Nothing is more frustrating and disheartening when hard work doesn’t pay off, particularly when it comes to exercise and eating well. It’s frustrating when you’re following all the steps to lose weight: staying focused, and persistent, however, after all your effort – you’ve got very little to show for it.
The science of Ayurveda has a new and different approach to exercise and weight loss, one you have probably not heard of, and the results are amazing. Ayurveda concepts on food and exercise are different from the typical North American diet and exercise model.
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Here’s a testimony from one of my clients:
I went to see Erica for some health issues and I wanted to lose some weight. Erica assessed me and put together a health and weight loss plan specifically designed for me! It included an Ayurveda food and lifestyle plan and some specific Ayurveda treatments.I have lost 18 pounds, my sleep has improved, I have less joint pain and no more vertigo. The plan was easy to follow and I never felt deprived. I feel great.
One of the first things that is noticeably different is that the Ayurveda food or diet plan is based on the elemental qualities in you and the food that you are consuming. The qualities of earth, water, fire, air and space must be consumed in an appropriate fashion for you. Food and it qualities will be determined by an Ayurveda assessment. The other noticeable difference is that we all need to live in relationship with our food and lifestyle. There is an interconnectedness between you, your food, your habits and the natural world. And to lose weight you must take this into consideration.
Nearly everywhere we look in nature, there are creatures engaging in some sort of consistent daily routine. The natural world at large is deeply influenced by the rhythms of nature – the rising and setting of the sun, the cycles of the seasons, and the underlying impulses directing the broader community of life. While there is often some degree of seasonal variation, many plants and animals embrace a predictable daily rhythm and, as a rule, live by it. As humans, we have largely gotten away from this habit. But at the most fundamental level, our physiology is very much adapted to – and supported by – some sense of regularity. Food is no exception to this regularity.
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Here are a few simple reasons why you’re not losing weight and how Ayurveda can help:
You are not eating the right foods. Eat foods that elemental match your needs. You are not eating enough. This concept is simple: eat more of the right food. You are likely thinking, ‘Eat more to lose weight’? Surely that may not be right’. It might appear counterintuitive, however if you are really not eating enough of the right food, most likely you can’t lose weight.
It is more important when you eat than what you eat. In North America, people eat 5-6 small meals a day while with an Ayurveda diet, you eat three meals a day at the same time every day. Eating your largest meal at noon. This principal is aligning your eating patterns with nature. The sun is at its highest point at noon, which is a sign for the body. In America, we eat our largest meals at dinner. Many times only a few hours before sleeping.
You’re eating too much of the wrong foods. Sometimes eating less is important. If digestion is poor or you are in the habit of eating when you are not really hungry you will need to eat less. In Ayurveda different amounts of foods are needed at different times depending on your health. If you are over consuming the wrong food, weight loss will be harder.
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You’re stressed. Is stress playing a bigger part in your daily life than you would like? For many of us the response to this question is a resounding YES! Stress is a reasonably universal aspect of the modern day human experience, and even though some stress is acceptable, even productive, we now understand that a lot of stress will be quite harmful, and might compromise our health physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Ayurveda delivers a beautiful perspective on stress management, especially at meal time. Do not engage in stressful environments when you eat. Eat in a calm and beautiful environment. If at work, do not eat at your desk or in the car. Go outside and sit in the park! Also use meditation and breathing exercises to decrease stress.
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You’re exercising too much. We can actually end up doing more damage than good. If we have not fuelled our bodies correctly, exercise can be quite stressful, causing excess cortisol (the stress hormone) production, which often causes weight gain.
You’re not sleeping enough. You guessed it: lack of sleep or not getting to see at the correct time doesn’t just have an effect on our mood and concentration. If you’re not sleeping enough or going to bed too late, that can actually have an effect on your ability to maintain a healthy weight. On top of that, when you’re tired, your body actually releases more of the hormones that make you feel hungry. This means, again, that you think you need food when your body doesn’t really need it.
You love drinking cold water. Drink only ½ cup of warm water with your meals. Never consume cold water.
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So, what are the solutions?
In Ayurveda, digestion is the root of all disease and conditions. When you are eating the wrong food at the wrong time or you do not follow any of these examples you will be causing food to be improperly digested. When food is improperly digested… “AMA” is created. Ama is the precursor to most disease.
Make sure that you’re eating enough. Rather than counting calories and concentrating on that, focus on fuelling yourself with plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein, and drinking plenty of water so that you’re not accidentally eating when you’re actually just dehydrated. Get plenty of sleep too.
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