Ayurveda offers specific and individualized advice for what types of foods to eat based on your unique makeup and/or what specific issue you are trying to address. But I often get questions about weight loss, so I wanted to provide some very general guidelines that anyone can follow to get started:
1. Focus on what's important. When thinking about weight loss, it is most helpful if we keep our focus on the desire to be healthy and vibrant. Everyone wants to feel attractive, but we should let go of the need to fulfill some specific personal or cultural standard that simply might not be possible (or healthy) for our unique, natural constitution. What we can focus on, instead, is being the best we possibly can be. The more we can keep ego out of the process, the better it will be.
2. Show gratitude. When working on improving health or fitness, it is important to come from a place of thankfulness and acceptance toward your body rather than criticism. Examine the messages you tell yourself about your body and your weight. If you are harsh on yourself or tell yourself how overweight you are every time your look in a mirror or have a meal, turn that around. Get in the habit of switching your self-talk to gratitude for all that your body does for you! It's a much better place to start.
3. Let go of the stress. Ayurveda sets us free from typical dieting. It does not focus on the intake of specific, prescribed grams of protein, carbs, or fats. It also doesn't count calories. Imagine that! Although some specialized diets certainly help people lose weight, it does not necessarily mean they are doing so in the healthiest manner for that individual person. Further, the detailed nature of staying on some diets can actually increase stress, which can make weight loss that much harder or at least difficult to sustain.
4. Reflect on what you're taking in. Before consuming anything, we should ask ourselves "Is this natural, whole, and life-giving? Will consuming it contribute to my health and vibrancy? Or is this considerably altered from its natural state or filled with artificial ingredients? Will consuming this be toxic or overly tax my body in any way?" That's it. Just ask yourself these questions before every meal, and maximize those things that are closest to their natural state and minimize those that are processed or otherwise stress the body.
5. Listen to your body. Ayurveda asks us to get more in touch with our own natural rhythms and signals. We should only eat if our body signals to us that it is hungry. And we should eat only to the point that we are satiated, not overly full. We also need to distinguish whether our hunger is coming from our body or our mind. The mind can play tricks on us with it's own desires for comfort.
6. Move your body. Our bodies are meant to move, not be static. We should strive to move our bodies each day for at least 20-30 minutes (even 10 minutes is better than nothing.) Ayurveda advises specific types of exercise for certain types of people, but everyone can benefit from simple walking. Start there, and get outside in nature if at all possible!
Choose several of the above and start a new approach to achieving your natural weight! For additional support, feel free to send me your questions or book an appointment. And let me know how you are doing!
For more, see the post about general Ayurvedic principles for food.