Ten things a yoga teacher does to maintain a healthy weight.
Before we start, I have to confess, I love my grub. I love my dinner, I love my bread and butter. I love my wine. It is not effortless for me to maintain my optimal weight, far from it. However, I love being lean, feeling healthy, and I love the feeling of moving without jiggling flesh. So, for me, the effort is worth it.
Loosing weight is hard, maintaining weight is hard, being overweight is hard. Choose your hard.
1. Banish guilt. Enjoy your food, forgive yourself if you over-indulge. Every day is brand new, every meal is a brand new. We have a choice every day to eat more than we need to, a little less than we need to, or exactly what we need to. Make thoughtful choices as much as possible but relax if it’s been an over-eating day, we all have them. Just try not to have too many over-eating days in a row.
2. Stay hydrated - drink water or herbal teas as much as you can. Snack on fruit and vegetables.
3. Take a few days in a row to be as healthy as you possibly can. Stock up on your favourite, freshest, healthiest foods. Maybe it’s 3 days, 5 days, maybe it's 7. Avoid alcohol, sugar, treats and dessert and enjoy feeling great. Notice how you are feeling and really let it soak in. The next time you absent-mindedly reach for food you don’t really need you are more likely to pause and question your actions if you have cultivated short periods of being really aware of what you are eating and how good it is making you feel.
4. Eating just a little less at each meal can be really beneficial. Slow it down ... mindful eating. Notice when you’re full. Maybe ‘just enough’ will suit you for this meal. Above all try to avoid feeling stuffed.
5. Daily exercise when possible. For me you can’t beat a walk in the fresh air and yoga. I aim for 45 minutes a day, some days it’s 30, some days it’s not at all. Some days it’s yoga, then gym, then swim.
6. Explore and learn and enjoy healthy food. Experiment. Stock up well at home. Have an attractive fruit basket. Don’t have a ‘biscuit press’. Get creative with herbs and spices when you are cooking and avoid the packets and jars as much as you can. Stock up; freeze healthy soups and curries.
7. Aim for a vegetable soup daily and a salad daily. Put plenty of veg on your dinner plate, squeeze more veg into your breakfast omelette or your lunch sandwich. The more veg the better. The closer to unprocessed the better.
8. Eat dinner as early as works for you and avoid late night snacks.
9. Incorporate daily practices of ‘relaxing’. Yoga, meditation, reading a book, taking a bath or pottering around your house listening to music. Set aside small periods of time where you are un-rushed, enjoying quiet time and noticing a soft relaxed belly and a relaxed gentle breath. This is one of the best things you can do to ensure optimal functioning of your digestive system.
10. Every time you say ‘no’ to food or drink you know you really don’t need, notice that and smile. You are building pathways in your brain that makes it easier, more automatic, for you to stop when you are full. You are training and strengthening your mind.
It can get easier. It’s a practice for all of us; we are all on a journey. Be your ‘best self’ most of the time but don’t expect to be your ‘best self’ all the time. If we were all going through life like that, how much fun would that be?!
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde.