SUSTAINING WEIGHT LOSS AND YOGA
JANUARY 24, 2010: The healthy link between yoga and weight loss is not so much only about normalizing weight as much as it is about sustaining weight loss. But first yes, one of the most effective and ancient ways of promoting health and effecting transformation is to practice yoga, especially poses, breathing and meditation. Increasing research in the fields of health and well being indicate that the stress-reducing effects of yoga practice are significant and powerful in normalizing WEIGHT. And as Judith Lasater writes, “We no longer have a choice about including practices in our daily lives that create health and spiritual growth. If we want a world worth living in today, as well as one worth leaving to future generations, we must take responsibility to create health in our lives, as well as to support others as they choose healthier lives for themselves. It is up to each of each of us to lovingly transform the world simply by first transforming ourselves.”
Through the practice of yoga, we can begin to feel connected to ourselves, to our body’s rhythm, our breath, and our emotions. We can tune into how we feel about ourselves and to what degree our eating is emotionally based. According to studies the number 1 &2 reasons for weight gain is emotional stress and habit. And then once we’ve gained the extra weight we get dissatisified which may develop elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn ENCOURAGES stress-related eating (known by scientists as FOOD-SEEKING BEHAVIOR). Which results in more weight gain which may fuel more stress and stress–related eating. Gosh that’s the pattern? Yup.
I hope this class helped to make sense of some things. And that you will join me again week after week to maintain this awareness and learn to be the best YOU possible! With love in all ways, Silvia
So how does the Yoga work? Here’s a quick summary we talked about in class:
- Yoga burns calories by doing poses and breathing techniques which make metabolism more efficient (food + Oxygen = fuel)
- Yoga is proven to fight stress (and lower cortisol levels). Cortisol makes conversion of calories into fat (especially fat in the abdomen) more efficient.
- Yoga helps us see clearly. Before you can change something you have to acknowledge it for what it is which can be a problem (Study 1992 New England Journal of Medicine study looked at obsese people who considered themselves resistent to diets they told doc’s they exercised and limited calories but when asked to keep a food journal the patients had on average underestimated their food intake by 47% and overestimated their exercise 51% (They were tricked by their own minds)
- Patterns (samskaras) – the behavior grooves we dig through repeated actions. Many people who overeat are on autopilot. Yoga helps us be mindful of the moment, which helps us notice and savor our food instead of gulping it down.
- Also the mindfulness helps us realize when we are not hungry but simply eating out of habit or emotional neediness.
- Consider this (relapse rate on most diets is 100%). If you lose one ounce/day that’s almost half a pound/week which = 23 pounds in a year. To lose an ounce/day you’ve only got to burn about 250 calories more than you take in. (Breath how it works)
- Many people view food as the enemy. Yoga view of food is that it is a manifestation of the divine, a gift from God. In the Upanishads, food is equated with the divine force in the universe, Yoga would say food is one of life’s great pleasures.