New Year, New Resolutions: Weight loss tips with Ayurveda
It’s that time of year again when we make resolutions that enable us to live happier and healthier lives.
Many of these changes revolve around diet and lifestyle – ‘I’m going to’ start eating healthier, get to bed earlier, start a new exercise routine, and the big one… lose weight.
If your new year’s resolution includes losing some kg’s, Ayurveda has some easy, realistic and practical recommendations to support your goal.
According to Ayurveda, being overweight is generally a Kapha (water, earth) imbalance. When there is an excess of this Dosha in the body, there can be an accumulation of toxins, mucous, and fluid which causes the body to become lethargic, heavy and dull. This can be seen as an excess of adipose (fat) tissue all over the body, but partially the belly, thighs, and chin. Fluid retention, sluggish digestion and heaviness in the limbs can also be experienced.
The main causes of being overweight are:
- Overeating and overindulging. Particularly foods that are of heavy and sweet qualities
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Oversleeping. Especially day sleep
- Insufficient exercise
- Health conditions and medication
Ayurveda offers a holistic way to manage your weight with diet, lifestyle and herbal recommendations to achieve weight loss in a sustainable manner.
Here are some Ayurvedic tips that can naturally and gently guide you towards holistic and healthy weight loss, without the use of chemicals, extreme diets or a hungry belly.
1. Know your body type
All health tools in Ayurveda revolve around knowing your mind-body type, called Dosha. Knowing this gives you an insight into what foods, lifestyle and even body shape is healthiest for your unique self. In a culture that constantly has the next best diet popping up every week, and conflicting information on what healthy eating is, it can be difficult to know what is actually beneficial and effective for healthy weight loss. Knowing your mind-body type is the answer to this issue. Once you’ve learned to live in accord with your biological needs, instead of living in a way which causes a disturbance to them, you will arrivie at the perfect weight for you naturally.
Eating in harmony with your Dosha means unhealthy food cravings, low energy, and poor self-esteem will fade away and be replaced with renewed enthusiasm, high energy, and healthy emotional wellbeing.
2. Kick start your metabolism
The metabolism is our main fat burning function and refers to all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside your body. It’s the mechanism that basically converts what you eat and drink into energy. Over eating and a sedentary lifestyle are the 2 main causes that slow our metabolism down and blocks this energy producing and fat burning system.
Try this simple Ayurvedic home remedy to stimulate your metabolic function.
Take a glass of warm water with 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp of raw honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper daily on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
This remedy also clears excess Kapha from the system, supports digestion, and burns away toxins, so is the ultimate weight loss tonic.
3. Get moving
Exercise to the capacity of breaking a sweat and deepening the breath. It is suggested a daily morning practice for healthy weight loss is 45 – 60 minutes is ideal, but even 30 minutes will do.
Any form of exercise that you enjoy and achieves this is best – swimming, jogging, yoga, gym workout, Pilates or even Zumba.
Going for short walks after each meal stimulates digestion and metabolism. It’s most important to go for a walk after lunch, preferably 10 to 20 minutes at a moderate pace.
4. Practice mindful eating
Check in with yourself before eating and gauge how hungry you really are. It’s important to eat only when we are actually hungry in our stomach – not in our minds. Eating when appetite is low, or eating a large meal when the last meal hasn’t fully digested impairs digestion and promotes ama (toxic mucous) formation. This ultimately clogs the body’s channels and slows metabolism, leading to weight gain. By checking in with yourself you can see if you are eating out or boredom, habit, emotional reasons or from true hunger.
Always allow enough time for your body to digest a meal, typically four hours. Have a lighter breakfast and dinner, and make lunch your largest meal. A great tip for weight loss is to avoid all carbohydrates at dinner time. Instead, have something light like a vegetable soup.
Also be careful not to overeat. Ayurveda suggests one anjali, which is the quantity your two hands cupped together can hold, as an ideal amount of food to consume for a meal.
5. Follow a Kapha reducing diet
Avoid heavy, dense, cold and sweet foods such as meat, wheat, soy, dairy, ice cream, refined sugar (biscuits, cakes – basically anything refined and processed) and fried food.
Include foods that have light, drying and reducing qualities. Bitter, astringent and pungent tastes are best for this. Grains such as barley, millet, quinoa or legumes like split mung beans, red lentils and aduki beans are excellent choices. Vegetables should be steamed, roasted, grilled or stir-fried using a minimal amount of coconut oil or ghee. Include pungent and heating spices such as ginger, black pepper, cayenne, hing, horseradish, mustard, cinnamon, clove, and ginger liberally into diet.
These tips aid towards natural weight loss. It’s important however to remember to take small steps when changing your diet and routine. This is to ensure not creating any more unwanted stress in the mind or body, and so sustainable results can be achieved.
Article Written by Tegan Wallis, Holistic Health Practitioner