lose weight in Santa Fe NM like Josie Jovel

Q: How much of the ‘battle of the bulge’ is diet and how much of it is exercise? Is it 50/50, 60/40 or what?

A: Based on my education, research, experience with clients, and with my own fatness and fitness over the years, I’d say it’s more like 25/25/50: 25% diet, 25% exercise, and 50% mind/mental/psychological. Think about it, the mind controls the body. The body can’t exist without the mind – without consciousness the body decomposes into inert uninformed unintelligible unconscious matter.

The main reasons most people fail at weight loss are psychological: lack of clear goals, motivation, willpower, self-discipline, emotional eating and/or drinking, poor time management skills, poor stress management, etc. You can know that you need to eat healthily and exercise, but if you lack clear goals, motivation, willpower, self-discipline, time management skills or knowledge of what foods are compatible with your metabolic type, endocrine type, and blood type or knowledge of what exercises and protocols are compatible with your muscle fiber type ratios, age, and goals, etc., it’s just not going to happen.

Q: Can I still have a guilty sin or two?

A: Sure, that’s your choice. What I do is inform you of your choices and encourage you to make better choices, but it’s up to you to choose them or make the occasional trade-off. But a conscious trade-off is preferable to subconscious emotional eating or drinking.

Q: What's your style? Are you nice or mean? Do you use carrots or sticks?

A: Intrinsic motivation is more effective than extrinsic motivation of any kind. I remind you of your goals and the reasons for your efforts to get there in order to help you "keep your eyes on the prize" and stay on course to reach your goals while making the journey itself as pleasant and positive as possible.

As for my style, imagine a continuum between an intimidating drill sergeant barking orders at one pole, and Richard Simmons jumping up and down clapping his hands like a cheerleader at the other. I'm in the middle of that continuum – pretty normal, providing guidance and direction delivered with friendly encouragement and humor. One of my clients described my style as, "cheerfully encouraging rigor."

So I use carrots rather than sticks to make it a pleasant positive experience so that the behaviors necessary to lose weight in a healthy way are more likely to be adopted as long-term lifestyle habits.

The journey is as important as the destination if you don't want to crash on your way there. The journey and the destination are inextricably bound; they are not two different things, but two aspects of the same thing nondually. You can’t separate them, you can’t have one without the other. So if you want to reach your long-term destination the journey there has to be sustainable. See more about my approach to training here: Positive Training.

Q: What’s the most important thing to do if I want to change?

A: Well, I’d say there are three main things:

1. It seems to me the most important thing is open-mindedness: openly looking at every part of your life that contributes to your health, weight, and well-being and being open to changing them.

2. The second most important thing seems to be courage: courage to then do something with that awareness, courage to actually do something about it. Ignorance and its emotional cognate fear are usually the largest obstacles to change.

3. Setting clear and worthy goals is the next important step in creating change.

See more about these three keys to change here: Online weight loss coaching.

Q: One of the large commercial weight loss chains says that I can change my body without changing my lifestyle. Can I lose weight without changing my lifestyle*?

A: No, that’s impossible. That’s hype. Your body is a reflection of your current lifestyle because your body is part of your life. You are an open, complex, adaptive, dynamic, growing, evolving, autopoietic self-organizing living system in relational exchange with your physical, psychological, social, and cultural environment, affecting while being affected by it in bi-directional causation. Form follows function, which in turn affects future functioning: structure adapts to function and those structural adaptations create the capacity for enhanced functioning in the future.

The only way to change your body composition/structure/form is to change the environment it functions in and adapts to; you have to change the lifestyle that shapes or informs or gives form to your body in order to elicit an adaptive response in the body’s form or structure: form follows function.

Want a better body? Then you have to give your body a reason to adapt and change by adopting a healthier lifestyle/environment and your body will follow suit – form follows function; as in art, so it is in life. Healthy bodies inhabit healthy environments because healthy lifestyles inform or give form to healthy bodies – they are mirror images of each other because they are correlative aspects of the same thing: a healthy life.

