Overhauling your health doesn’t have to be so painful. (Photo: Getty)
Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight or get healthy can tell you, deprivation is almost impossible to sustain. Yet, most health and diet plans target what you should be taking out of your diet, paired with an overwhelming list of to do’s that make trying to be healthy a fulltime job, not something you can do around a busy life. It’s a problem that yoga guru Lauren Imparato understood all too well when she was working on Wall Street. “Following a step-by-step restrictive program that overpromises a new you is stressful and soul crushing: when we don’t reach our goals, we blame ourselves instead of the system. Transforming and restricting your life completely is unrealistic,” she writes in her new book ReTox.
Imparato who is a self-processed Type A striver, had a busy career in finance in Manhattan and did all the things she thought would be good for her health. She was running 60 miles a week, eating salads with every meal, but she still battled insomnia, digestive issues, weight gain, and anxiety. Her boyfriend suggested yoga, to help ease stress and lengthen her body. Imparato scoffed thinking the practice would be too easy and not transformative. “I went to a yoga class,” Imparato tells Yahoo Beauty. “But I went to prove him wrong.” Within weeks, however, she was going seven days a week.
Imparato loved yoga so much that she began teaching it on the side, but wanted her approach to be different than the chanting, hippie-ish, New Age version. “I realized there wasn’t a lens for meditation and yoga that spoke to people like me, that could help you manage your life within the context of your career,” she explains. She quit her job and decided to open a wellness lifestyle company and yoga studio I.AM.YOU in 2009 in Manhattan.
The core of her philosophy is incredibly appealing to anyone who has tried, and failed to get healthy. It’s also completely and refreshingly unpreachy. Imparato admits of staying out late, loving meat, and overdoing it. Her new book Retox is designed to appeal to “not only wellness and yoga junkies devoted to their own health and spirit but also to those of us who are willing to prioritize our careers, social lives, and families over our health if need be. We wear leather, eat meat, rock out, indulge and sometimes let ourselves get exhausted in service of something bigger,” Imparato writes. “And we need concrete fixes that allow us to thrive in the midst of it all.”
Lauren Imparato teaches a method of separating from the madness in your life. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Imparato)
Her chapters are devoted to tackling the “20 biggest challenges of modern life.” Imparato provides readers with moves and choices you can make to balance everything out. She offers interventions for tech addiction, ways to get rid of the abdominal pooch that comes from sitting too much, yoga moves you can do at your desk, how to sleep better, foods to order whether you are out for Italian or out for burgers. There is a lot of smart advice, and the way it is delivered feels doable. “I am not asking you to change your world,” explains Imparato. “But to add things in.”