Yoga for weight loss: Benefits beyond burning calories

If you are struggling to lose weight despite your best efforts, it is because obesity is a complex disease with many causes. Having a family history of weight problems can make you more likely to experience the same issues with managing your weight. A diet rich in ultra-processed foods, sugar and fats, and a lack of movement also contribute to weight gain. Stress and struggles with mental health, including medications to treat certain mental health conditions, lack of sleep, and hormonal changes, all contribute to weight gain.

There are many ways to combat excess weight, but there is no single solution. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, you may want to try yoga. There is good research that yoga may help you manage stress, improve your mood, reduce emotional eating, and create a community of support, all of which can help with weight loss and maintenance.

Yoga can also help you burn calories, as well as increase muscle mass and strength. Yoga may reduce joint pain, which in turn allows you to get more exercise and increase your daily activities. These are just some of the many benefits of yoga.

Yoga can help you manage stress that can affect weight gain

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means uniting the body, mind and emotions. It is a comprehensive mind-body exercise that improves many causes of weight gain.

Some people may experience stress such as physical pain or sleep deprivation, or it may be psychological and cause feelings of anxiety and agitation. Stress leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol increases belly fat, reduces muscle mass, and causes cravings for fat and sugar-rich foods, and thus can lead to obesity.

Yoga can reduce stress and cortisol levels, boost mood, reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, improve chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and reduce the need for medications that can cause weight gain.

Yoga is not a pad for excess weight, but it may work on the underlying causes. Its benefits extend far beyond the calorie-for-calorie-out equation.

Yoga can improve alertness associated with eating behaviors

Most of us who crave ice cream after 9pm or can’t stop eating chips know that these behaviors hurt our chances of losing weight. We all know that eating vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, etc. is good for our health and weight. While this knowledge is necessary, it appears insufficient to help us stick to our healthy eating plans.

One of the benefits of yoga is that it improves body awareness and awareness of body sensations. This is why yoga is called “moving meditation.” Research shows that you don’t have to do any formal meditation session to get the mindfulness benefits of yoga.

By improving alertness, yoga reduces emotional eating, stress eating, and binge eating. These habits sabotage our efforts to lose weight and can cause a negative spiral of guilt and shame, often leading to giving up.

A study published in 2015 showed that practicing yoga leads to a healthy eating, including reducing fat intake and increasing vegetables and whole grains.

Bottom line: The best diet plan is one that you can stick to long-term, and by improving alertness, yoga can help you make healthy food choices.

The yoga community can offer acceptance and support

Going to the gym can be intimidating, and it can trigger feelings of lack of belonging for some people with large bodies. By contrast, yoga culture embodies kindness, support, and self-acceptance.

Yoga teachers and advanced practitioners can set an example and inspire new students to live a healthier lifestyle. Research shows that social networking influences behaviors that affect weight. The Yoga Network encourages positive healthy behaviors, and being part of such a community can make an important difference in weight loss. It can be hard to find this kind of community with other types of exercise.

Practitioners should look for a safe and comfortable environment. A welcome yoga group may help you improve your self-esteem and confidence. Find a local studio that feels nurtured, not overwhelmed, with other practitioners at your level. Teachers can help beginners or those with a physical disability by adjusting poses. You may have to try several different classes before you find a teacher or class that you like. Don’t give up after the first!

If you can’t find a local studio, there are always online options on YouTube and Instagram, with classes at all levels. There are trainers who understand what it means to be a bigger size, and having an all-encompassing, body-asserting stance shows that yoga isn’t just for “thin people.” Some share inspiring stories of how yoga helped them overcome weight gain, depression and binge eating. If you are a beginner, consider signing up for a short challenge to stick to this practice.

The benefits of yoga are universal – regardless of shape or size. Establishing a yoga practice can take weeks or months, and frequent practice is key to long-term benefits.

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