Can yoga really help you lose weight fast? It sure can! Let me dive into the details of how and why!
You’re trying to lose weight, again. This time, you’ve promised to commit fully.
You don’t leave your treadmill. The harder the better, right?
Your weight doesn’t move. Plus, your intense workouts leave you feeling hungry.
You think you’re doing well. You’re counting calories, eating healthy foods and constantly raising your heart rate to the max.
You’re sure you’re burning more calories than you eat, but you’re not losing weight.
Most weight loss exercise programs involve burning more calories than you take in.
I’ve been there! I started running in college and ran almost every day for 3 years straight. My knees still remember it.
Everyone always said that running was the best way to lose weight, right? And it made sense to me because I was completely exhausted afterwards!
I never really felt like I had found “my thing”! That was until I tried yoga. I started by accident to try to alleviate my back problems and have never let it go since.
I had always completely overlooked it as far as weight loss was concerned, and thought it was just a series of light stretches and heavy breathing.
Well, I was wrong.
Yoga creates changes in your brain cells, your lifestyle habits and your hormones. It can help you lose weight like no other exercise program
Yoga Calms You
Read also: How to practice sleep yoga?
You probably know that yoga is relaxing. So when you’re trying to lose weight, do you skip yoga for a more exciting workout?
It’s not surprising that you feel more winded, the more calories you burn (remember what I said about running earlier?). But it’s not necessarily the caloric expenditure of yoga that helps you lose weight.
The stress-relieving characteristics of yoga are what can help you lose weight.
Yoga enlarges areas of your brain called the hippocampus and parietal cortex. The hippocampus is responsible for stress regulation and the parietal cortex controls your ability to focus.
Research consistently shows that people who are more stressed tend to have poorer eating habits. Over time, this can lead your brain and body to engage in compulsive behavior, including compulsive eating.
Your stress hormone, cortisol, can wreak havoc on your body in terms of eating, sleep patterns, skin health and your overall health. All of these elements are interconnected when it comes to living a healthy and productive life.
Yoga Encourages Mindful Eating
Researchers have found that people who eat mindfully weigh less than those who consume their calories unconsciously.
What exactly does this mean? Well, you know how you can overeat in the car, while watching TV or looking at your smartphone? (We’re all guilty of that, let’s be honest!)
This will likely hinder your weight loss efforts.
When you eat mindfully, you take in nutrients based on your body’s signals. You eat when you’re hungry – as opposed to when you feel sad, bored or anxious – and you stop eating when you’re full, not just when your plate is empty.
Mindful eating also involves:
- An awareness of the taste, texture and smell of food.
- Focusing on the act of eating instead of other activities or stimuli.
- Eating in response to internal rather than external cues.
Yoga encourages a mind-body connection in other ways. When you hold a challenging pose, you focus on it in a calm, non-judgmental way.
I’ve actually noticed this much more recently, I’ve really increased my flexibility with yoga. When I touch my toes, my eyes are now almost on my shins…
It’s a pretty strange feeling to think, “Wow, I’ve never seen this part of my body so close…”
Maybe I’m weird, but you get my point. Yoga teaches you much more awareness of your body than any other physical exercise because of the level of concentration involved.
It teaches you to be observant and accepting in difficult situations. This translates into mindful eating when you have to choose to eat because it’s right, even though you know it may not be appropriate or good for you.
Mindful eating encourages people to have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies.
Too Much Training Can Increase Stress Hormones
If you push your body to its limits every day without giving it time to rest, you activate the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Researchers have found that people who are not very athletic to begin with, released more cortisol when exposed to multiple physical and mental stresses, such as an aerobics class, compared to more athletic individuals.
Cortisol isn’t all bad; in fact, it helps your body deal with stress caused by exercise, emotional or physical stress.
However, according to muscle science expert Jerry Brainum, cortisol can promote the release of myostatin, a compound that damages muscle fibers. This compound can also promote the storage of fat in the body, especially around the abdomen.
People who are not used to getting a lot of exercise may not benefit from starting a new workout routine. The new workout could send their cortisol levels straight into the wall.
Yoga is a gentler way to move your body while reducing cortisol levels, whether you are a beginner or not.
Yoga Helps Reduce Your Sugar Cravings
Studies show that yoga helps improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is like the key that allows your body to use the sugar in the food you eat.
If your body is resistant to insulin, it doesn’t get the energy it needs and the extra sugar stays in your blood.
This can lead to a host of health problems, including weight gain. According to research, when you do yoga, your body responds more effectively to insulin.
Yoga Can Help Stabilize Blood Sugar
Sugar and insulin resistance is often responsible for weight gain. According to a 2011 study, people with type 2 diabetes lost weight and stabilized their blood sugar by doing yoga for three months.
People in the control group, who did not practice yoga, saw their weight and body mass index increase.
Yoga Helps Maintain Ideal Weight
One of the best-known studies on yoga and weight loss found that it prevented people in their 50s from gaining weight and helped overweight people lose weight. The study was conducted on more than 15,000 people in their 50s.
Overweight people who practiced yoga once a week for four years or more lost an average of 10 pounds.
Do you know what happened to people who didn’t do yoga? They gained an average of about 20 pounds.
People who started practicing with an ideal weight are more likely to maintain it by doing yoga.
Do Yoga Consistently For Continued Weight Loss
As long as you continue the practice of yoga, the results seem to stick. However, your unhealthy lifestyle habits may return if you stop practicing.
One of the best things about yoga is that it is easy to adopt as an exercise routine. Even if you only have ten minutes a day, you can follow a yoga routine on your smartphone or laptop.
You don’t need any special equipment or clothing, and you can do it at home in the comfort of your own home.
Many people who practice yoga regularly claim to feel like they’re missing out if they don’t take the time to practice their session daily.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight with a crazy cardio routine and nothing is moving, try doing yoga. It seems counterintuitive to do something more relaxing to lose more weight, but the evidence shows otherwise.
Read also: How to do morning meditation?
If you enjoyed this article on how yoga can help you lose weight fast or if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!