In the last two and a half years, I’ve written over 200 articles on this blog on a variety of issues including relationships, self-help, emotions, meditation, spirituality and others. It’s about time I touched upon physical health, I felt. And, what better way to start than sharing my views on how to lose weight? Let me remind you that I’m not a physician or a medical practitioner. But, the good news is I’m not recommending any medication or diet plans here. Instead, I’ll be sharing with you my philosophy of weight loss coupled with simple methods you can adopt to shed weight without making any drastic changes to your lifestyle. I’m not asking you to become a vegetarian (good if you do though) or start running a daily marathon (not a bad idea), or go on some special dietary supplements (they do help) or meal replacements.
Is it really possible to lose weight without exercising or making changes to your diet? More importantly, is it possible to shed it without worrying about gaining it back? The answer is yes. Of course, there is no substitute for a good diet, physical exercise or a healthy lifestyle. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other options. The basis of my suggestions in this post is based on the proven and tested wisdom of Ayurveda validated by our modern science. I may mention that there’s not a major classical Ayurvedic text I haven’t read, so, I’m not just giving you my opinion but credible information that’s partly based on the ancient system of health and partly on the success I had with many people who tried it.
So, how to lose weight? Well, before I spell that out I would like you to take a moment to see if you actually need to drop the pounds. Let me begin with the question: how do we determine that someone’s overweight? We look at things like Body Mass Index (BMI) or waist circumference. If someone’s figures are not within the average range, such a person is deemed overweight. This method almost completely ignores the individuality of a person. Further, Media today has set unrealistic expectations on what fit bodies should look like. While there’s no harm in feeling inspired by looking at the touched up photos of celebs, it can’t reasonably be the benchmark for any sane person. To ascertain if you are overweight, start with this simple test:
Climb up the stairs at normal pace. Come down. Climb back up. Are you panting, are you gasping for breath? If not, you are just fine. You don’t need to be stressed about losing weight. You are unlikely to contract any physical ailment that generally comes with obesity. Eat a normal diet, exercise regularly and enjoy your life. If physical exercise is already a part of your routine and yet you still pant and puff going up the stairs, we can safely conclude you should shed some weight. Over the next some posts (not necessarily contiguous), I’ll write about the methods I know to lose weight. Let me begin with the easiest, simplest and one of the most effective natural ways. Even a slim person will experience better physical fitness by practicing it. Here it is:
Chew Your Food Well
Yes, that’s it. According to Ayurveda, ninety-five percent of diseases in the human body originate from the stomach and most of them can be avoided by chewing your food well. Even if you aren’t eating wholesome foods, as long as you thoroughly chew your food, you are bound to experience lightness and not lethargy after eating your food. The food will digest faster and you’ll lose weight too. What’s more, you’ll not gain back the lost kilos (unless you stopped chewing food properly again). Sounds unreal? Don’t just believe my words. Try and see it for yourself. Many who tried this method reported losing weight within a matter of weeks. The average period was six weeks. They all, without exceptions, told me that they were feeling fitter and more energetic than ever before.
When you chew your food well, it’s not just about easier digestion. Two far more significant things happen at the same time. First, you are more mindful of your eating and you tend to eat slower. As a result, your body and mind are in sync, your body processes and absorbs the food better even if it is not wholesome. Secondly, your saliva has potent biological molecules called enzymes. Enzymes act as catalysts to good digestion. The more you chew, the more you mix the food with your saliva. And, the more that happens, the greater the enzymes in each bite that lands in your stomach. If you were to melt a chocolate and drink it, you’ll feel heavier compared to eating it. It would take longer to digest. Why? Because by drinking it, you are putting it straight in your belly bypassing the enzymes in the saliva. The longer solid food stays in your stomach, the more fat you are likely to accumulate. But keeping your stomach empty for long periods or having large gaps in your meals is no good either. I’ll elaborate on this another time. For now, my focus is on chewing your food to lose weight.
The question is how many times should you chew, how do you know you’ve thoroughly chewed your food? There is no hard-and-fast rule but, on an average, chew each bite thirty-two times or count the number of teeth you have and chew as many times, or chew till the bite becomes almost liquid. In other words, no matter what, don’t eat fast. Don’t swallow, don’t gulp. Savor every bite. Why do you work hard? So you may eat and live well, right? How can then we ever justify rushing our meals? Don’t forget, you work so you may enjoy a square meal, a fuller life.
Eat slowly and chew your food well and you will start losing weight in practically no time. I reiterate, this method is not a substitute for physical exercise and wholesome diet. But, chewing your food will help you drop weight regardless. And no, the effort you put in chewing doesn’t count as exercise. I’ll cover the other ways of losing unhealthy weight in the near future.