You don’t need to be a believer to make it work.
So you’re looking in the mirror and the person looking back at you isn’t quite… erm… Hrithik Roshan. You know you must lose a few kilos but there’s always a reason to put it away. It’s summer, you’re too hot and bothered anyway and you get dehydrated even without lifting a finger. We get it. So how shall the twain needs of being comfortable and being slimmer, meet? Here are a few ideas for losing weight that are easy on you. Remember, we only need to give the body a chance to work in its natural unhindered way, with food and activity that it was designed for. Peak health and weight loss will follow naturally
1. Eat mindfully
Remember the time when you were distracted from your Facebook feed because your pack of chips suddenly and mysteriously went empty? And that other time when the tub of ice cream emptied itself during that TV show marathon? We’ve all been there. According to a study published in Gastroenterology Journal, distracted eating is the number one reason we overeat, absorb less nutrition, and feel hungry sooner. The simplest thing to do is to turn off all screens and put away all books when you’re eating. The moment you focus your entire attention on food, you will discover that you automatically eat less and won’t feel hungry as often.
2. Walking meditation
You probably don’t walk to work, but you can utilize that short walk to the car to ward off fatigue, cravings and stress. The first method, called walking meditation, is when you focus your gaze lightly about three feet ahead of you as you walk. The challenge is that the focal point is continually changing, always three feet ahead of you. Pulling this off creates stillness. The other trick, useful for very short walks, may be called listening meditation. Our brain naturally filters out 90 per cent sensory stimulation. Force your mind to hear every single sound around you, whether loud, soft, close or far, all at once, not by turns. This quickly short circuits the ‘monkey mind’ and you get a moment of total calm.
They say you can’t be what you can’t see. So soon after waking up, visualise a healthier, fitter you. This is just the beginning. Next see yourself making healthy changes like taking the stairs, eating lots of fruits, sipping green tea, being outdoors… you know the drill. Finally, make sure that in your visualization you are happy, not sorely sulking at these beneficial changes. When you start the day this way, healthy changes become spontaneous and easy.
4. NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
Rrsearch shows thin people are more fidgety than heavier ones. This is where Abhishek Bachhan got it so right, in his ‘walk and talk’ ad. NEAT is all the calories we burn when not exercising. How does one burn more calories without exercise? Pace when thinking of a creative way to wriggle out of tomorrow’s deadline. Walk when pondering life’s mysteries, or planning the weekend party. You’ll lose some weight and look attractively enigmatic too.
5. Talk to friends
While you are out of your cubicle or room getting the benefits of NEAT, talk to people you care about. Deep relationships and emotional support leads to fewer cravings and binge sessions. Often we eat not because we are hungry but because we are bored, lonely or unsure of what to do next. Lean on family and friends so that food is not the sole go-to when you want to feel warm, fuzzy or loved.
6. Shop differently
You know that we are genetically programmed to love sweet, fatty foods and loathe effort, reasons of survival and all. But now researchers at Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University are telling us we also eat with our eyes. Meaning you are far likelier to eat that chocolate if it looks sinful and is within hand’s reach. For losing weight, this means buying fresh produce. Always have a healthy snacks within an arm’s reach. Leave the chips in the shop. The joy of sloth will keep you from cheating.
I would recommend going to the disco if I was sure you would go to dance not to chase down chips with drinks. But if you can’t resist the booze, turn on your favorite track when you go back home and just dance like no one’s looking. Belting out the lyrics also counts as ‘pranayam’! Music also has a capacity to relax us deeply. Think John Denver’s country roads or Ali Haider and ‘purani jeans’. Music can help you turn off your perpetual stress response, if only for half an hour. This puts you in parasympathetic arousal that is linked to improved metabolism, digestion and mood.
8. Deep muscle relaxation
Did you know your brain works harder while you are asleep than awake? No, this is not about the mindless jobs your boss hands you. For better health, immunity, growth and assimilation of nutrition, it is essential to get restful sleep at night. By alternately tensing and relaxing your muscles in a proper sequence, you will create deep muscle relaxation that will help you sleep better. As you lie down in bed, start by curling your toes and holding them for just a moment. Then release the tension. Next, press your knee into the mattress. Feel the tension and then let it relax. Keep your body relaxed throughout this exercise. Here is the sequence to follow: toes, knees, buttocks, abdomen, chest, shoulders and hand (fists). For the face, frown hard and then relax your forehead completely. Clench your teeth and then relax the jaw till your lips are only lightly touching. Now your body is in deep relaxation. You can also use this to relax your body at will during tense situations in the day.