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Exploring Life & Business with Miriam Burlakovsky of Mindful Miri Method

Today we’d like to introduce you to Miriam Burlakovsky.

Hi Miriam, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
Over 20 years ago, I started researching the best practices to solve my challenges with:
– Hating my body
– Hating what I saw in the mirror
– Not appreciating what my body could do
– Not knowing when I was hungry or full
– Using food for comfort, distraction, a break, or to cope with anxiety and upset
– Overeating, binge-eating, yo-yo dieting
– Feeling like I was never “good enough”
– Anticipating comments about my weight
– Obsessing over judgment and “mindreading” what others thought of me
– Avoiding social situations because I was afraid I’d be judged
– Feeling like the “big girl” in any group

That’s when I discovered yoga and breathwork, which brought me a sense of peace I had never experienced. I had always played sports and been active, but never felt so open, so “in my body,” so free.

I found that I was less hungry and that when I saw “trigger” foods (cookies!), I could take them or leave them. I began to *enjoy* movement, rather than do it to be skinny. I stopped to think about what I really wanted when I reached for food, and I gave myself the comfort, soothing, rest, distraction, pleasure, or love I craved.

I read all self-help books about healing your relationship with food, with your body, and with not living up to societal ideals of beauty.

When I went to graduate school for psychology, I learned to consume psychological and behavioral research and apply it to my own life to make meaningful changes. I became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), which is a fancy way of saying I know how to change the environment to facilitate change in humans and animals.

During the pandemic, I fulfilled a dream to get certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher (200 RYT). I married the science-backed strategies from grad school with the yoga, mindfulness, and movement that worked for me and my friends.

That’s how the Mindful Miri Method was born…

Now, my mission is to empower 1 million women struggling with weightloss to feel light, healthy, confident, and free without dieting or deprivation.

Our app has everything the busy woman struggling with weightloss needs: lessons, journal activities, yoga sessions, workouts, gratitude practices, and meditations with the option of live group coaching. The app is slated to launch as a native app on Apple and Google platforms by the new year. My work has also evolved into a podcast and, currently in progress, a book! I’m having so much fun impacting lives and guiding transformational change! Check out the app at: https://mindful-miri.passion.io/

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The process of starting a business and all that it entails has been eye-opening, challenging, and exciting to learn. But the real battle was my own inner work.

It was terrifying to put myself out there so publicly on social media. I like my anonymity and letting go of that a bit to find clients who need me has been a process. I still feel like I’m a work in progress (but isn’t everyone, really?) and I struggled to reconcile showing authentic vulnerability and a beginner’s mind, while still positioning myself as enough of an expert that people want to work with me. Overcoming “imposter syndrome” was probably the hardest part, but I know my teachings are making an impact. I may not have everything figured out, but even the wisest yogis still cultivate a “beginner’s mind,” and stay humble. Setting my ego aside is part of the process and knowing I’m helping other women feel less alone in their struggles has made it all worth it!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Mission: Mindful Miri hopes to challenge the conventional weightloss paradigm and improve the lives of women around the world through a holistic approach that emphasizes mindfulness and spirituality, as much as, or even more than the physical and nutritional aspects.

Experience & Empathy: Those who have struggled with weight, body image, binge eating, and insecurity for most of their lives know how defeating it can be. The pressure and expectations about body image that comes from friends, family, society, and the media can be overwhelming and debilitating. It can have a severe impact on women’s self-esteem and their ability to enjoy life.

Outcomes: We want to see women feel confident and comfortable in whatever size body they are in, so they can put their best face forward and live their best lives.

We are committed to providing women with the tools they need to get over their insecurity and low self-esteem by developing better mental and physical habits.

Expertise: We have the knowledge and experience to empower women with the tools and habits to overcome their insecurities about body image. Over 20 years in the making, our online courses combine psychology, mindfulness, yoga, exercise physiology, nutrition, and Intuitive Eating practices. As a result, women can move forward, face the world, and follow their dreams, without being held back by self-doubt or fear of judgment.

Empathy: We understand that insecurity and negativity can allow a woman to become her own worst enemy. By removing these obstacles, we can transform their lives and open them up to a whole world of possibilities. Providing a community for supportive peer pressure and encouragement will help our members stay on top of their challenges and commit to forming new habits.

What sets us apart: Most weightloss programs focus on scientific methods and proven diets to change women’s bodies and meet physical goals. While we believe in science and healthy eating, our emphasis is on changing the mindset and allowing women to be happy and comfortable whatever their size. The women that come to us are relieved to find a person who listens and acknowledges them and their struggles.

For women who have tried everything, this is different. It targets the root cause of the problem (body disconnection), not just the symptoms. It focuses on attitudes vs. food, it’s based on evidence-based practices, tailor-made to a busy woman’s schedule with on-the-go audio recordings, virtual yoga sessions, progress tracking, and a community – all in one app. We take a Health at Every Size approach, thereby focusing on how we feel, not just how we look, because that’s actually what matters.

Transformation: So many women come to us because they lose weight with practices that make them suffer. The whole point of most weightloss programs is to FEEL BETTER. So why are we encouraging restrictive diets, overexercising, and a focus on external validation? It’s counterproductive and just addressing the symptoms, not the root cause.  The better answer is to get re-connected with our bodies so we can honor our bodies’ signals, as well as sip, savor, and relish an amazing life!

Who else deserves credit for your story?
My SCORE mentors, Mike Gordon and Carol Kerwin have been incredible in guiding and focusing my efforts so I can make the biggest impact on women struggling with weightloss.

During my divorce, my therapist recommended I look into Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) founder, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work. His books and recordings have given me comfort in dark times and laid the foundation for my mindfulness and meditation work.

One day during a camping trip, my dear friend, Naomi Neilson, asked if she could join me for my yoga session. I led her through the asana practice, and we had so much fun that I was encouraged to finally pursue my yoga teacher certification. Thank you, Naomi!

Of course, I couldn’t do anything without my unbelievably supportive and enthusiastic husband, Neil. He is my biggest supporter, advisor, and confidante. Thank you, my love!

Finally, my community of busy women supports, encourages, and “liking” my work, providing feedback and interest that guides the next right actions.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Melissa Jean Photography and Miriam Burlakovsky

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