Namaste! In our last blog post, we looked at how pranayama (yogic breathing practices) can help in weight loss. While this and other remedies can help to a certain extent, they aren’t enough. With one in three adults in the world overweight or obese, getting to the root of the problem is essential to stop this alarming trend.
So let us take a step back and try to trace the causes of excess weight problems.
We are what we eat. And never has this been more obvious than today with our poor dietary habits.
- Fast/Packaged Food: Eating highly processed, nutritionally dead food that comes out of packages or cans is one of the most common food crimes we commit. Such foods add calories without any real nutritional value. Add to that the preservatives needed to keep these foods “fresh” and we may even be depleting nutrients from our bodies.
- GMOs/Pesticides: Large global agri-businesses push their genetically modified crops with impunity, without much regard to the long-term health consequences arising from their use. We as consumers have to take charge of our plates and our diets and say “No” to such rampant unethical commercialisation.
- Food Indulgences: Humans didn’t evolve eating three courses at every meal, not even when they lived as hunter-gatherers or nomads. Today, with practically none of that level of physical activity, we take pride in being able to afford and eat ever-larger portions of an extremely rich diet.
- Fad Diets: Jumping from low-carb to no-carb to a carb binge … sounds familiar? As we move further away from our traditional diets, we yo-yo between fad diets. While you may lose a few pounds in the short term, you end up losing your connection to real, wholesome foods in the long term.
- Poor Food Combinations: Eating the wrong combination of foods or eating the right food prepared in the wrong way all add up to a sluggish metabolism.
Lack of Mindfulness: Eating even well-prepared fresh foods while focussing our attention on social media and other distractions interferes with the proper digestion and absorption of food.
- Sedentary Lifestyles: From the comfort of our desk or couch to the luxury of our cars and then the ease of escalators and lifts, levels of physical activity are rapidly declining. But our calorie intake continues unabated, causing a huge disconnect between energy-in and energy-out.
- Hectic Lifestyles: While our overall physical activity may be declining, our pace of life keeps growing faster. Lack of adequate rest and relaxation compounds the negative effects of such hectic lifestyles. This results in a compromised digestion.
- Stress: Our inability to lower stress levels affects our bodies in a myriad different ways. Weight gain is unfortunately one of the consequences.
- Lack of Self-Knowledge: When we eat mindlessly, we fail to realise which foods suit us and which don’t. We miss vital clues from our bodies that could help us choose the foods that nourish us and avoid those that cause us discomfort. Being mindful of every bite brings us in harmony with nature and with our bodies.
It’s never too late to start listening to your body!