Are you ready for a holistic approach to weight management that takes into account your unique constitution, imbalances, habits, mindset, and lifestyle? Ayurvedic texts provide us with an approach that takes into account the whole person. It works on overall health and well-being; physically, mentally, and emotionally. What is more rewarding is that Ayurvedic weight management has long lasting effects on your health and well-being. Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine developed in India, is the sister science of yoga. The primary goals of Ayurveda are to promote health and prevent and manage disease while promoting longevity. Here are 10 tips that can kick start the process of healthy weight management:
- Create a daily schedule and stick to it. Let one of the aims be to wake up before 6AM. Per Ayurveda, 6 to 10 AM is a time when one is more sluggish. If you wake up after 6, you might have a harder time getting out of bed and feeling energetic.
- Drink a large glass of warm water first thing in the morning. Drinking warm water kick-starts the digestive system and cleanses all channels in the body.
- Commit to 15 minutes of quiet time in the morning for deep breathing or meditation or yoga for simply grounding and starting your day with awareness, peace, and equilibrium.
- Exercise anywhere from 30-60 mins a day and choose something that you enjoy and are likely to stick with. Exercise counteracts sluggishness, warms the body, and prepares both body and mind for the day’s challenges.
- Eat three meals a day with no snacking (unless one has a health condition that requires one to eat more frequently). Develop a consistent meal time and follow it to create a rhythm in your life. Make lunch your largest meal of the day. Let dinner be the smallest meal of the day. Commit to eating freshly cooked meals. Do not eat highly processed, or frozen meals or foods from previous days.
- Align your diet with fresh produce that nature is offering in your region. In summer, enjoy the local bounty of summer; i.e. sweet fruits and fresh vegetables. In the fall and winter, the nature offers root vegetables, stored nuts, seeds and fruits, heavier meats and cheeses, and stored grains. In spring, nature offers berries, green leafy vegetables, and sprouts. Eating locally grown, organic and seasonal foods feel less heavier on our gastrointestinal system and are easier for our bodies to digest. Locally grown seasonal produce also offers us what our bodies need most in that time. For example, summer’s sweet produce imparts a cooling effect on our bodies, fall and winter’s root vegetables, seeds and nuts are more heating and impart the much needed warmth to our bodies.
- Move a little after each meal. Going for short walks after each meal stimulates digestion.
- Go to bed before 10:00 pm. Obtaining a proper sleep gives the body time to detoxify and reset for the next day. Modern researchers have identified insufficient sleep as a contributing factor in weight gain. Not only is sufficient rest important, but sleeping in harmony with the sun’s rhythms is equally vital. According to Ayurveda, the time period that is most supportive of restful sleep is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Eat balanced meals. Balanced in terms of macronutrients and micronutrients and also balanced in terms of tastes. Include a little of all tastes in your meals: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Per Ayurvedic texts, certain food combinations are toxic for our bodies. Some of them are milk with eggs, and milk with yogurt. Avoid these combinations of foods.
- Sip hot water or tea throughout the day. Hot water is a health tonic in the Ayurvedic tradition. Per Ayurveda, toxins accumulate within the body from external sources (e.g., pollution, pesticides, poor food choices) and internal sources (e.g., stress, anxiety, anger, grief). In Ayurveda, anything that is not digested properly by our body is referred to as a toxin or ama. Ama is sticky by nature but can be dissolved with hot water. The amount of water that you drink is not as important as how often you sip. Try to have a few sips of warm water every hour.
It is important to remember that an Ayurvedic diet is about finding moderation in our choices to restore balance to our bodies. As you follow the above principles and your health improves, cravings for detrimental foods will decline. You may not feel the need of constantly restricting what you eat because your innate cravings evolve to promote health over a period of time. This whole process needs time and patience. Finally, this is not about all or none of the steps, rather each step along the way will support your overall progress.
Submitted by Jyoti Chhabra, PhD, Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, RYT 200, Ayurvedic Practitioner student at Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Milpitas, CA. For a personalized consultation, feel free to reach out to either Jyoti Chhabra, PhD, Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, RYT 200, www.Ojascare.com, or Danielle Dampf, LMT & Owner, Soma Spa in Farmington. www.omsoma.com