I wish that I could offer you a tiny magic pill so that you would automatically feel younger, look sexy first thing in the morning even after a bad sleep, and always have your ideal body weight. I can’t do that, but what I can offer you is a way to eat, live, and understand both food and nutrition that will provide you with the foundation for a lifetime of health and balance.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic health systems still in use on the planet. When you understand your individual constitution or body type and what foods are most appropriate for you to stay in balance you will return to your ideal weight by following some guidelines and tips for keeping those extra pounds at bay.
The issue of excessive weight and obesity is important not only for having vibrant energy, sleeping well, and living a balanced life; dealing with this issue is crucial for preventing more serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and depression.
Weight issues are much thicker then the skin (or the subcutaneous fat, I should say), therefore mental and emotional aspects cannot be ignored for long term-balanced weight to be achieved.
Firstly, let us begin to erase all of the female supermodel, impossibly “perfect”, airbrushed, I-spend-my-whole-day-at-the-gym-type body images that we are constantly bombarded with. Striving to achieve the body someone else has sets up a roller coaster ride of inevitable self-criticism, frustration, and disappointment.
In Ayurveda, the three doshas or constitutional types of vata (air and ether), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (earth and water) all have very different bone structures, physical attributes, and metabolic function. We are born with a particular constitution and must live according to what brings our constitution—or prakruti—into balance.
Vata: Thin frames, tall, lanky, light, tend to underweight, variable digestion.
Pitta: Medium frames, muscular, medium build and weight, strong digestion.
Kapha: Stocky, solid frames, soft, voluptuous, tend to overweight, slower digestion.
The tendency to put on extra pounds is most often related to those with a kapha constitution, as it is harder for kapha types to lose weight because of the weaker cellular fire that turns excess calories into adipose tissue instead of burning them up.
However, anyone making poor food and lifestyle choices such as eating late at night, consuming processed foods, eating junk food, emotional eating, and not getting enough exercise, will inevitably go out of balance.
10 Tips to lose those sticky pounds that are weighing you down
1. Fuel up at lunch. Eat your largest meal in the middle of the day when the digestive fire is the strongest.
2. Eat three proper meals-- instead of snacking all day long. This will give your body time to begin burning up adipose tissue. If you are always snacking the body never gets to the point where it needs to consume fat.
3. Skip the bedtime snack. Don’t eat anything at least three hours before bedtime otherwise you won’t fully digest the food and you will gain weight.
4. Hydrate and Detoxify! Sip warm water with lemon and ginger throughout the day to detoxify and stay hydrated.
5. Avoid certain foods and drinks. Stay away from cold drinks, fried foods, sugary foods, dairy foods, red meat, alcohol, and too much wheat.
6. Spice it up! Add lots of warming spices to your meals to burn away the adipose tissue such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, coriander, fennel, cayenne, and garam masala mix.
7. Make your own meals instead of eating out. This way you know exactly what goes into the food you are eating. Often meals that appear “healthy” on a menu are full of stuff you don’t want to be eating such as processed dressings on salads.
8. Mindful eating. How you eat is as important as what you eat. Seriously. Make sure you eat in a calm, relaxed setting with gratitude for your food and your body.
9. Move it! You’ve got to exercise, there’s no way around it. Daily walking, dynamic yoga, jogging, swimming, dancing, weight--lifting, any form of movement you choose. Get consistent and stay committed. Get a friend to join you to keep up the routine and make it more fun.
10. Learn practices to de-stress and relax. Often we hold onto excess weight because the body-mind believes it is in survival mode. Yoga, yogic breathing practices such as nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), and meditation are great ways to retrain the nervous system to operate in a more relaxed way. Engaging theses practices will help digestion, assimilation and elimination automatically improve.
Ayurveda always looks at the individual on a holistic level. Consequently, self-love may be one of the most integral components of losing weight and keeping those pounds from returning over and over again: This is one reason why most diets don’t work.
Cravings spike and we grab a donut, a cookie, some ice cream or chocolate, something sweet to fill a gap. It is not true hunger but emotional starvation. Ask yourself, “What am I really craving?” Attention? Affection? Recognition? Security?
Looking at the underlying issues resulting in emotional eating will help to get to the source of what is causing the string of events that lead to overeating, lack of exercise, or making inferior food and lifestyle choices over and over again.
Love your body, no matter what shape, size, colour, or dosha. Your body is your temple, a gift from the Divine to carry you through this life. Take good care of it, honour it, and adorn it with beauty. No matter what…feed it love. Daily. Always. Now.
Madhuri is an internationally known Yoga teacher (E-RYT), certified Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (CAS) and Pancha Karma Specialist (PKS). She has done advanced study with world renowned, Dr. Vasant Lad in the USA and India. Madhuri is a head faculty member of the Langara College Yoga Teacher Training and Advanced Programs, a radio host for Drishti Point Yoga Radio and currently organizes the Vancouver Ayurveda Meet-Up Group. Madhuri has shared her knowledge and wisdom with students across Canada, in England and in India for more than a decade and is currently the director of Madhuri Ayurveda & Yoga in Vancouver.
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