Yoga, this 5,000-year history mind and body practice, is now the most commonly used non-dietary alternative therapy for weight loss. According to US National Library of Medicine.
When we are struggling to lose weight, we impulsively jump onto the popular weight loss diet programs, which is focusing on calories intake and consumption to create energy deficiency, as a result, lose weight.
But the problem is, after we get out of the 1 week, 3 weeks, or whatever period of special diet, feel relaxed and deserved to go back to the normal life with “normal” eating. We gain the weight right back.
We sign up for gym membership, with the determined mind of shedding extra pounds off, only found out we want to eat more after the exercise since we are so hungry.
Surgeon General has concluded three main factors cause the obesity:
- Lack of physical activity; Lot of us live our lives on the wheels. If we don’t schedule time to exercise, there are really not many chances to burn the calories.
- High consumption of high caloric, high fat and nutrient-poor foods. No wonder why all the fries and handberges tastes so yum and it’s so irresistible when you are hungry and don’t have time to cook. Speaking of a busy mom with two young kids ☹.
- Stress. Under stressed situations, the emotional hack pushes us toward seeking for food high in fat and sugar. The weight loss diet plan we swore to follow vanished at the moment.
So we might lose a few pounds in a short period of time, but we are so struggling to maintain the long term weight loss result. It remains a mystery, even for the experts.
That’s why greater than 30% of the US population (an estimated 72.5 million) is obese, at an annual cost of $147 billion dollars in medical costs.
As the experts are pulling their hair to try to find the right solution for long term weight loss. The ancient body mind practice-yoga becomes more and more popular worldwide.
This allows more scientific research and studies to be done to explore the benefits of yoga practice.
Multiple study shows yoga has improved numbers of obesity-related outcomes including BMI, body weight, body fat, and waist circumference in clinical trials.
Studies involving long-term yoga practitioners have found yoga helps to improve diet and body weight, and an inverse relationship between frequency of yoga practice and levels of obesity.
In the population-based, longitudinal vitamin and lifestyle (VITAL) study of 15,550 adults, individuals who practiced yoga for at least four years were two to four times less likely to gain weight as they aged than individuals who did not practice yoga.
A Qualitative study conducted in 2016 under National Institutes of Health Clinical Center’s (NIHCC) Office of Human Subjects Research Protection (OHSRP) examine group of yoga practitioner (age 35-67) who previously were obese lost average 26 lbs after 1-4 years of yoga practice.
So, how exactly yoga help you lose weight?
Firstly, Yoga help practitioner shift toward healthy eating.
A lot of people struggled with obesity found themselves mindlessly eating or making unconscious food selections and purchases.
We could eat a bag of potato chips and not be aware of it. We sort of zone out and don’t even know how much we are eating.
Certain Yoga practice helps make us more mindful. The practice of precise postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) help yoga practitioners to explore the more internalized limbs of yoga, including dhyana (meditation) and kaivalya (absolute freedom).
It develops our sense of self-awareness so we can be better able to resist unhealthy foods and comfort eating. Therefore, our mind becomes more in tune with our body and stop eating when we notice we are full.
When you are about to make a quick drive thru to grab the fast food, the yogi mind may remind you make the right choice on walking through the bakery in grocery store instead.
This tiny little change in mind will have a big impact on the long term weight loss.