This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Patricia Moreno.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I am a mental, physical and spiritual coach. I create practices and experiences for people who want to develop self mastery so they can experience the thrill of consciously creating their life.
I began teaching aerobics when I was in high school and in my 30’s realized that sustainable change needed to integrated mental, physical and spiritual training. So I created the intenSati method that helps people exercise all three.
You wanted to end your own struggle with weight, eating disorders and body image issues, and ended up creating the intenSati method, tell us more about that…
After many years of struggling with my weight and exercising because I hated my body I realized I was doing more harm than good. I realized I had to change my self concept and stop seeing myself as unworthy because of my weight and simply decide to lose the weight because it was a preference instead of trying to prove my worth and to get love.
I created the intenSati method which helps you learn to apply aligned effort, effort not from fear but from love and active positive states of mind and body by using positive mantras with exercise and meditation and visualization techniques.
On your website you also write about how your family went on some kind of a new diet or try a new supplement every few months, you see that behaviour a lot, what makes it so destructive?
When we only focus on changing our behaviors but not our beliefs we usually are trying to fix or force ourselves into an ideal image we have in our mind. Then every action we take, even though it may be a positive action, has a negative result because it comes from not loving ourselves as we are. By choosing to love ourselves and making choices of how to create a lifestyle versus a quick fix method or an unsustainable method, we are developing the muscle of making conscious choices.
Choices that are in alignment with our values and who we want to be instead of simply what we want to have. We have to start by being a YES to ourselves as we are, yes to the goal and yes to the long term process and focus less on being result oriented and more process oriented.
And for some reason, people always tend to try the next new thing even if the previous ones didn’t work - do you think it’s human nature to look for a quick fix or is it simply a lack of knowledge?
We all want a quick fix. We don’t like to be in pain and we want to avoid pain and look at things that bring us pleasure. Trying something new is a good thing but if you didn’t change your mindset and you are still hoping there is a magic pill or that eventually someone will come up with something that will be so easy that we will not have to experience discomfort, we will be forever searching.
We have to be willing to change ourselves and change happens outside of our comfort zone. Instead of looking for a new quick fix it would be better if we invested in dealing with our mind, our stress and becoming more resilient so that we can handle the inevitable challenges of making lifestyle changes. In doing so we can experience the thrill of consciously choosing what we want and find within ourselves the strength to follow through and do things that are uncomfortable and build character.
That investment will have a positive impact on your life because as you experience more self efficacy, more options open up to you.
You were on your first diet when you were in 3rd grade, weighing 130 pounds and ended up weighing 212 pounds as a child. You write online about feeling ashamed and horrified about your weight and body, when did you realize that there was a better way - a better you?
I was doing a daily workout show and the producer called me into his office to point out that I was gaining too much weight. I was horrified and after the initial shock I realized if I was struggling, there must be millions of other well intentioned people struggling as well.
I was dieting and working out, it was my profession and still I felt ashamed that I couldn’t keep my weight where I wanted it to be. But then I realized that no one was talking about mindset, training people and how to develop themselves instead of simply trying to get a better body.
I wanted to develop a practice where people could learn to change their mindset and see that through the integration of physicality, mentality and spirituality we could develop ourselves and become the person we want to be.
And you discovered working out and loved it - you became very fit and even won National Aerobics titles. But you were still afraid that the moment you stopped you would end up at square 1. Tell us about meeting Dr. Judith Brisman and how that changed things for you?
When I was at rock bottom I met Dr. Judith Brisman who helped me express myself in authentic and honest ways and to tell the truth about what I was hiding. She helped me tremendously.
I love how you explain how you looked at exercise as a way of “paying” for your overindulgences rather than a necessary act of love and self-care. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Although I loved exercise, I used it to try and pay for my overindulgences. I wasn’t willing to stop indulging and I didn’t want to be overweight so I tried to find a way to help myself deal with my weight issue without having to diet.
Now I see that when I find balance, I don’t have to train for hours and hours at the gym. And that you can truly not “out exercise” a bad diet. Now I exercise for so many more reasons and one of them is simply because I absolutely love how I feel when I do.
You’ve devoted your life to helping people change the way they look at food, exercise and themselves. Help them find what you call Thinner Peace. What does that mean?
Thinner Peace is total acceptance of oneself and not measuring your worth by your weight. Thinner Peace is simply being able to make conscious choices about how to treat your body and see yourself as more than a body but see the body as a vehicle for your soul.
Let’s talk a little bit about your Sati Life Institute and the meaning of living a Sati Life. What is it all about and how did it come together?
It is about developing yourself, your character and your level of self awareness. The ability to consciously and deliberately create your life comes from being able to respond and not simply react to life challenges. Sati Means mindfulness and being present with what is, not hating it or wishing it away but being yes to what is and then making a conscious decision about what to do next and activating positive states of being from which that positive action can be taken.
So, it has a lot to do with courage, awareness and self-discipline to make choices that benefit yourself, but also the world. Let’s take those three areas and break them down.
Let’s start with courage, you talk about having been afraid that if you stopped your intense exercise regimen you would gain all the weight back - how did you find the courage to break free from that and what advice around courage can you give women who feel the same way?
Once I realized this was not simply my struggle but the struggle of millions of others as well, I realized that I was no longer doing the work I was doing for applause but for a cause. That courage to show up, be honest and open helped me tap into a level of courage I didn’t even know I had.
It was also what helped me take action from love instead of fear. I believe it is a big part of the reason I was able to stop bingeing and purging, using unsustainable means and over-exercising.
Another area you guide people in is the area of awareness. In fact Sati is being in a state of awareness without judgement, right? How does one become aware of one's thoughts, words, attitudes and actions?
PRACTICE. You have to practice on becoming more mindful, self aware and positive. It is not a matter of either being it or not, it is a matter of practice. intenSati helps one develop this higher level of self awareness as does the new program I am developing called “THE PRACTICE by Patricia Moreno”. It is a way to become the master of your mind and our mouth, the ability to harness the power of your attention and to have a mind that follows your will.
Anyone can learn how to become more mindful, more self aware and more consciously engaged in the co-creative process of their life. It takes consistent actions and the rewards are great if you invest.
And finally you talk about self discipline. Can anyone learn to develop this skill? And what’s the best advice you can give around that?
The best thing I ever did was to hire a life coach that helped me develop more self discipline. I knew it was missing in my life and I wanted to build that muscle. Yes anyone can develop it and it is a muscle just like your biceps or ab muscles that get stronger with use.
Self discipline is really choosing between what you want now and what you want in the future. One practice I always recommend is the practice of not giving your word to anything that you will not commit 100% to following through on whether you feel like it or not. Too many people think not feeling like doing something is reason enough not to do it.
If you honor your word over your feelings you will be exercising your power to create and live a life you love in a body you love.
You’ve also written a book “The intenSati method” can you talk a little about that? Who should pick it up?
The intenSati method book talks about my personal journey and how and why I created it. It is subtitled 7 secret principles to thinner peace and it gives the reader 7 specific principles I to live by to experience a life of thinner peace.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?