.
As a registered dietitian, Kay uses a combination of worksheets, portion charts and writing to educate and help guide the reader into creating a balanced and sustainable ‘diet.’ Kay hopes these techniques will “relax, make you more comfortable in your ‘natural body,’ and allow eating to once again become a way to celebrate life and give yourself the care you deserve.” Kay insists, “this is not another ‘diet how-to plan’, instead it teaches readers how to appreciate their bodies and adopt healthy, satisfying and balanced eating habits.”
As a way to put yogic sutras (truths) into action, Kay outlines helpful activities and journal-writing exercises that are geared to learning a higher level of self-awareness. By positive affirmations and honest reflection, ‘Every Bite is Divine’ supports changes in psychology and the body. In chapter five ‘The Art and Science of Transformation’ Kay explains the process of lasting mental change leads to behavioral changes. Combined with quotes from both students and teachers peppered throughout the book, there is a balanced mix of real-life concerns and inspiring quotes to live and learn by.
Kay lives on the North Shore from January to April and in Nantucket during the summer. In the winter here she participates in the Wellness Expo as well as teaching private groups on-island. Kay wrote the book for anyone who is struggling with body image, weight or emotional eating, but feels that these issues most often affect women. Kay has been working in the nutritional field for years — including directing statewide public education programs at the Mass. Department of Public Health and has appeared on CNN, written for ‘Cooking Light’ and contributed to numerous national media outlets.
For more information or to purchase the book ‘Every Bite is Divine’ visit www.anniebkay.com.
10 Ways to Love Your Body
… And escape the self-defeating diet-binge cycle for good
Annie Kay MS RD RYT
1. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: remind yourself of the people and things that make you feel grateful.
2. Develop your compassion: try to be kind to yourself and others.
3. Get outraged to get motivated: check out www.aboutface.org to see just how soul-destroying advertising can be.
4. Reward yourself: develop a list of non-food rewards and honor yourself liberally.
5. Empower yourself: remember each of us is responsible for the life experience we create.
6. Celebrate you body right now: what is beautiful about it? What is your best feature? Let how you feel about your best feature inform the areas you don’t feel so good about.
7. Trust yourself: You know who you are and what to do to let your truest self shine.
8. Be a flexible gatekeeper: can you eat and care for yourself in a loving way that allows for everyday health and occasional healthy splurges?
9. Cultivate positive thoughts: when you notice a judging or negative thought, can you turn it around and make it a positive one?
10. Nurture yourself: What can you feed your body and your soul and your spirit to let it grow.