If you’ve been trying to lose weight again and again, yet the scale just won’t budge. Don’t even mention all the gym sessions that make you even more hungry.
Why not try out some yoga?
But can yoga really help us to lose weight?
The answer is yes! Yoga may actually be a very effective way to help you to lose weight. You may also find the awareness you gained through yoga practice helps you with better self-control.
Plenty of studies have proven that yoga works in different ways to help you achieve a healthy weight as well.
Yoga Helps You Lose Weight in Different Ways
When it comes to losing weight, it’s not surprising that most of us think that the more intense the workout, the more calories we burn.
That is true.
On the other hand, yoga is a low-intensity workout and may not burn calories as much as running. So, how does yoga help us to lose weight?
The thing is, weight gain is caused by a combination of lifestyle patterns, stress, emotional eating, and poor sleep.
Fortunately, Yoga helps to overcome all of the above issues while also activating those unused muscles and toning your body.
Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
Research shows that individuals with higher stress tend to make poorer food choices. This can cause your brain and body to fall into a compulsive eating pattern over time.
For many people, compulsive eating is sort of like a coping mechanism that helps them to avoid underlying emotional issues such as depression, anxiety or stress.
One of the best ways to fight this is by practicing yoga.
When practicing yoga, you will learn to breathe deeply into your lungs and belly. Increasing numbers of research have shown that diaphragmatic breathing immediately triggers the reaction of body relaxation. The fastest way to calm your brain and body is to breathe slowly.
Yoga can also increase the brain’s hippocampus and parietal cortex regions. Just know that these are the parts of your brain that are responsible for regulating stress and controlling the ability to focus.
With a calm and relaxed mind, you will make better choices overall when it comes to diet, sleep, health and everything else.
Yoga and Mindful Eating
Researchers found out that regular yoga practice is connected with mindful eating, and individuals who eat attentively are less likely to be obese.
Yoga teaches you mindfulness – a skill that could affect eating behavior. People who ate mindfully are those who knew why they eat and stopped eating when full. Because of that, they weighed less than those who ate mindlessly.
If you eat in response to boredom, anxiety or depression but not hunger, you will be eating more than you should without even realizing it. Do you remember that time when you just keep eating while watching TV or scrolling through your phone? We’re all guilty of that!
Mindful eating is a form of awareness, and yoga teaches you far more awareness than any other physical activity due to the high level of focus involved.
When you’re in a state of awareness, it will be easier to make a decision between eating because it tastes good and not eating because you’re full.
Intense Workouts or Yoga?
If you aren’t a fit person or you don’t really work out, intense exercise may increase the level of cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) in your body.
Researchers discovered that people who are not as athletic to release more cortisol when subjected to various physical demanding activities, such as aerobics workouts.
Don’t get me wrong. Cortisol is actually good stuff. It helps your body to handle stress from emotional or physical strain.
However, a high cortisol level drives hunger and cravings for delicious junk foods. This will lead to weight gain or stop you from losing weight.
If you aren’t used to exercising a lot, exposing to an intense workout may send your cortisol levels up high.
To prevent this from happening, you can practice cortisol-reducing activities instead which is yoga!
Even if you’ve been slacking out for a long time, yoga is a much gentler workout that you can do without triggering the stress hormone. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of losing weight.
Yoga Helps Reduce Excess Sugar in your Blood
Your body produces insulin, a hormone that turns sugar from the food you eat into energy and supply them to your body.
Without enough insulin in your body, the sugar from diet will not be fully used, leaving some behind in your blood. Sugar is a carbohydrate, which will eventually turn into fat in the body.
So, you don’t want to have them around for too long, or else you will gain weight.
Research shows that yoga enhances the sensitivity of insulin. This means that your body will signal more insulins to be sent out to convert those sugar in your body.
Sugar and insulin resistance is often the cause of weight gain. A study conducted in 2011 states that people with type 2 diabetes did yoga for three months. The results are they had stabilized their blood sugar level and lost weight at the same time.
With those excess sugar gone, you will start losing weight.
Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight Over the Years
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2 in 3 adults are overweight or have obesity.
A research project consisting of 15,000 people (age range around 45 years old) was studied for over 10 years. It is found out that people who practice yoga for four or more years either maintained their weight or lost weight.
Overweight participants who started yoga has lost about 5 pounds on average over the years. However, those who didn’t gain 13.5 pounds on average over the years.
This shows that doing yoga can help you either maintain your weight or better, lose weight!
The Scale Won’t Budge?
Any style of yoga strengthens and tones the muscles which will help in sculpting your body.
Sometimes you may not see any weight loss on the scale, even though you were consistent with your yoga workouts.
Don’t worry. Muscles are denser and heavier than the same volume of fat tissue. It means that you can lose fat, look slimmer, and can still weigh the same because you had gained muscles!
Yoga also loosens the muscles that are tightened by inactivity and stress. Practicing yoga poses also improves the range of joint movement, improves flexibility, and can assist in correcting your posture that is resulted from weight gain.
Results Come From Consistent Yoga Practise
If doing crazy cardio workouts have not been helping you to lose weight, then why not give yoga a try. With all the evidence above, you might even find it more effective than other workouts.
It doesn’t require any equipment and ten to twenty minutes a day is all you need.
Just be consistent with your yoga workouts and the results will come naturally.
Last but not least, this may be irrelevant to losing weight, but yoga is also great for reconnecting with our bodies.
Weight gain can often cause harsh self-judgment. By practicing yoga poses, you foster a renewed sense of control over your body, a quality that might have been diminished due to weight gain.
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