The Kripalu Approach to Diet

Anybody who has tried a diet knows how hard diets are to maintain. It’s not at all uncommon to gain more weight after the diet than you lost. With more than two-thirds of adults overweight (as of 2014), the need for a structured approach to diet that gives lasting results, has never been more evident.

Kripalu’s groundbreaking weight loss program led by Aruni Nan Futuronsky and Dr. Lisa Nelson is here to meet that need. Aruni is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, and the senior Life Coach and Program Advisor for Kripalu Healthy Living programs. She has been teaching in a variety of venues for more than 35 years, and has been on the Kripalu faculty for more than 20.

“The Kripalu Approach to Diet shifts the nutritional paradigm from a typical, calorie-focused diet, to a sustainable, manageable, incrementally based lifestyle shift. Lifestyle is the problem; it is also the solution,” Aruni explains. “Kripalu utilizes mindfulness, developing the capacity to notice our behavior without judgment. Without right or wrong, we readjust our behavior to make sustainable changes.”

“One of the beautiful aspects of this program is that we help guests understand that there is no single “right” way to eat,” adds Dr. Lisa Nelson, the Director of Medical Education for Kripalu Healthy Living programs. “There are many ways to eat and enjoy food, and our approach is to focus on food quality and the mindful experience of eating, rather than what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’ That said, guests learn about nutrition, the physiology and psychology of eating. We discuss why whole foods—even foods that people have been taught to worry about, like nuts, avocados, and eggs—promote feelings of satiety and can aid in weight loss.”

“We explain how overly refined, sugary, or processed foods actually undermine our ability to feel full and affect our neurochemistry in ways that increase cravings and overeating,” Dr. Nelson continues. “[We explain] how a plant based diet—meaning one that is rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and healthy oils—promotes health and reduces our risk of chronic disease. The other way this program is unique is the on-site immersion. While guests learn about healthy eating habits, they experience delicious, organic, nutrient-rich, whole foods three times a day. The Kripalu Kitchen is renowned for its delicious, nutritious food, and we help guests understand first hand why eating healthy does not mean bland, boring, or restricted eating. While we do offer sustainably raised meat as part of many of our meals, we also offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options. The Kripalu Kitchen experience shows us we can love food that loves us back.”

Not into cooking? No problem. This program can still really help you. Kripalu is dedicated to supporting their guests in demystifying relationships with both food and cooking. Guests include foodies who are experts in the kitchen, and those who aren’t comfortable in the kitchen at all.

Executive Chef, Jeremy Rock Smith, leads a powerful and empowering cooking demonstration during the five-day immersion. Additionally, they pass out recipes and many more are available during the online segments of the program. Chef Smith, who joined Kripalu in 2010, also has five cooking demos as part of the Module 3 at-home work. “We encourage everyone from comfortable chef to adverse to the kitchen—all are welcomed and all learn and grow in this program,” Aruni explains joyfully.

“We remind people that delicious, healthy whole foods don’t have to be complicated,” Dr. Nelson adds. “A healthy breakfast could consist of a hard-boiled egg, an apple, and almond butter—hardly any cooking involved. Learning how to make beans and rice, a simple stir-fry, or just steaming or roasting vegetables can go really far. We make sure people have the tools they need to assemble nourishing, simple, and satisfying meals.”

The Kripalu Approach to Diet is perfect for anybody who wants to lose weight or gain more energy; is stuck in the endless cycle of yo-yo dieting, or struggles with their relationship with food. People who have had “wake-up calls” about their health and well-being, or people who know food occupies too much of their thinking, will achieve balance and transformation with this program.

This proven five day wellness retreat is now enhanced with six weeks of online learning. This added online component is full of support and motivation. By working online, you continue to work towards your wellness goals even after you have left the beautiful Kripalu campus.

By the time you’re done with the program, you will feel empowered, self-connected, and reunited with your intentions to lead a healthy life.

“A participant in the last program entered the immersion experience feeling hopeless and despairing,” Aruni tells me. “She had lived through so many struggles with food, so much challenge and pain. She was getting older (in her 60’s), and wanted more vitality and energy, but very negative; she was pretty sure this program would not help her at all. I just got an e-mail message from her that said, ‘Thank you, Aruni. I loved every single moment of this program. I am inspired, energized, and practicing!’ This is just one of so many stories like this.”

“The underlying question is—what am I really hungry for? So often, the food covers up a deeper imbalance,” Aruni continues. “We’re interested in the food, of course, but also in the real source of the hunger. We support our guests in tweaking behavior in a yogic fashion, utilizing that balance of mindful presence plus the right use of will, to make changes.”

Unlike so many diet and weight loss programs, there is no such thing as “wrong” in the Kripalu Approach to Diet. “It is an experiment in mindful living,” explains Aruni. “Each day is an opportunity to consider how to best nourish ourselves, both in the realm of food and in the other pillars of self-care.”

The program costs $799 + $75 technology fee. That rate includes a five-night stay, room and meals, based on accommodations choice. Yes, financial aid is available. The Kripalu Approach to Diet begins February 22nd. You can register here.

Photo by Kripalu.