The “Appearance Attraction”

Recently I met a few people – and as always they are obsessed about dropping ‘x’ kilos by such and such date to fit into ‘that’ dress or just appear a certain way. And to achieve their targets – they don’t really care about the approach – they could starve, skip meals, count calories, workout like crazies, anything but eating sensibly – they just want results! So I asked – would you put your child or someone you love on the same diet – I got a unanimous reply – NO WAY! Then why put yourself through it!?

What I don’t understand is that why is there so much attention on a certain number or appearance and at the same time so much disregard towards physiological and psychological parameters? Why do we forget that our body works as a whole unit – and anything we do or don’t impacts US – our body, mind and energy too at the same time.

An absolute focus only on Weight loss, with an indifferent or unaware approach to Fat loss – is simply Careless and even dangerous. How can we overlook the benefits that exercise and eating right have upon US – our body, mind and energy. The overall insulin sensitivity improves, fat burning is maximized. Strength-stamina-endurance gets better. We are better attuned to our Hunger cues and satiety signals. Heart, liver, kidney function better. We are more happier. We feel lighter. We look better (isn’t this the whole reason why most people want to ‘lose weight’?!) 😉

So I repeat myself – throw your scale – focus on living a disciplined life – be FIT. A good lifestyle ensures that you are not at risk of any lifestyle related disease – which are on high rise today. Get over the “Appearance Attraction” and get Sensible 🙂

Fitness

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Enjoy your Meal, if you want to ‘Lose’ your Weight

So often, in my practice I come across people, who are willing to give up foods they love or believe that “if I give in to my taste buds, I will stay fat forever. So its better I stay away from my favorite foods”. These are those who have been on and off diets all the time, and that’s because they couldn’t sustain their diet for long. And yet – they choose to follow the same and obviously results will be the same – weight loss (on the scale) when dieting and weight gain (as soon as they go back to normal eating)

We as humans are chemically wired to choose joy over pain or torture. So obviously when we are eating, we want to enjoy the food and in turn feel satisfied and happy. Scientifically when you relish your meal your metabolism goes up and you not only digest your food better but you also absorb maximum nutrients from your meal. In fact people who consciously eat foods that are “good for you,” even though you don’t like them, or if you think you can have a ‘cheat’ meal and compensate for it by eating bad-tasting vitamin-fortified protein bar, or some ‘tall-claimed’ foods or tea – to wash off the effect of the bad diet or purely choose these because you feel you will put on weight if you eat foods you like – then you aren’t doing yourself any ‘healthy’ favor. Instead not only are slowing down your metabolism, you are also reducing the quantity and quality of nutrients that you get from your food.

Haven’t you experienced that when you abstain from eating and enjoying your food, when you go out – you end up bingeing because you know you won’t be eating this again? Now ask yourself – if you could eat everything would you ever have to go on a bingeing spree?

Also haven’t you experienced that when you eat ill-tasting, ‘low-calorie’ food in the name of diet – you end up eating more and end up feeling stuffed but rarely satisfied?

Let’s talk about the science behind both these – the hormone that makes you feel good about your eating experience is the same one that stimulates your digestive system and also signals the brain to stop eating. Also when you are not enjoying your food brain secretes a neurotransmitter that increases your appetite and makes you hunt for food – and you end up feasting after a bit of starving. Then you get on to a guilt trip – again go starving or dieting and thus the cycle of starving and feasting goes on.

The simple act of eating good food – made at home – as simple as a dal chawal with little ghee – not only fills your tummy, it also satisfies your soul. You feel nourished. Your brain secretes the ‘happy’ hormone – thereby improving digestion, assimilation, nutrient absorption and in turn leads to a greater efficiency in ‘calorie burning’ 😀

Again this does not mean you eat anything and everything – mindlessly. I am just explaining that enjoying your meal is a must for your digestion. Cherish your food, celebrate your food and eat well in Moderation 🙂

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Happy Eating!

Fasting and Feasting – in the name of God

We first revered the Father (Shiva), then indulged the Son (Ganpati) and now as we dance and rejoice we pay our respects to the Mother (Shakti) during Navratra or Navratri. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped, which represents the Divine Feminine Principle within us.

Many observe a strict fast during this period. Today fasting is frequently heralded as the “miracle weight loss” for those who have tried all else without success.

Actually Fasting in Sanskrit is called ‘Upavas’. Upa- means near and Vas means to sit. Thus Upavas is sitting next to or residing in close proximity to the Divine or simply a Connection with the Divine

A fast also is one of the best ways of controlling our mind and senses, especially our Tongue. They allow us to withdraw our senses from the outside world and become refocused on our own inner divine nature and our connection to God. Unfortunately today, most of us have forgotten much of the purpose of a fast. Today, we either see people feasting in the name of fasting. Or we see the exact opposite – starvation. People starve for various reasons – to please God or to even lose weight. Starving is the ideal way to increase your abdominal girth, as when we starve the adrenal gland kicks in, stores the fat and lets go off the muscle, bone and water. Though you may be few kgs lower on your scale, your Fat percentage just jumped further up, putting your body into more danger and more closer to a heart disease.

So just like on a normal day, even when observing a Fast, sensible eating is required. The food restriction during a fast is not a punishment, but rather to practice self-restraint. Fasting typically means to eat a healthy diet comprising of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, protein, healthy carbs and fat, which is essentially called a “Sattvic” diet in Ayurveda. This in turn leads to clarity and equanimity of mind while also being tremendously beneficial to the body – thus bringing us to a state of balance.

The so called restricted diet gives us a chance to get in touch with our tummy. Everyday everywhere we see a  variety of food on in front of us and somewhere we forget that the body needs only a certain amount of food for sustenance for the stomach can hold only so much physically. It is our senses continue to crave, and we give in to those cravings very often.

These fasts just come as a break for us to get in touch or rather friendly with our stomach, to get clarity of what we want to eat, when we want to eat and most importantly HOW MUCH to eat, for it is only we ourselves who know how much we need to eat in that moment – no doctor or dietician can tell us that.

So if you really want to fast – let go of your past. Give up criticizing yourself. Give up on the tags and labels you put up on yourself.  And ‘feed’ yourself only certain things then – put yourself on a diet of self – love. Nurture yourself. Celebrate yourself. Be thankful to yourself. Strictly follow a diet like this just for a Week and Witness the Wonders 🙂

Found this beautiful poem and just had to share –

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