I’m not a fan of different weight loss programs. To start with, these programs focus us on working towards a stereotyped body image that we have to have at the end. Such programs never help people understand why they gained weight, and what needs to be done to support the body lose weight in a healthy way. So, why do we gain weight, and do we really need to lose it? Let’s start with the question “why” first.
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We live at the time when we are completely and totally separated from the food growing process. The food that magically appears in our plates is processed and packaged before we even had a chance to learn anything about it. To many of us grains are cereals that come in the packages, and potatoes are the french fries sold at many fast food restaurants. According to a famous chef Jamie Oliver, a lot of kids never saw real vegetables in their lives, as they were never involved in the meal preparation activity. It’s not surprising that having such diet where the chemicals replace real grains and vegetables would lead to the destruction of the digestive system and serious diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, heart attack and cancer.
Another problem of today’s society is stress. We live in a very stressful environment and have no time to recover from it. Even yoga classes and meditation retreats are not always helpful. Such programs are often very competitive and demanding and lead to more stress. Cortisol, steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal glands, also known as a stress hormone, is one of the most important hormones our bodies make. Produced in “normal” amount” it is responsible for an incredible amount of functions such as blood sugar regulation, metabolism, memory formation and anti-inflammatory function, heart function, infection fighting and many others. Produced in high amounts, it leads to redistribution of fat to the face, upper back and abdomen, weight gain, stretch mark, bruising, muscle weakness, etc. Often times, obesity is nothing else, but the body’s response to a high amount of adrenalin due to stress.
Junk and unhealthy food and stressful life style are the major contributors to weight gain and obesity. But do we really need to lose weight? Is it so important to stay skinny or stereotypically slim? Should we follow the crowd saying we have to look specific way to fit society’s norm? It’s really important to love our bodies the way they are, but too much weight can be a serious problem as well. Most of the time extra fat is stored in the abdominal area that contains all digestive organs. The adipose tissue or fat formed in this area pushes aside the organs making digestive process a lot more difficult. According to ayurveda, pitta or fire is responsible for the proper work of digestive system. It originates in the stomach area and helps the body to stay warm, breaks down and absorbs the food. If the digestive organs are misaligned, they can no longer function efficiently and produce enough fire for proper absorption and assimilation of the food. Consequently, the elimination process slows down leaving the body with a lot of waste, intoxicating it and making it sluggish. The level of energy drops, the process of toxins and waste removal slows down and the inflammation rises and the body screams for help using pain as its screaming mechanism.
I hope I convinced you that losing excessive weight is important and it’s not about your look; however, I know that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Many people try using special diets, diet pills, laxatives and even such drastic procedures as gastric bypass, which again leads to more imbalance and poor function of our systems. While there is no right or wrong way of losing weight, it definitely should be done in an easier and more pleasant way.
Let’s start with the activities. Changing from sedentary life style to an active one is crucial for weight loss, hormonal balance and stress reduction. You wouldn’t run marathons immediately, but you could definitely start walking whenever possible, using stairs instead of elevators or escalators, and dancing. Signing up for a class that you would enjoy sounds great as well, but remember you have to have fun in any activity you choose.
The second thing is food. Having fun with food is just as important! Your food should not be your enemy, but your best friend and ally. Losing weight shouldn’t become another struggle or battle, but a creative process leading you to a happier you. In the next blog we will talk about simple and creative dishes that will help you lose weight and have a happier and more enjoyable life.
Talk to you soon,
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