When I buy I shirt I always choose slim fit. Not because it’s trendy but because it’s a more refined version than the regular one. The physique enhancing slimmer cut drapes down the body and outlines its shape. It is neither too loose nor too tight. Just right.
I feel the same way when it comes to keeping fit. Everyone has a unique structure and the optimal shape and weight is neither too skinny, nor too fat. Right in between. In other words “slim fit” How do we get there? How can we get to be slender and toned, supple and strong? Dieting? Or running on the treadmill every day? What is the secret to losing weight healthily and long-term?
The answer is simple: don’t rely on diets and exercise only. Change your life-style. Alter your diet and indulge in wholesome foods. Shift your mind form obsessive to grateful. Find the right combination of cardio, stretching and strengthening that will help you stay toned, limber and vital. Once the body boosts its overall vitality and you melt that belly fat and you naturally stop craving junk food. You feel the urge to snack with sunflower seeds and dine with salads. Then your fitness routine becomes more interval based and not so routine. You need variety to lose weight and regain your luster -physical, mental and emotional – because the body grows through change and experience. It is an integral being. A being that you need to nurture and nourish, to understand and tend to.
So, how do we tend to our bodies? Instead of imposing different diets and exercise programs upon ourselves and getting only short-term results, how can we come up with a well-rounded plan to perform optimally and look our best?
When it comes to losing weight, we try to eat less and exercise more. It works for a while. But if we stick to a low-fat diet we stress even more, the bodies starve, they produce stress hormones and boost the storage of fatty depots. Once we go off the diet the pounds are back and worse – they have doubled. We feel hungry, week and tired as our bodies attempt to conserve energy and our muscles are broken down for fuel. Low calorie and low-fat diets inhibit the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and cause natural deficiencies to develop.
Then we turn into exercise freaks doing cardio every day – thinking that sweating is the proof for weight-loss. When we train properly with weights and follow it with cardio and then stretching we burn fat weight and most importantly build muscle cells. Muscle cells in turn burn fat. Fat cells don’t burn anything. They only cause severe medical conditions. Also over-exercises boost the production of cortisol, which in turn triggers inflammation and make us crave carbohydrates while causing our bodies to accumulate fat.
Besides resorting to nutritionally dead diets we also tend to bathe in sunscreen. When we deprive the body from vitamin D we are eliminating the bone builder and regulator of fat and metabolism in the body. So when you get a chance, soak up the morning sun to help regulate the circadian rhythm and naturally bolster your metabolism.
The same applies to sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep triggers the production of cortisol and adds to your stress. It also causes levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry, to go up, and levels of leptin, a hormone that reduces appetite to go down. As a result you catch yourself eating more, your cells become less sensitive to insulin and your body stores fat like never before. So sleep tight and dream big!
Make sure you check your hormones, because in some cases the weight gain is due to a hormonal imbalance. Imbalances in levels of insulin, melatonin, thyroid hormone, cortisol, adrenaline, DHEA, estrogen, and/or testosterone can promote weight gain. In turn fat accumulation also promotes hormone imbalances. Because adipose cells convert testosterone to estrogen, excess body fat can raise estrogen levels in both men and women. Yoga is one of the best ways to rebalance the hormones as the poses promote glandular secretion, the breathing opens up the cells to recharge, and the meditation elicits the relaxation response. In turn you will regulate your endocrine system and eliminate stress – which is the number one factor in sabotaging your efforts to loose weight.
And be sure to check the labels of the foods you’re consuming, including medications and supplements. Some of them are packed with starch, lactose and gluten – all compounds that might cause irritation, swelling and even weight-gain. You think you are taking vital supplements and all of a sudden you end up ballooning without a cause.
Whether your weight gain is caused by internal factors like hormones and neurotransmitters or external factors like stress and chemicals in the environment. The only way to lose weight permanently is to reduce low-fat diets, sleep more, drink plenty of water, check the labels of the foods you are eating for harmful preservatives, get more sun exposure, do cardio and weight training and rebalance the hormones with weekly Yoga. So much to pay attention to! True. But if you go one step at a time and you start from the Yoga practice you will naturally find yourself picking the right foods, sleeping more and stressing less. Before you even know this would have become your life style. You would be in your healthiest shape. You will glow and infect others to tag along.
And next time you go and buy a shirt – you will choose the “slim fit”.
Weight Loss Yoga Routine: Slim Fit (open level)
This Yogea routine is designed like an interval training – alternating power flows that raise up the heart rate with isometric resistance training that burns fat cells and dynamic stretching that elongates ligaments and tendons. A fluid warm up fires up the arm and leg muscles while lubricating the joints. Standing poses couple with ingenious arm binds to open up the shoulders. Powerful weight-shifts from feet to hands, from arms to legs help build the internal musculature – toning and shaping the body. Reclining back bends massage the belly muscles and stimulate metabolism. Modified twists and hip openers rinse toxins out and jump-start all bodily systems. Supine poses alternate with abdominal toners to stretch and condition the side of the body and waist. Soothing forward bends cool the body’s temperature and calm the nervous system to balance the hormones. A rejuvenating relaxation takes you in a place of a healthy mind and good spirit and leaves your body purified and lighter.
Performed by our inspiring dance educator and choreographer Valentina Priolo.