Archive for February, 2012

How Yoga helps in losing weight

yoga-to-lose-weight

The ancient practice of yoga is beneficial to us on all levels- physical, mental and spiritual. Many agree that yoga improves the overall stamina of the body, reduces stress levels and hypertension, tones muscles and makes the body more flexible; but they find it hard to believe that with slow rhythmic postures one can achieve weight loss!
All yoga postures help in increasing the metabolism rate of the body organs and at the same time reduce stress and relax us. By practicing yoga, we can experience a relaxed and stress free form of exercise; though the number of calories burnt may not be as high as those with strenuous work outs or swimming, running etc
With yoga we can develop a positive mentality towards weight loss; it also improves our self confidence and more importantly for weight watchers-self control. We can develop a sense of well being and happiness that is important to motivate ourselves to shed extra weight.
When we stay in the yoga postures for several minutes (along with the resting period in between, which is just as important)muscles get toned and body builds strength. But this may not match up to a proper cardiovascular workout that is important for burning fat. More spirited or vigorous styles of can provide a better exercise. An even better option would be to combine yoga with some aerobic exercise like jogging. This will definitely show brilliant results.
The birth of yoga may date back to centuries, but it has been evolving according to changing times and our progressively sedentary life styles. New style of yoga is now taking birth which concentrates on weight loss and toning of the body. Athletic style of fast paced yoga is catching up now as a good replacement for working out in the gym. Deeper stretches are involved and every part is exercised evenly. Weight loss due to yoga takes more time when compared to other forms of exercise but the other benefits that come with yoga are one too many. Regularly practicing yoga after losing weight ensures that you don’t gain back the weight you have lost.
By choosing the right kind of yoga postures or asanas, weight loss can be successfully achieved. Some types of yoga asanas are more effective for weight loss. For example, doing Bikram hatha yoga on a regular basis (every 2-3 days at least), you can burn considerable number of calories. This type of yoga encompasses a cardiovascular and aerobic workout, which is a definite fat burning technique. The heart rate increases more in Bikram yoga as compared to other slower yoga asanas. Ashtanga yoga is another type of yoga that helps in losing weight. These poses might be slightly complicated but they help build a fit body and mind.
Yoga indirectly helps in weight loss too by making us more active and willing to take up more physical exercise. It also increases blood circulation and gives better immunity to the body. Due to its side effect free nature and over all benefit to the body, yoga is achieving the ‘favorite work out’ status amidst many weight watchers.

Benefits of Pranayama

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Apart from regular exercise and eating right, the state of one’s mind is quite crucial for weight loss. Pranayama is an ancient Indian practice that many people, world overattribute their health and fit body to. ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit means basic life force or energy and ‘Ayama’ means to control or regulate. Prananyamaessentially involves controlling the drift of life force within us through breathing techniques. Pranayama affects all spheres of life; it enhances both mental and physical well being. By following some simple principles and techniques, everyone can enjoy the many benefits that Pranayama has to offer. The simple concept of pranayama is thatfully oxygenated blood is taken to every cell in the body so that prana is carried everywhere.
Pranayama has been known to relievestress, depression and hypertension; the very evil factors that add to binge eating and which also make weight loss tough. With regular practice, Pranayama also gives us a sense of well being and a more positive outlook towards ourselves and the world around us. It is very important to believe that you are capable of losing weight and thisconfidence and enthusiasm becomes a part of us with pranayama.
Pranayama relaxes the body and mind so that you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, this way comfort food or high calorie food cravings will not occur frequently. It also improves digestion process so that nutrients are broken down better and body stays healthy and robust. Pranayama techniques help in augmenting the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which accounts for the amount of energy expended by us while at rest. Every aspect, like this one goes a long way in accelerating weight loss. The results are eventual and not drastic, which is always a healthier way to lose weight permanently.
Muscles and joints become less stiff with pranayama; it also thoroughly oxygenates every organ and muscle, increasing our capacity to exercise. What is even better is that with pranayama, the body seldom feels drained and fatigued after strenuous exercise, thereby allowing us to do even those last few crunches too without having to feel like it’s a herculean task.
The Pranayama postures and techniques help in purifying blood and flushing out toxins and wastes from the body. Skin starts to look so much clearer and the immune system gets strengthened too. With pranayama, a better control of our mind and body is handed over to us. You will start to feel light and agile; your hands will grab the healthy snack and not the oily, calorie loaded stuff. You will experience better rest while sleeping and better concentration while workingby practicing pranayama devotedly.
Patience and meticulous dedication are important for practices like Yoga and Pranayama because they don’t show results over night. Including pranayama in our regime is a holistic approach towards weight loss, because its benefits are manifold. It not only directly accelerates weigh loss due to its physiological and bio chemical influence, but also gives us the right attitude and motivation towards shedding those extra kilos.

