1) We expect long term results from a short term remedy
These days it can be quite confusing to choose the right weight loss diet. Do you choose keto, paleo, blood type, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean? With all the nutritional information and a new diet coming out almost every year, how do you know which one is right for you? Right?
Perhaps, this is the wrong question to ask. Rather than asking what is the right diet for you, you may want to ask yourself what can I do to not only lose weight but to keep it off long term?
Diets don’t work. What that means is that the very concept of a diet is that it gives rapid results in a short amount of time. After losing the weight, we gain it right back. That’s something that most of us have experienced multiple times in our lives.
We expect long term results with a short term remedy.
We can’t live on a restrictive diet, no matter what it is, long term. It has nothing to do with our will power. In order to have all the nutrients that the cells of our bodies need to survive, we need variety. We literally are what we eat.
Furthermore, eating IS a sensual and emotional experience. I think God did things right. We need to eat to live, so God made sure we derived joy and pleasure from eating so we could live!
When we use diets as a way to lose weight, we deny all these aspects of ourselves. And the results is that at some point we’ll get bored and rebel.
So in order to lose weight sustainably and permanently and keep our weight stable, we need to look for a long term solution. In other words, we need to learn how create a foundational diet for ourselves.
A foundational diet means, sustainable, daily food choices and habits.
Most of what we know to do in life, we learned how to do it. But when it comes to how we feed ourselves and our lifestyle, we never learned. We adjusted ourselves to a lifestyle, as opposed our lifestyle to ourselves.
Dr. Christopher D. Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center who spearheaded a recent study on food and weight loss published in the Journal of American Medical Association, recently said in a New York Times interview that “we really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains.”
2) What is Ayurveda?
Here’s where Ayurveda comes in.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest system of natural health care hailing from India. And it’s got over 5,000 years of proven results.
It literally means the Science of Life: Ayur=life and Veda=science, body of knowledge
Prior to the British colonization of India, it was a complete medical system with fields in surgery, pediatrics, herbal pharmacy and more. During their rule, the British imposed their medical allopathic system and rejected any Indian contributions.
It wasn’t until 30 years after India’s independence that Ayurveda came back in the limelight, especially after igniting interest in the West.
Today it’s especially known for its holistic approach to health with a focus on diet and lifestyle the two cornerstones of health and well-being.
Science is now confirming what Ayurveda has known for thousands of years that the root cause of symptoms and imbalances is a buildup of waste, impurities and toxins due to unwholesome food and lifestyle habits and choices.
When the body is no longer able to properly metabolize or digest what we put in it, this creates waste and it’s the buildup of waste that causes symptoms.
3) What’s an Ayurvedic diet?
An Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle approach focuses on the habits and choices that lead to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness. It does not focus on dieting.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, a foundational diet needs to focus on two aspects:
1- The quality of foods
2- The digestability of foods
The Quality of Foods.
When it comes to the quality of the foods we eat, Ayurveda looks at both the food we eat and the products we use on our skin and our environment.
Many things affect the quality of food: pesticides, pollution, chemicals, environmental toxins, added and artificial sugar, fats and salt.
We need to eat a variety of fresh, whole, seasonal (eat in harmony with nature) and organic or local foods that are nutrient rich.
The Digestability of Foods
As important as the quality of foods is our ability to digest them. We can eat great foods and still feel bloated and have gas.
How well we digest our foods affects whether or not our bodies are able to properly eliminate waste and toxins.
Some examples of symptoms linked to faulty digestion are: digestive issues, weight gain, abdominal fat, allergies, fatigue and PMS.
Therefore, we want to support our body’s metabolic function.
Here are 3 ways that Ayurveda helps us do that
4) 3 ways Ayurveda helps you lose weight effortlessly and permanently
1- Eating until 75% full.
I always give this visual of a washing machine. For clean clothes, you want to fill half of the washing machine with clothes, 25% with water and detergent and the rest you want to leave empty for the clothes to move. It’s the same for your stomach.
Also, when you want to eat quietly and consciously, so you’ll be able to notice the body’s satiation signals. Ayurvedic practitioner Myra Lewin says: “Overeating in any one sitting weakens your digestive fire, dulls your mind, and creates an accumulation of metabolic toxins or Ama in your body”
2- Eating the right foods for you.
In every other aspect of our lives, we recognize our differences except with foods. We all want to eat what we want to eat! Yet it’s obvious that we all digest different foods differently. When we’re younger our bodies haven’t accumulated a lot of stress yet, therefore, they have more endurance. But eating the wrong foods for us will catch up with us as we grow older and more toxic.
Dr. Marc Halpern, founder of the California College of Ayurveda says, “Nothing is right for everyone and everything is right for someone”
Ayurveda with its unique mind-body constitutional approach helps you recognize what foods you digest best or how to digest the foods you want to eat properly.
3- Addressing the factors that affect digestion
Our lifestyle also affects how we digest the foods we eat, especially factors like sleep, stress and exercise. The long term quality of our sleep, how well we recover from stressful situations and how we move our bodies daily affect all of our body’s metabolic functions not just our digestion and whether our body will store the energy we take in as fat or use it as energy.
In my online Ayurvedic weight loss group coaching program, 12 Weeks to a Lighter You, I help women lose weight sustainably and permanently. In this program they learn and implement diet and lifestyle strategies based on the wisdom and principles of Ayurveda, I discuss in this article. It’s a holistic and long term approach to weight loss, health and wellness. Find out more at laurecarter.com/onlinecoachingprogram
Freedom In Your Relationship With Food, Myra Lewin
Healing Your Life, Dr. Marc Halpern