By KRS Edstrom



 Dear KRS, I am 39 years old and 5’7'’ tall. My build is medium to large. I would like to get my weight down from 241 to 151 or so. My life is quite stressful and I am on an anti-depressant called Zoloft, without which I could not function. Could you tell me of a weight loss/shape up program I could do myself? I belong to a gym, and have time to exercise. Thanks.
Zoloft User Wanting Exercise Plan

Dear Zoloft User,
Exercise is exactly the right answer for “all that ails you” — stress, excess weight and even depression. Studies have shown that exercise can significantly reduce depression. In fact, mental institutions are increasingly using exercise for just that purpose and it has proven to compete quite respectably with prescriptive anti-depressants. I have had many clients who started exercising with the primary goal to get in physical shape, but after feeling the uplifting psychological benefits, now exercise primarily for the stress reducing or “feel good” aspect. That’s when I know they’re hooked for lasting reasons and are truly self-motivated.

What is the best weight loss program for you? One you will DO. I’m not being sarcastic. If you don’t like it you won’t keep it up for long. Anything that gets you to safely move your body and sweat 4-5 times a week for 20-40 minutes will do the trick. Skip the weights until you get hooked on exercise and closer to your ideal weight. Right now you want to focus on mental fitness, losing the excess weight and getting healthy versus building muscle. Walking is an excellent, safe fat burner if you move at a good pace. Walk with a friend and watch the miles slip by as you talk. Remember to start out any exercise program gradually and increase frequency, duration and intensity as your mind and body are ready. Also mix up your exercise routine to avoid boredom and injuries.

Dear KRS,
I am a 21-year-old female college student. I have taken a yoga class and am currently taking a stress management class. In both of these classes, on occasion the instructor has invited the class to meditate or otherwise enter a deeper state. No one but me seems to have a problem engaging in this activity, but as soon as the instructor invites us to close our eyes, I start to cry and feel terrible. I don’t experience any frightening or sad images when I close my eyes, it’s just that a lump forms in my throat and the tears start coming.

Today we had a guest lecture by a hypnosis expert, who demonstrated a simple hypnosis technique on a classmate and then taught us a simple method of self-hypnosis . . . except for me. While the rest of the class was moving toward relaxation, I found myself inexplicably tense, in tears and had to leave the room. I was trying to follow her instructions, but for some reason they had an opposite effect to the one intended. After class I went back to my room and cried for about an hour, feeling terrible.

Can you give me any advice or insight? I’d really like to someday be able to meditate and relax without all this emotional pain.
Crying Meditation

Dear Crying Meditation,
Congratulations in your quest toward inner growth and having the courage to resolve your meditation dilemma rather than pushing it away. Please recognize that this is as important a process for you as learning to relax. Every obstacle presents itself to us as an opportunity for growth. In facing this you may well be digging deeper than anyone else in the class who is gliding through effortlessly. Here are a few suggestions to help you make use of this wonderful challenge:

1) Ease into it, little by little. If your experience is worse when you close your eyes, keep your eyes open. In fact, at first you might want to actually look around the room a bit and keep yourself partially distracted from the experience, listening to it “in the background” of your mind. Feel free to come and go from the classroom as you like. (You might want to explain your process to the instructor and stay in the back of the class so you don’t disrupt the class as you leave).

2) You might want to try other instructors or start with an audio tape so you can play just a very few minutes of it at a time in the privacy of your own room. I have guided meditation tapes you can test for free on my website at ( ). Go to the Serenity & Meditation Corner). Again, listen to just a bit at a time. My tapes focus on a technique called mindfulness that actually works with the discomfort of the emotions. In meditation, sensations and feelings arise that have been buried for a long time, so when they appear they can sometimes sort of pour out. It can seem a bit strange and even scary because it is different. But relaxing around the discomfort can be very transformative and exciting work.

3) Write about it. Going to a still place can alarm some people because there is something they don’t want to “see” or remember, such as abuse. I’m not suggesting this is the case, but merely trying to present you with as much information as possible. You might try writing about your experience and see what comes out of that pen. For example, what emotion is there at that moment when the tears come? Describe (write about) those feelings.

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at  .  For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: askkrs@aol . com

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