The journey of weight loss can try your patience and lead to frustration. Losing weight isn't as straightforward as counting calories in vs. calories out; in fact calorie counting is proven to be a myth and is inaccurate! Let's shift the paradigm and consider yoga and meditation as tools for weight loss.
There can be a myriad of different causes for a person to gain weight, but for the most part, it appears that folk get too hung up on eating less (not necessarily eating better) and exercising more as a remedy.
This type of approach may not be effective, even if you are eating the right foods in the right amounts! For example, did you know that stress can cause weight gain? The psychological effects of stress are proven to increase catabolic stress hormones which in turn can increase insulin. It is this exact process that can quickly and effectively change body composition by increasing body fat and decreasing skeletal muscle mass. With hormonal obesity, you could be eating a perfectly balanced and nutritious diet and still gain weight.
If you are gaining weight as a result of stress, meditation and yoga may be your saviors. Meditation is proven to decrease stress and in doing so, decreases stress related hormones such as cortisol. This is significantly beneficial for weight loss because less stress means lower insulin which means less fat storage.
Did you also know that yoga is great for weight loss? Although yoga may not burn a ton of calories, the breathing practices in yoga (pranayama) are particularly beneficial in aiding weight loss. Lipids are far more calorie dense than proteins of carbohydrates and as such require significantly more oxygen to be burnt as energy. Yoga breathing can increase your habitual breathing volume which in turn provides more oxygen to oxidize fat and thus is why regular deep yoga breathing sessions can facilitate weight loss.
Furthermore, both yoga and meditation can help with emotional eating. Because eating can release endomorphins and improve your mood, food can become addictive. This is why eating food can often become a knee-jerk reaction as a means to cope with stress. Yoga and meditation are both proven to improve well being and as such can be effective tools to combat weight gain caused by emotional eating.
Take home thoughts
If stress is affecting your weight, or perhaps you have tried every diet going and still haven’t been able to shed any pounds. Try incorporating both yoga and meditation into your weight loss program. I would suggest meditating three times a week, first thing in the morning as a means to reduce stress and start the day with the right mind set.
To benefit from yoga breathing, you will need to perform two deep breathing sessions per week. Give it a try and please do share your results!
- See more of VegKitchen's articles on healthy weight loss.