We have so much information out there now on how to lose weight that it can be overwhelming and we get stuck in not knowing what to do to get results. Over the last few years I’ve been incorporating Ayurveda into my clients routines through simple habit shifts that have made such a difference in their lives.
What is Ayurveda? It is an ancient system that is over 5000 years old that originated in India. Ayurveda literally translates to the wisdom or science of life. I want to share with you some of the ancient wisdom that I’ve seen really help my clients finally lose the weight by connecting back to their bodies natural rhythms.
Ayurvedic Practices for Weight Loss:
- Keystone Habit- A keystone habit helps you stay focused on one area in your life that will snowball into other habit areas. Ask yourself what is the number one thing you can do to make all of your habits happen? For example my keystone habit is eating dinner by 6pm so I can have some downtime with my son, put him to bed, and then read & unwind so I can go to bed by 10pm. If my dinner gets pushed back my entire evening gets pushed back which makes me stay up too late, which causes me lack of sleep and throws off my entire next day. Other examples of keystone habits– leaving work by a set time, having lunch as your largest meal, meditating in the morning. When picking your habit, remember to make it the one thing that will help you accomplish the rest of the habits that improve your life.
- Early, lighter dinners- This has been a game changer for so many women I work with. In the Western world we are used to eating late & having dinner as our largest meal. When we do this our bodies do not have the time to properly digest our food. If we eat at 9pm and go to bed at 10:30pm, we are still digesting and many times people complain about heartburn or indigestion due too eating to close to bedtime. Ideally we are done eating by 7pm, with the sweet spot between 4:30-6pm which might seem absurdly early to you right now. Start eating 30 minutes earlier at first. After that becomes a habit, back it up another 30 minutes. Now you’re in the 7pm or earlier time frame. This is why many have a keystone habit of leaving work on time so they can start their evening right. Now the lighter part comes into play by enjoying soups or a bowl of cooked veggies in the colder months and salads in the warmer months.
- Lunch should be your largest meal- During the window of 10am-2pm your digestion is the strongest. This is the perfect time to enjoy a larger meal as you can properly digest it.Your lunch can make up what you typically used to think of as dinner foods. In Ayurveda you are what you can digest. So fueling our system properly at the right time of day will help you reach your fitness goals.
- Daily movement- Ayurveda encourages everyone to move daily. Movement has been shown to extend life as well. This does not mean a “hardcore” workout everyday but it does mean a walk outside or yoga in the morning. Do something that will get your body moving. We all know sitting has become a problem here in the Western world and just taking a 10-20 minutes in the morning to move, and maybe go for a 10-20 minute walk after lunch, and the same after dinner. If that doesn’t sound doable in your life right now, think of how you can get in at least 30 minutes of movement everyday.
- Sleep- Try and get to bed by 10pm. When you feel a 2nd wind coming and you stay up until midnight, you’ve missed out on the magic of the deep sleep that happens between 11pm-2am. Ideally you are getting up with the sunrise around 6am daily. Sleep is often a hidden weight loss factor for those who are always pushing themselves to the max during the day. Lack of sleep leads to insomnia, anxiety, burn-out, & adrenal fatigue. So prioritizing your sleep is a must no matter your fitness goals. Another great resource on sleep can be found on Life Extensions website.
- Dinacharya- This is your daily routine. It might be the one thing you need to change to get results and our daily schedule can be helping or hurting us. Below is a sample of an ideal day to do the habits I discussed above.
Ayurvedic Daily Routine Ideals
6am– Wake up with the sunrise
6-10am– Drink a glass of water, have a bowel movement, sit in quietness (meditate), workout or move your body in some capacity.
11-2pm- Enjoy your lunch and biggest meal of the day, maybe take another walk after lunch
5-7pm- Enjoy an early lighter dinner, maybe go for a walk again after dinner
8-9pm Meditate or have a quiet time to calm the mind before bed
10pm- Ideally in bed and sleeping by 10:30pm
Now you might be thinking of every excuse as to why you can’t make the above schedule happen. Unless you work the night shift, you probably can make something happen from the list above. Many times the thing we fight the most is the thing we need to do to get results. For me, I fought the early lighter dinner for 2 years before I finally tried it and lost 40 pounds. I encourage you to try one of the above habits and do it for a few months. Don’t just try it for a week and stop. Changes in our bodies take up to 20 days before we notice the results. Many of us start something, do it for a week, and stop before our bodies even have time to shift and change. My other piece of advice is to start with one new habit. Start with your one keystone habit. Once you have a grasp on that add another habit. Slow but steady progress is how people get results.
I would love to know what your keystone habit is or if you want any help identifying it. Leave a comment below so I can help you solidify your habits to help you get on the right track for reaching your weight loss goals.
What is 1 Ayurvedic habit you could incorporate this week?