Shedding what no longer serves you can contribute to higher energy levels, greater confidence and help to reduce the risk of preventable illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
BUT, when it’s your main focus due to poor body image or attempting to achieve an ideal that you think you need to attain, it can actually be detrimental to both your health and your confidence.
Here are 3 strategies based in Ayurveda that support weight loss and self-love.
1. Honor food as medicine, and taste as a way to heal and bring the body back into balance.
Stop using food to fill time, pacify difficult emotions or pleasure your taste buds.Treating food as medicine is loving yourself enough to nourish your body instead of focusing on restricting your diet.
It also means retraining your taste buds to taste the medicinal properties of foods. According to Ayurveda there are 6 tastes: Sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent.
Our western diet is made up mostly of sweet and salty tastes because those tastes tend to be pleasant and addictive. Too much of sweet (rice, wheat, meat, sugar, dairy) and salty taste (salt), according to Ayurveda, is building for the body.
On the other hand, bitter (dandelion greens, kale, eggplant) and astringent (broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, lentils, beans) are tastes that tend to bring lightness to the body. Pungent (ginger, chilies) and sour tastes (lime, lemon, fermented foods) build heat in the body and help to boost digestion.
Meals that incorporate all 6 tastes are very balancing to the body. Since western diets mostly lack bitter and astringent taste, an easy way to incorporate more of those tastes is to eat the rainbow. Eat more veggies in a variety of colors and you’ll be well on your way to nourishing yourself and bringing more lightness to the body. You can think of portioning out your plate as 25% protein, 50% veggies and 25% whole grain.
2. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
Yes, sleep affects your weight. Sleep researchers are clear that less than 7 hours of sleep is essential sleep deprivation.
When you’re sleep deprived the hormone grehlin, that lets your brain know it’s time to eat (hunger) stops working properly so you feel hunger more often even if your body doesn’t actually need more food. At the same time, the hormone, leptin that lets your brain know when your full and you’ve had enough to eat, also stops working. That combination can lead to big weight gains because you feel increased hunger, but never feel full. The result is over eating and weight gain.
Sleeping 7 – 8 hours per night contributes to healthy hormone function, and weight loss and management (among a whole host of other benefits).
3. Eat enough at meals so you don’t snack in between.
This is a big one. Too often folks who want to lose weight reduce their portion size so much that they become hungry within 2 hours of eating and then start snacking.
According to chronobiologists who study time restricted eating, when you eat is just as important as what you eat. When you eat 3 nourishing meals per day and leave 3-4 hours in between with no snacking, you give your digestive tract time to effectively process your food. This helps with weight loss and maintenance.
Even better, fast 12 – 14 hours between dinner and breakfast to allow your digestive tract to full process your dinner before you eat your breakfast. Good times to eat are 7:30 – 9 a.m. for breakfast (small meal), noon – 2 p.m. for lunch (big meal) and dinner (small meal) not later than 7 p.m.
Instead of overly restricting your portion size and feeling deprived try eating satisfying and nourishing meals everyday. Drop the snacking and allow time for your digestive tract to do what it needs to do to keep you healthy.
Losing weight can feel challenging, especially when it comes from a place of feeling like you need to fix yourself. There’s nothing to fix about you! Remember that your body has gotten you through a lot and has proven to be strong and resilient. Honor it by practicing self care than can support weight loss from a place of self-love and balance.
If you want guidance and accountability in implementing these strategies and meeting your weight loss goals, I can help. I offer private health coaching that supports you in creating the change you want to see in your health and wellness. Choose 90 days, 6 months or 1 full year of coaching to transform your health and your confidence. CLICK HERE to learn more. If you book between now and January 31st, receive an extra month of coaching on me.