Stated more accurately in a nondual way, the substance of a healthy life is what we call a healthy lifestyle or healthy living while its form is a healthy body. Substance and form are inseparably correlative: substance without form is unintelligible; form without substance is empty. Form gives intelligibility to substance; substance gives content to form. The body and mind are two dimensions, aspects, or facets of the same bodymind or compound sentient being rather than two separate things that are somehow connected which implies separation rather than mere distinction.

That's just how they appear to us in casual perception/conception in the mind of the perceiving/thinking subject (savikalpa perception, or perception with thought construction, which is to say perception is not merely given but at least partially constructed and interpreted, and this is transcended in meditative nirvikalpa perception of things as they actually are in their nondual wholeness) but are inextricably bound in the object perceived, in this case the bodymind or compound sentient being that has matter, body, mind, soul, spirit dimensions.

We see the exterior gross body and can't see the interior consciousness that animates it (and that’s doing the seeing) so we tend to split them analytically then fail to realize they're not split in actuality – we confuse the map with the territory, our cognitive map with that cognized or represented by the map. This is the cognitive bias of modern science referred to as ‘naive realism’ or ‘the myth of the given’ exposed by the postmodern revolution of the 20th century in the sciences, psychology, and philosophy which can be witnessed and transcended in meditation.

  1. A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

  2. Albert Einstein

The origin of the phrase 'form follows function' is traced back to the American sculptor Horatio Greenough and was made famous by the American architect Louis Henri Sullivan, but it was noticed by the philosopher Aristotle two and a half millennia ago in studying the very close relationship between morphology and physiology, structure and function. In order to change one you have to change the other – they are inseparably correlative aspects or dimensions of the same life, the same person. Both aspects of your being change together or not at all, the exterior physique as well as the interior consciousness that informs it or gives it form.

There is so much emphasis in our culture on the external vehicle and little attention to the interior driver who controls the direction of the vehicle. Change comes from within: we change our lives from the inside out. Of course change, though extremely rewarding, can be difficult and that’s what I can help you with, I'm a 'Change Master,' my core competence is helping people change.

*Since the time I answered this question in 2007 the weight loss chain that made this claim, LA Weight Loss, has gone out of business, but it’s a marketing claim I still often hear. The U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published a warning about bogus weight loss marketing that’s worth checking out.

Q: What’s the difference in the terms commonly used by trainers?

A: They’re different terms for essentially the same thing: a person who helps you get in shape, although some terms do emphasize a trainer who works in a particular location such as in your home or in a local gym or health club; or in a particular specialization such as strength training or bodybuilding. Personal trainer is the most common term emphasizing the personal aspect of working with someone one-on-one, as does private trainer which is similar to private tutor.

Although largely synonymous, what a trainer calls herself/himself can provide a clue to their worldview or at least their scope or emphasis. Narrower terms such as physical trainer and physical fitness trainer, similar to the terms physician and physiologist, as well as the terms exercise trainer and exercise fitness trainer, similar to exercise physiologist, fitness trainer, strength trainer, strength fitness trainer, weight trainer, workout trainer, and the like all emphasize the physical part or aspect of the compound bodymind indicative of a Newtonian scientific materialism worldview that recognizes physical exteriors in the sensori-motor world often to the exclusion of the interior consciousness who is aware of them, the subjects who are aware of these objects.

Broader terms such as personal trainer and private trainer are broad enough to include a holistic mind-body approach to the whole person indicative of a holistic systems worldview: for such trainers it is not just the body that is being trained but the whole person, the compound bodymind, including yet transcending the physical body. For holistic trainers and coaches the psychology of the mind is at least as important as the physiology of the body and the two together is a combo far more powerful than either component or part of the bodymind, the person, in isolation.

