Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guest blog from Jessica Berger Gross






(While I am drowning in novel pages, Jessica Berger Gross has come to my rescue with a wonderful new book, and a wonderful guest blog.  Thank you, Jessica.)

When I was younger – as a girl growing up on Long Island, and later as a young woman living in New York City – I subsisted on bagels with cream cheese, cheap beer and cigarettes. Exercise meant forcing myself to the gym and hanging out on a workout machine for twenty minutes before heading home to my studio apartment to put up a box of pasta.  It was thrilling to be bar hopping in the Lower East Side at 4 am, but I could have done without the morning after hangover and feelings of emptiness.  Not to mention the too tight jeans.

I hit bottom at age 29.  I was depressed, 40 pounds overweight, and newly unemployed. Some mornings, I couldn’t get out of bed.  I had dreams though – crazy-sounding dreams for my life:  I wanted to write, I wanted to practice and teach yoga; I wanted to, one day, become a mother.  More than anything, I wanted to learn how to wake up happy.

Sometimes when we’re most desperate, that’s when the answers come.  I started paying attention – to the yoga philosophy my teachers mentioned in class; to the connections between what I ate and how I felt the next day; to how great it felt to take a walk whether through nature or down city sidewalks. Fast forward through a year of walking everyday, eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and lentils and much less of everything else, and cutting out drinking and smoking – not to mention dysfunctional relationships – I’d lost 40 pounds, had my first piece of writing published, and started teaching yoga.  In the eight years since, my far-fetched dreams have somehow come true.  I’m a writer, a yogi, and a new mom.

In my book enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer (Skyhorse, May 2009) I share my story, along with the lessons I learned from yoga philosophy – and some of my most inspiring healthy living friends and teachers. enLIGHTened is both a memoir and a conscious-living and eating guide complete with yoga poses and philosophy, simple vegetarian recipes, and suggestions for conscious living, eating and moving.


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