During my 17 odd years as a yoga teacher, I have seen people taking up yoga for a multitude of reasons. It can be therapeutic reasons, strengthening, toning , gaining flexibility, stress relief, and so on, but what tops the list is weight loss.
I have observed, within a group of people who attend classes regularly, some show continuous and dramatic weight loss whereas others do not.
Those with a derailed weight loss plan, have their lifestyle to blame. Habits that seem harmless, are the real culprits.
Below are 9 of the most common habits, which seem harmless, but can be held responsible for hindering the weight loss endeavors of some of my students.
If you miss out on your crucial 8 hours sleep, you should know that it is hindering your weight loss program.
Our busy lifestyles have made us forget what it feels like to be truly well- rested.
A good night’s rest fuels the production of fat-burning hormones, so sleeping seven to eight hours every night should be a priority.
Another lifestyle barrier to our weight loss efforts is performing workouts irregularly.
When work and social obligations do not allow us to reach our yoga class and gym, I suggest doing chair poses, which can be done at work and save us from a complete absence from exercising.
Just as our busy lifestyle can hinder our workout regime, it can also cause us a lot of stress. Remember, stress is a big enemy and barrier to weight loss.
When we are stressed. a high level of the stress hormone, cortisol, is released which increases appetite and drives cravings for “junk” food, which leads straight to the padding up of belly fat.
For most of my students going through a stressful phase in life, I suggest not rushing to pacify themselves with the easiest way out stuffing their mouth with delicious nonsense instead, getting their mind & body to a state of calm through deep breathing and meditation.
Most people believe that if they skip meals then it can help them in losing weight. This is not true!
When we skip meals then it actually increases our odds of obesity, especially if we are skipping breakfast, because this slows our metabolism and boosts our hunger.
That puts our body in prime fat-storage mode and increases our probability of overeating during the next meal.
So instead, we should accelerate our metabolism by eating small portions of balanced foods throughout the day, which means, eating more frequently but small portions and healthy food.
My students who are out to lose weight with my yoga classes are also a ‘diet conscious’ lot.
They buy foods labeled low-fat or fat-free to reduce calorie intake. What they do not realize is that they are replacing fats with sugar and other chemicals which are worse than fat.
Foods labeled low- fat digest more quickly and leave us feeling hungry faster. Also, when we eat a low fat ice-cream, it may be low in fats but it’s still sweet.
Do we take the time to chew our food well before gulping it or do we eat our meals fast and on the fly? This often gets in our way of losing weight, because we’re not giving our stomach the time to register that we’re full.
Remember that our stomach requires 20 minutes to tell our brain that it has had its fill for the moment.
When we eat while watching television or even working on our computer we are not being mindful about the quantity or quality of food being consumed.
This is why our body does not send us the signal that we are full and we end up eating more calories than our body requires.
If we are planning to watch television and eat at the same time we can snack on assorted cut and steamed vegetables with a healthy dip or portion two cups of popcorn and not refill it when it is over. A small portion of assorted dry fruit or assorted seeds is also great to have as a snack.
Reclining on our sofa with a good movie and some red wine at the end of a tiring day is relaxing indeed – but not all the time !
Red wine has its health benefit as an antioxidant but consuming too much wine or alcohol can reduce self- consciousness and cause us to unknowingly eat more.
Wine is a smarter substitute to fizzy drinks with high sugary ingredients that pack up an even heftier caloric punch. Yet, it’s important to remember that liquid calories count too!
Moreover, cutting out the nightly alcohol will also help us sleep better while keeping any extra calories at bay.
Loose clothes are comfortable to lounge around in, but we should own some body hugging ones too.
Fitted clothes will alert us the moment we put on the slightest weight.
Furthermore, our jeans are the best way to know if we have gained weight. Don’t buy a new pair just because you don’t fit into the current pair . Work your way back into it.
These 9 small habits, which might seem insignificant, are actually the main reasons why our weight loss program might not be working out.
It might be a long road towards reaching our ideal weight, but the key is not giving up on ourselves. We have heard that habits make a person and it is true. We become what we do. So, it is wise to keep track of our daily habits.
And so, the final message “Be mindful at all times” and positive results will follow.