  1. “Here it is natural and fitting to set forth . . . the means whereby body and mind are kept in health; . . . the proportion or disproportion between the soul and body themselves is more important than any other; . . . there is one safeguard: not to exercise the soul without the body, nor yet the body without the soul, in order that both may hold their own and prove equally balanced and sound . . . One who is intensely occupied with any . . . intellectual discipline must give his body its due meed of exercise by taking part in athletic training; while he who is industrious in molding his body must compensate his soul with her proper exercise in the cultivation of the mind and all higher education; so one may deserve to be called in the true sense a person of noble breeding.”

  2. Plato, Timaeus

For tips on choosing a personal trainer, please see: How to find the best Santa Fe personal trainer for you.

Q: What’s your specialization and approach and what term do you use to call yourself?

A: The specialization of my Santa Fe practice is weight management and my approach is holistic/integral. The term holistic is from the Greek word for whole, while integral is from the Latin word for whole – two ways of saying the same thing, namely a broad inclusive whole person mind-body approach integrating nutrition, exercise physiology, and psychology. Of the two terms, holistic is more popular, intuitively understood, and aesthetically pleasing while also carrying some baggage from very loose uses of the term over the years, while integral is more accurate in the way it has been used in Integral Yoga, integral theory, and the larger integral movement, yet less well known.

Integral is often used to mean truly holistic in contrast to some holistic applications that could be more inclusive, more whole. For example, when holism (a philosophical emphasis on larger background contexts and whole systems) is used contrasted with atomism (a scientific emphasis on smallest units or discrete parts in the obvious foreground) this is narrower than integral which is actually an integration of atomism and holism in the form of holons, a term from systems theory which means whole-part, a whole that is part of a larger whole which is part of a larger whole, etc., thereby transcending the whole/part dualism.

I use both holism and atomism: I use philosophy to integrate the contributions of several disciplines from all quadrants into a larger whole, and science to customize that integration to each individual according to their unique types, needs, goals, and preferences – integration and customization: from parts to wholes then from wholes to unique individuals who are also whole persons who are parts of larger whole systems, etc. Thus holonic is more accurate than holistic in describing my approach but holonic sounds too similar to colonic so I tend not to use it ;-).

As truth is context-dependent the label I use to describe what I do depends on the context. If I want to emphasize the benefit I provide I use Weight Loss Trainer or Weight Wellness Coach/Trainer in contrast to trainers who specialize in other areas such as pre/post natal or post-rehab. If I want to emphasize my approach or method I use Holistic Trainer to differentiate myself from pre-holistic trainers. I’m using the term integral more often lately because it’s more accurate while avoiding the culture war between classical scientists who like to study Really Small Things at Christus St. Vincent Hospital and the Los Alamos Labs; and ‘big picture’ systems theorists and philosophers at the Santa Fe Institute and St. John’s College who like to study Really Big Things. If you’re like me you appreciate the full spectrum of approaches and all aspects of reality they illuminate, from big things to small things, so you like to include both perspectives on reality and the useful technologies they provide.

I also coined the term, Positive Personal Trainer™ to differentiate myself from old school ‘boot camp’ drill sergeant-style trainers as seen on reality TV shows who criticize and yell at their clients as if they’re military recruits rather than partners in a positive transformative relationship. Learn more: Positive Training >

Q: What does your logo mean?

A: I designed it myself. Taoism is where we get the Yin-Yang symbol for nonduality I use in my logo (Tao means path or way, as in Santa Fe Way) blended with the Native American Zia Sun Symbol of the Zia Pueblo of New Mexico.

Yin-Yang Symbol

Often mistakenly conceived of as a symbol of dualism, the Taijitu symbol of nondual Taoism is actually meant to convey the notion that all apparent opposites or dualisms are but sets of complementary parts of a greater nondual whole symbolized by the whole circle subsuming its interdependent parts that appear to be ever-circling each other in motion, as in the divine feminine and divine masculine aspects of reality in a never-ending dance of divine love.

