YOGA - TO FEED YOUR BODY AND SOUL
How do I control the amount of food I eat? Yoga has helped me develop mindfulness, thereby making me more aware of the things I do which includes a greater consciousness towards what and how much I eat.
My dad’s always been strict about food and exercise. We’ve had a ‘no sodas, no processed foods policy’ at home
He’d wake me up at 5 am every day, I remember rubbing my eyes and stepping out of my room half asleep, reluctantly doing Anulom-vilom, Kapalbhati and then falling asleep on the yoga mat (that was my idea of Shavasana back then). An otherwise active kid, I did create some great eating habits, thanks to my parents, but I never got the point of yoga, till I moved to Delhi.
3months, 15kgs, Hypothyroidism. It took me sometime to wrap my head around it but then I soon decided to not let things be the way they were.
I joined the college gym and got back to eating healthy. Things soon got back to normal. Few years into gyming and the fast-paced life of Delhi, I wanted something to keep me grounded and centered. I started developing an interest in Yoga. I believed it could help me create the much-needed balance. I started practicing at home but wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. I then joined the Sivananda Yoga school to do my course. I didn’t know what to expect from this course. When I walked in and introduced myself, my teacher asked me why I wanted to practice Yoga- I’d like to live the slow life, I blabbered.
Cut to today, it has been quite a journey and I am glad I decided to practice yoga
(Hate to admit but on days when I am tired, I still pass out during Shavasana). One aspect of my life that yoga has taken to another level is my relationship with food. I love Indian food is and yoga has made this love a lot stronger. Both my love for Indian meals and the way I eat have been the topics of lunch table discussions on a lot of occasions- How can you like dal chawal? How do you get full with so little?
I’ve grown up eating Indian meals and I love them, there is no other way to explain this. Keeping the cravings in check is another story and we’ll keep that for some other time. But then how do I control the amount of food I eat? I personally owe it to the habits I developed while growing up and to my Yoga practice. The latter has helped me develop mindfulness, thereby making me more aware of the things I do- the way I treat myself and others, what I chose to do with my time and energy, and a greater consciousness towards what and how much I eat.
Now I am no one to decide how much and how often one should eat because everybody’s body and food requirements are different. You and only you can decide how much your body needs.
Let’s take the example of something you really enjoy eating. In my case it’d be cakes. When I am eating a cake, I am not eating with the intention of feeling full or nourishing my body. Neither am I eating because I am hungry, but I am treating my craving (while also being conscious of the fact that it’s unhealthy) and might lose track of how much I’ve had. I might not give my body a chance to realize that I’ve had enough and need to stop. This coupled with distractions like Netflix might further divert my attention.
If you feel that you do not have control over your portion sizes and end up overeating often, you can practice the following:
- Start eating with minimum distractions, at least once a day. No Netflix, TV, Phone or internet.
- Have a glass of water before you start.
- Put your spoon down after every bite and chew chew chew and chew some more. Pick up the spoon again once you finish your bite.
- Start with a smaller serving of what you’d generally have. Finish and see if you are still hungry. Then get yourself some more.
- Sit cross-legged (If possible).
- Practice Yoga- you can start with simple deep breathing exercises.
Could it get any simpler?!
Practicing yoga and developing mindfulness will stop you from reaching out for that packet of biscuits at 4 pm and then chips at 6 pm. You will find yourself making more conscious food decisions. Once you start listening to your body’s needs and feed it accordingly, your food habits will change drastically.