Yoga for weight loss: Benefits that go beyond calorie burning
If you are having difficulty losing weight despite your best efforts, this is because obesity is a complicated disease with numerous contributing factors. A family history of weight problems can increase the likelihood that you will face similar difficulties managing your weight. Sedentary behavior and a diet high in ultra-processed foods, sugar, and fat also contribute to weight gain. Stress and mental health struggles, including medication to treat certain mental health conditions, insufficient sleep, and hormonal changes all contribute to weight gain.
There are numerous strategies for overcoming obesity, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you're looking to lose or maintain weight, you might want to give yoga a try. Yoga has been shown in research to help people manage stress, improve their mood, curb emotional eating, and build a community of support, all of which can aid in weight loss and maintenance.
Yoga can also help you lose weight and build muscle mass and tone. Yoga may help alleviate joint pain, allowing you to exercise more and participate in more daily activities. These are just a few of yoga's numerous benefits.
Yoga can assist you in managing stress, which can contribute to weight gain.
Yoga derives from the Sanskrit word Yuj, which means to bring the body, mind, and emotions into harmony. It is a holistic mind-body practice that addresses a variety of factors that contribute to weight gain.
Stress can manifest physically in the form of pain or sleep deprivation, or it can be psychological in nature, causing feelings of anxiety and agitation. Cortisol levels rise in response to stress. Cortisol increases abdominal fat, depletes muscle mass, increases cravings for fatty and sugar-sweetened foods, and thus may contribute to obesity.
Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and cortisol levels, improve mood, alleviate anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and improve chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, all of which can result in weight gain.
Yoga is not a quick fix for obesity, but it may help address the underlying causes. Its advantages go beyond the calories-in-versus-calories-out equations.
Yoga can help improve one's awareness of one's eating behaviors.
The majority of us who crave ice cream after 9 p.m. or who can't stop eating potato chips are aware that these behaviors jeopardize our weight loss efforts. We are all aware that vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein are beneficial to our health and weight. While this knowledge is necessary, it does not appear to be enough to assist us in adhering to our healthy eating plans.
Among yoga's benefits is that it enhances body mindfulness and awareness of bodily sensations. This is why yoga is sometimes referred to as "moving meditation." According to research, you do not need to practice formal sitting meditation to reap the benefits of yoga.
Yoga reduces emotional eating, stress eating, and binge eating by increasing mindfulness. These habits thwart our weight loss efforts and can create a downward spiral of guilt and shame, which frequently results in quitting.
A 2015 study found that practicing yoga resulted in healthier eating habits, including a decrease in fat intake and an increase in vegetables and whole grains.
The bottom line is that the best diet plan is one that you can maintain over time, and yoga can help you make healthier food choices by increasing your mindfulness.
A yoga community can offer acceptance and assistance.
Going to a gym can be intimidating for some people with larger bodies, and may elicit feelings of exclusion. By contrast, yoga culture embodies self-acceptance, kindness, and support.
Yoga teachers and advanced practitioners can act as role models for newer students, inspiring them to live healthier lifestyles. Social networks have been shown to influence weight-related behaviors in research. The yoga network promotes healthy behaviors, and belonging to such a community can make a significant difference in terms of weight loss. With other forms of exercise, this type of community can be difficult to find.
Practitioners should seek out a secure, comfortable setting. A welcoming yoga group may help you develop a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence. Locate a local studio that feels nurturing but not overwhelming, with practitioners on a similar level to you. By modifying poses, teachers can assist beginners and those with physical limitations.
You may need to enroll in a few different classes before finding an instructor or a class that appeals to you. After the first one, do not give up!
If you're unable to locate a studio in your area, there are always online options on YouTube and Instagram, which offer classes for all skill levels. There are instructors who understand what it's like to be a larger size, and their inclusive, body-affirming attitude demonstrates that yoga is not exclusive to "skinny people." Some share inspirational stories about how yoga assisted them in overcoming personal obstacles such as weight loss, depression, and binge eating. If you're new to the practice, consider signing up for a short challenge to help you get started.
Yoga's benefits are universal — regardless of your shape or size. Establishing a yoga practice can take weeks or months, and consistent practice is critical for long-lasting benefits.