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Yoga for weight loss – ditch diets 4-ever

Weight loss programs require lots of mind games – tools to make ya think steamed veggies and fat-free salad dressings are yummy. Not to mention those that make you weigh and measure every morsel of those tiny little portions of blandness. Yes, using a smaller plate makes that half cup of steamed spinach look bigger. And yes, writing down every pea and banana slice makes you accountable. And frankly, pissed off.

I know these tools because I’ve used these tools with my clients. Some folks just like ’em. Gives ’em something to do to quiet the inner wailing of pissed-off’ness. Others get frustrated. With me, themselves. Then toss in the towel. And the food journal.

So, beauties, let’s talk about a tool that removes the anger and bitterness and ‘why me’ and let’s us get down to bidness. Yoga. Um-hum, that’s right. Yoga. Now, I’m the first to say yoga doesn’t burn calories like running, step aerobics or spinning and cycling outside. What it does is quietly shift your mental status around body image and weight loss.

  • Increases body awareness (I know you don’t like this part yet – stay with me)
  • Counters negative thoughts that place moral judgment
  • Fosters the ability to make wise and informed decisions
  • Reduces the level of stress in life
  • Sleep more deeply and soundly, therefore being rested and energized (sleep deprivation = weight gain)
  • Gives us focus on being honest (with you, my little chickadee)
  • Nudges us toward santosha (contentment) – an underlying calm sense so we welcome every aspect of our life, good or bad, with equanimity and ‘let go’ of judgment off the mat
  • Offers poses that improve digestion, strengthen muscles (to burn more calories), and stimulate endocrine glands (like thyroid)
Here’s my academic side: A weight loss study of 20 obese women with binge eating disorder participated in a 12-week yoga program and found they:
  • Developed personal empowerment and healthy relationship with food
  • Cultivated awareness of self and the present moment
  • reduced the amount of food they ate
  • Ate slower and made wiser food choices
Overall, they were more connected and positive about their physical wellbeing. Hence, better eating habits.

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m writing this blog as I mindlessly slurp down a bowl of strawberries and cereal. Well, I am noticing the sweetness and ruby redness of the strawberries – they’re local! And the tidge of vanilla in the granola marries quite well with the sweet of raisin and crunch of bran flake. I’m grateful for the hot-flash protection of soy milk. So maybe not so mindlessly after all.

I’m just too excited to bring this news to you to sit at the table.

A word about the physical practice leading to weight loss. There are fat-burning styles of yoga. Those that move through a progressive series, like vinyasa, power yoga, Bikram or Astanga. Practices that use ujjayi breath that heats the internal landscape, thereby burning calories. Sun salutations for 30 minutes produce a cardiovascular training effect and energy expenditure of 230 calories. Enough to make up for a regular sized candy bar! Yet gentle yoga and slow flow yoga are highly effective at creating acceptance. And all those other bullets up there.

Get thee mat out. Focus. Move. Play. Laugh. Breathe. Enjoy your beautiful body that lets you do this practice (see, I got to that). Finally, be still for a few moments. Now go, it’s time for breakfast.

Resources:

  • DVD – Yoga: Just My Size with Megan Garcia
  • DVD – Yoga for the Rest of Us with Peggy Cappy
  • Book – Plus-Sized Yoga: Beginners Yoga for People of All Sizes
  • Book – Yoga for Fat Guys: From Lumpy to Limber in Just Six Weeks

 

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