It is that time of year again! When we have this New Year resolution to make changes in our life to enable us to live happier and healthier lives. Many of these changes revolve around diet and lifestyle – The “I am going to” start eating healthier foods, get to bed earlier, start a new exercise routine, and the most prominent of them all – the I’m going to lose weight.
If your New Year resolution includes losing some of the holiday weight and extra kilos, then Ayurveda has some easy, realistic, and practical recommendations to help you achieve your goal.
Let’s start with the most common causes of being overweight are:
- Overeating. Especially unhealthy foods like heavy processed and sugary foods.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Inadequate exercise.
- Medical and health conditions.
Ayurveda offers a holistic way to manage your weight with diet, lifestyle, and herbal recommendations to achieve weight loss sustainably.
Here are some Ayurvedic weight loss tips to guide you towards your goal and manage your weight the natural way, without using any chemicals, fad diets, or starving yourself for rapid weight loss.
According to Ayurveda, being overweight is generally caused by excess Kapha dosha (water, earth). 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 cells) 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.
Take care of your Agni
Agni, our digestive fire, is the cornerstone for learning weight management, as well as overall health. When our Agni is strong, we can efficiently process the nutrients from our food and get rid of ama (toxins) through the four channels of elimination (sweat, urine, tears, and feces).
Take time to learn about your Agni by keeping a daily digestive journal. Track what you eat, what your eating environment is like, and how your channels of elimination respond. Note that if your Agni is weak, you may not notice the effect of a meal for a few days and you may have come to accept a reduced sense of well-being. Tune in and listen to your body. It is full of clues about your health.
Know your Dosha
All approaches in Ayurveda circles around knowing your Dosha. Dosha is known as the blueprint for achieving optimal health.
Understanding this provides insight into what foods, lifestyle, and even body shape are healthiest for your unique self. In a culture that continually has the next best diet popping up every day, and conflicting information on what healthy eating actually is, it can be a little difficult to know what is actually beneficial and helpful for healthy weight loss. Knowing your Dosha is the answer.
Once you’ve learned to live in harmony with your biological needs – instead of living in a way that causes a disturbance to them, you will arrive 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 well-being.
Your diet plays a big role in managing your weight. Ayurveda recommends you to eat healthy and whole foods like vegetables and fresh fruits. These foods contain vitamins and nutrients. Remember that what you choose to eat, your food choices will always play a big part in your overall health. Try to avoid junk foods, too many sweets, salty foods, and oily foods. Having a nutritious and balanced diet is the key.
Move and move.
If you absolutely want to manage your weight, you need to move and do some physical exercises. Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. Regular exercise is one of the foundations for maintaining good health. Regular physical activity helps to prevent heart diseases, diabetes, dementia, and even some types of cancer.
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 will work best– swimming, jogging, yoga, gym work, Pilates, Zumba, or anything that you enjoy. Keep moving. Be physically active.
It is also recommended to go 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.
Spice up your meals
Spices are considered “superfoods” in Ayurveda because of their health benefits.
Spices such as fennel, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom are commonly used in Ayurvedic cooking not only for their delicious taste but to support healthy digestion. Try incorporating different digestive spices into your meals daily and feel the difference they make.
Practice a habit of mindful eating
To maintain a strong Agni, we have to allow it to rest and rejuvenate. Constantly eating, whether it’s many small meals or snacks between meals, overwhelms our digestive system with too much work. Get back to balance by eating three balanced meals at the same time each day. Keep at least three hours, but ideally four to six hours, between meals to allow your body to fully digest what you ate previously. Always allow enough time for your body to digest a meal, typically four hours. Have a lighter breakfast and dinner, and eat your largest meal at lunch.
Check-in with yourself before eating and gauge how hungry you really are. It’s important only to eat when we are actually hungry in our stomach – not in our minds.