Ready to get back in balance this winter? Here are eight Ayurveda tips that can naturally and gently guide you toward holistic and healthy weight management without the use of chemicals, processed food or extreme diets.
1. Drink a large glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. This boosts the entire digestive system and gives you a fresh start to your day.
2. Exercise enough to break a sweat. Morning is the best time to fit in your daily exercise; 45 to 60 minutes is ideal, but even 30 will do. Find an activity that you can do for the rest of your life, or at least for the foreseeable future.
3. Find five to ten or more minutes of peace and relaxation in the morning. Mind/body practices like yoga, meditation and qigong elicit a relaxation response in the body. This helps to alleviate stress, one of the main causes of weight gain. It also puts us in a more mindful and present state of mind, allowing us to be better decision-makers as our day proceeds.
4. Eat with the season, and preferably the region. In the fall and winter, the bounty of the season consists of root vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and fruits. When we eat as much organic and local food as possible, and feast on seasonal, whole foods, our bodies naturally digest and assimilate nutrients.
5. Experience all six tastes. In Ayurveda, we recognize six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Be sure to incorporate all six tastes into your daily diet. Sweet, sour and salty tastes are anabolic, or building, in nature and need the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes—which are catabolic, or burning, in nature—to balance them out.
6. Move a little after each meal. Going for short walks after meals stimulates peristalsis and digestion. It’s most important to go for a walk after lunch, preferably 10 to 20 minutes at a moderate pace. If possible, lie on your left side after walking for 10 minutes to further aid digestion.
7. Go to bed not long after the sun, and rise with the sun. Tapping into our natural circadian rhythms creates a major hormone-balancing effect. Go to bed before 10:00 pm, when we get our second wind. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night gives the body time to detoxify and reset for the next day, and helps maintain healthy levels of cortisol (a stress response hormone that causes weight gain).
Remember, it’s okay to begin with small steps. Slowly but surely, the wisdom of Ayurveda can help lead you toward stress-free, healthy weight management.