enLIGHTened: Yoga Weight Loss


Jessica Berger Gross is a woman with a passion for yoga, pineapples and her dog. In her book, enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer, she recounts her struggles with body image and outlines how she was able to successfully lose weight.

Gross was first introduced to yoga at the age of 14 but didn’t undertake a regular practice until many years later. When she was 30 years of age she lost 40 pounds, which she attributes not only to increasing her physical activity through yoga and changing her diet, but also to adhering to the philosophy of yoga and the ancient ideas that are its foundation.

enLIGHTened Basics

This book is not a diet or weight loss program but more of a personal account of the author’s difficulties in losing weight. In sharing aspects of her life story, Gross provides readers with insights, tips and recipes that will help them to be able to increase their own chance of successful weight loss.

Gross advises dieters to always eat breakfast because skipping meals can lead to cravings and overeating later in the day. Her preferred breakfast is a large bowl of fresh fruit, preferably pineapple, to which she may add a small portion of low-fat yogurt and almonds.

She recommends always keeping an abundant supply of fresh fruit at home so that you are not tempted to snack on unhealthy foods when you get hungry. She explains that fruit is a great food for weight loss because it has a high content of water, which fills you up easily and keeps you satisfied.

Another recommendation is to gather a collection of a few staple meals that you can rely on so that you never have to worry about what to eat. Her general advice is to eat a predominantly vegetarian diet with some fish and to limit the intake of fat.

She encourages eating in moderation and says, “Food should leave you energetic, not sleepy.” If you feel tired after eating you have probably eaten too much.

The foundation of her approach to weight loss is to adhere to the yogic philosophy. This includes developing discipline, honesty, introspection, moderation and nonviolence.

Recommended Foods

Pineapples, fresh fruit, vegetables, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, tofu, lentils, beans, fish, shellfish, yogurt, low-fat cheese, almonds, avocado.

Sample Diet Plan


1/3 pineapple
1 banana
¼ cup organic low-fat vanilla yogurt
6-8 almonds


Lentil dahl with spinach and rice

Afternoon Snack

Brown rice cake with almond butter


Tofu, veggie stir-fry
Brown rice

Exercise Recommendations

While enLIGHTened relates the author’s weight loss success to her yoga practice, she doesn’t state that everyone has to do yoga if they want to lose weight. She says, “We each need to find our own yoga, the physical work that keeps us healthy and strong.”

In order to achieve this dieters are encouraged to become involved in any physical activities that they enjoy such as hiking, jogging or dancing, in addition to a regular yoga class if possible.

Costs and Expenses

enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer retails at $22.95.


  • Encourages the intake of fresh organic vegetables and fruits.
  • Acknowledges the importance of stress management for weight loss.
  • Many readers will relate to the author’s honest and humorous writing style.
  • Will appeal to readers who are interested in yoga.
  • Includes vegetarian recipes.


  • Not really a diet plan but more of a memoir of the author’s experiences.
  • Advice is very general and may not be effective for dieters with emotional eating or health problems.
  • Author promotes nonviolence and a vegetarian diet, yet advocates the inclusion of fish, which is contradictory.


enLIGHTened is a personal memoir of the author’s experiences with yoga and how her practice helped her to gain control of her weight. It does not include a diet plan or yoga regime but offers dieters with tips and insights that may inspire them to create their own approach to developing a healthy lifestyle which promotes weight loss.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)


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