· By Chiru Roy
Maintaining Healthy Weight Using Ayurveda
The world around us is buzzing with weight loss and related diets. There is a considerable populace that wants to reach the ideal weight for a healthy life. At this point let us understand that maintaining a healthy weight doesn't focus on weight loss alone. It also means gaining weight for those who are underweight. The question that arises is, “Why does weight loss garner more attention than weight gain”? Well, there are two reasons - first, being overweight can lead to many health complications and second, market demand. Weight loss is now “the trend”. And any business sells whatever is in demand. So, going with the market demand this blog talks about weight loss. Look around and you will see the market is teeming with diets, supplements, and fitness centers that promise people to reach an ideal weight. However, among all the variety of diets that are ruling the roost not many seem to be aware of the Ayurvedic way. Our very own 5000-year-old way of natural healing also has many guidelines for achieving a healthy weight and yes, these are time tested guidelines.प्रयोजनं चास्य स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणमातुरस्य विकार प्रशमनंच||२६|| The purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of a healthy individual and heal the disease of the sick. But before we embark on how to maintain a healthy weight, let us comprehend the relation between Ayurveda and Doshas.
Weight and the Doshas If you are a regular reader of our blogs, you would know that in Ayurveda any deviant in a person’s well being is associated with the Dosha imbalance (Read more about what Doshas are and how to balance it here). So, which dosha is responsible for weight? Very commonly excessive weight is attributed to Kapha Dosha. The Kapha dosha is responsible for lubrication in the body, synthesis of certain tissues and controlling weight. An imbalance in this dosha leads to the release of toxins which get accumulated in fat channels and lead to increased production of fat tissues. So, when fat tissues are produced in excess, weight gain is a byproduct that cannot be avoided. So, let’s talk about how we can achieve and maintain a healthy weight using Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic Guidelines for Maintaining Healthy Weight
1. Warm water-the right start: Start your day with a glass of warm water and few drops of fresh lemon juice. This simple drink boosts the metabolism, promotes digestion and keeps the pH of the body in balance.
2. Exercise regularly: Select a form of Yoga that suits you and is sustainable. An hour of this form of exercise each day is ideal. Start with 30 minutes of exercise every day if you are a beginner.
3. Dedicate time for meditation: More often than we realize, stress is a major contributor to weight gain. Regular practice of meditation helps in reducing stress and has a direct and positive effect on the weight of a person.
4. Eat three wholesome meals: Did you think skipping meals would help burn fat? Well, you are far from being right. Ayurveda does not prescribe to the idea of skipping meals. In fact, it recommends every individual to have three wholesome meals. Make lunch the heaviest meal of the day and dinner as the lightest because our digestive powers are very weak at night. Also, make attempts to finish dinner by 8:00 pm. This way the body gets enough time for digestion.
5. Say no to snacking: Ayurveda does not recommend any kind of snacking in between meals. When we snack we are providing the body with a constant flow of energy. So, when it is time to have a proper meal, we end up eating the meal even when we are not hungry. This way we are providing excess calories to the body. This can be a vicious cycle and can add to weight gain. Hence, it is best to completely avoid snacking between meals.
6. Eat a Kapha pacifying diet: Certain foods suit a person with Kapha dosha and some do not. Read more about the Kapha Dosha diet here. Kapha pacifying diet must emphasize on astringent, bitter and pungent tastes, as these tastes are metabolic in nature and aid in burning calories. Likewise, sweet, salty and sour tastes are anabolic in nature. This means that they do not help in burning calories and this can lead to weight gain. Hence, these tastes should be avoided.
7. Walk after all meals: A little bit of movement after all meals is a must. This leads to some physical activity which initiates the process of digestion. Since lunch is the heaviest meal, a walk after lunch for around 10-15 minutes at a medium pace is highly recommended.
8. Have fixed sleep timings: Sound sleep is very important for our health and well being. Sleep not only gives us rest but it also prepares the body for the next day. If we sleep less the stress levels in the body increases and affects metabolism. To avoid this, sound sleep of 7-8 hours and at fixed times. Read more about how Ayurvedic tips and using Cannabis can aid in improving sleep.
How to Start this Regime?
Follow these simple time tested directions and practice them everyday. For the doubting Toms, who are not sure of their capacity to follow these recommendations, we would suggest taking tiny steps. Start with few of these suggestions and when you are able to do them consistently add on a few more. The bottom line is, to maintain a healthy weight the above-mentioned guidelines should be followed sincerely and consistently.