Yin and yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as interconnected parts of a dynamic system. Their harmonious balance is essential to a healthy system, be it the human body, a couple in love, nature, and the cosmos at large. The system as a whole is healthiest when its parts are in dynamic balance, a great example of sophisticated systems thinking poetically expressed.

The parts are interdependent because opposites only exist in relation to each other; words only have meaning in contrast to their opposites. There’s a misperception in the West that yang and yin correspond to good and evil in a simple Manichean sense. This is a dualistic interpretation of a symbol that represents nonduality, as Taoist philosophy discounts good/bad distinctions and other dichotomous moral judgments in preference to the idea of balance.

I use this symbol because my approach to weight wellness is nondual/integral/holistic/tantric, all synonyms with slightly different shades of meaning, where nondual means not two or a whole reality not split into two; integral being the Latin word for whole or one – a positive way of saying ‘not two’ or nondual; holistic being the Greek word for whole; and tantric being the Sanskrit word for weaving or integrating apparent parts into a nondual whole, the result of which is a whole or ‘one’ with two differentiated yet integrated aspects or dimensions. Of these I think integral is the most accurate while having the least amount of baggage.

Advaita Vedanta is another great nondual spiritual tradition alongside Taoism, Vajrayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Tantra Yoga each of which is a system of largely content-neutral spiritual practices for psychological and spiritual growth and development to the highest stages of human development in an esoteric sense, yet can be and often are exoteric religions if one becomes attached to the metaphysical belief systems that often accompany them. But in the purest sense they are sets of practices, injunctions, paradigms, exercises of awareness, or ‘pointing out instructions’ for growth that can be practiced by anyone regardless of your current worldview or belief system in the pursuit of the next worldview or belief system in one’s ongoing development.

Zia Sun Symbol

For the indigenous Zia tribe of New Mexico the Sun is a sacred symbol. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of four rays pointing in the four directions is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun. Four is a sacred number for the Zia which symbolizes the Circle of Life: four winds, four seasons, four directions, and four sacred obligations. All of these are bound together by the circle of life.

  1. The number four is also embodied in:

  2. • the four points of the compass (north, south, east, and west);

  3. • the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter);

  4. • the four periods of the day (morning, noon, evening, and night);

  5. • the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, and old age); and

  6. • the Zias believe that with life comes four sacred obligations one must develop:

  7. a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and devotion to the welfare of others

The salutation, “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures," was a beautiful multicultural message commonly recited in New Mexico public schools after the United States pledge of allegiance.

I use this symbol because I developed my nondual/integral approach to weight wellness in the clear light of sunny Santa Fe, New Mexico where the Zia Sun Symbol is incorporated in the state flag designed by Harry Mera, Ph.D., of Santa Fe, an archaeologist who was familiar with the Zia Sun Symbol found at Zia Pueblo on a 19th century pot. It was in Santa Fe where I discovered Integral Yoga* and integral theory and applied it as a framework to integrate the various dimensions of weight wellness. The Zia Sun happens to also look quite similar to diagrams delineating the four quadrants of reality in Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, so it has a double meaning for me regarding the geographical place and theoretical space within which I developed Santa Fe Way.

*Yoga is a spiritual practice for psychological and spiritual development, not a metaphysical belief system or religion; as a content-neutral process, tool, or technology it can be practiced by anyone regardless of your current belief system.

FAQs to be answered in the near future (please check back for updates):

Q: I heard in the gym that doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions is the best protocol for strength training and muscle building. Is this true?

Short answer: The ‘3 sets of 10’ protocol was the state of the art in exercise physiology – in 1948, over 60 years ago. Exercise physiology has come a long way since then! Old habits and myths die hard. A full explanation requires a long answer; please check back later.

Q: I want to get in shape but I don’t want to become muscle-bound. I’d like long sleek graceful flexible muscles, not big muscles. Will training make me muscle-bound?

Short answer: No. Please check back later for the long answer...

Let he who would move the world, first move himself.


You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.


We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.

James Rohn

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FAQs about losing weight the Santa Fe Way.

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