Health & You: Can relaxation help in weight loss?

Rajshree VoraUpdated: Saturday, March 19, 2022, 08:18 AM IST
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It sounds confusing but it’s true. We carry more weight on our minds than we carry on our bodies. And, that weight of mind makes us stressed. To manage that stress, the body needs to release stress hormones in response to stress. According to Harvard University, chronic stress can lead to obesity. Stress is one of the factors that contribute to obesity.

According to popular concepts, weight loss is all about workouts and calorie burning. This is not true in all cases. This can be a part of the truth but not the whole truth. Many people exercise regularly. They follow the diet given by their dietitians. But after a certain point of time, they don’t lose more than a few kilos. Every person experiences a plateau at some point. But, that plateau becomes permanent sometimes. Out of frustration, they tend to eat more and give up on physical activities. There is a special dialogue used by frustrated people: “Nahi khate toh bhi nahi utarata, toh khao aur khush raho”

Stress plays a big role in various health problems along with obesity. The word, destress, is very popular. But, destressing is a temporary solution. You need proper training on how to take stressors and how to respond to them. This can decide the level of impact of stress on your overall health.

Relaxing techniques of yoga therapy can help lose weight as well. Relaxing daily, intentionally, for around an hour helps a lot to reduce stress levels, which further helps in balancing hormones. This is when weight loss becomes easy.

Metabolism is a very important factor in weight loss. It is very tricky and needs to be handled with care. If you over-exercise, your body will lower your metabolism. Same way, if you are on a vigorous diet that involves starving, that will make the body lower your metabolism again. So, start slowly and then increase the intensity.

Yoga is the only physical activity that involves both the body and mind. All other physical activities are focused only on the body. There is nothing for the mind. But when you perform yoga or yoga therapy, in both these concepts, the mind is involved. When I say relaxing yoga; the mind, and the body is intentionally relaxing, so deep relaxation takes place which improves the health of joints and muscles.

Any physical activity alone will not be sufficient for weight loss. A combination of physical activities and the right diet is very important. Nowadays, people jump on any trending diet bandwagon or follow random morning WhatsApp forwards related to health tips and weight loss tips. But these tips cater to a general audience, it may be suitable for you and maybe not. For eg; When people draft messages for Methi or Ajwain, they will list out all the diseases starting from gas problems, weight loss, to digestion, and cancer. If you notice one thing in the whole list, there is no supporting evidence that is linked to all of these symptoms or cures. So, be careful before you start any trial. Make sure it serves your personal health-related problems, as opposed to a common health problem.

(The author is an obesity consultant, dietitian & nutritionist, Sujok therapist, counsellor & yoga therapist)

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