Crash dieting versus sensible dieting

healthy weight loss

More often than not, quick fix solutions to problems have a very short life span. This holds dot on when it comes to dieting or weight loss as well. Many people succumb easily to the lure of crash diets that promise drastic results in just a couple of weeks or worse still, in mere days. Some crash diets like the Cabbage Soup diet, Detox diet or the Grapefruit diet caught on like a viral fad world over.
Crash diets involve deprivation and in some cases, even starvation.  Punishing your body that way is not how you should lose weight! Weight loss achieved due to crash diets is usually accompanied by stretch marks, exhaustion and hair loss amongst many other such side effects. From a scientific and biological point of view, crash diet culture is nothing more than a senseless and unhealthy practice. The body’s basal metabolic rate slows down drastically due to crash dieting or calorie deprivation. As no calorie intake is given to the body, it holds on to every calorie for self preservation. Some weight may be lost initially, but due to the body’s reluctance to burn off the calories, weight is regained immediately. This kind of rapid weight fluctuation can be very taxing on the body and its metabolism is likely to be disrupted.
Weight loss plans should involve changing eating habits over a considerable period of time. Not only what to eat, but when to eat as well should be kept in mind. Eating small frequent meals, drinking a lot of water, substituting oily and high calorie food with healthy alternatives, consciously keeping track of how much you eat etc. will help in losing weight gradually.
The weight that you lost by crash dieting will reappear in no time as you can’t be on a crash diet for extended periods of time. People on crash diets have frequent cravings for comfort food and the minute they go off the diet, they binge on everything and chances are, they will put on more weight than they have lost!
The best thing about sensible eating is that you are giving your body every nutrient it needs. You are going to feel great in addition to looking great. You will feel light, agile and rejuvenated as opposed to feeling weak, deprived and unloved (like most crash diets make you feel).
Sensible eating involves simply understanding when to stop eating and what not to put in your plate. Keeping in mind a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, amino acids, fiber, water, vitamins and minerals is the first step towards sensible weight loss. It is crucial that your diet plan should be in sync with your life style, work environment, stress levels and exercise routine.
Loving your body and treating it with respect is the core of sensible and healthy eating. It goes a long way in making a fitter, happier and healthier you. The ultimate goal of lasting weight loss can be achieved only by eating right amounts of fresh, healthy and nutritious food. Crash diets will do you more harm than you may realize but sensible eating can never go wrong.

Morning exercise versus evening exercise

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Exercise is obviously a sure shot way to lose weight. The thing about exercise is that, best results can be obtained only when it is done exactly as prescribed, at the correct time and under expert guidance. Many weight watchers often end up wondering why their efforts in the gym are not bearing fruit. This could be because of not taking any one or more of the above factors seriously.
The one question that surfaces often is -"What time is the best for exercise?" Strictly speaking, there is no hard and fast rule about which time is better. It depends largely on your individual work out regime, eating habits, schedules and inclination towards exercise. Many people will have an obvious preference owing to whether they feel more active in the morning or evening. A morning person by nature will enjoy exercising first thing in the morning, but some late risers may find the very thought scary! It is important to realize what our body wants and better weight loss can be achieved, be it in the morning or evening depending on when you think you can exercise better.
Keeping preferences aside, research says that our body has best endurance in late afternoons and also risk of injury is lower during that time.In the late afternoons around 4 PM, our body temperature is at its highest; and this is best for weight loss. Body has higher aerobic capacity and strength too at this time.
Morning exercise is also widely prescribed for many reasons. It is a well known fact that good exercise rests our body well later and therefore we can sleep better. But some believe that exercising late in the evening or night can do the opposite for you. Exercising in the morning has been known to enhance sleep; and this can be helpful in accelerating weight loss. 
By doing something at the same time every day we establish fixed rhythms or cycles for our body. People who regularly work out every morning are more successful in training their body to be prepared for exercise than those who work out in the evenings.After a long gap of no food, the body remains in a fasting mode for sometime in the morning. So the body will be utilizing fat for energy before we consume anything in the morning. Therefore by exercising in the morning, essentially fat is only getting burnt. In the evening, when the glycogen levels are higher in the body, glycogen burning will take place instead. Another benefit of working out in the morning is that our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which gets augmented in the morning due to exercise, will remain higher throughout the day. The added benefits are obviously that the day gets a high energy start and the morning enthusiasm in the gym gets carried into other activities of the day. Also, other day to day activities or recreational activities will not intrude into the work out time if it is in the morning.
Another way of looking at the whole morning exercise vs evening exercise debate is that some people feel exercising in the morning leaves them hungrier throughout the day while exercising in the evening decreases their appetite. At the end of the day, exercise at any time is extremely beneficial and of course crucial for weight loss.

How green tea helps in weight reduction

healthy green tea cup with tea leaves

Nowadays many quick fix solutions for obesity have been catching on. Some of them like herbal tea diets, no crab diets etc. get as much following as criticism. One thing that has gained most popularity is green tea. This is because green tea has myriad other advantages apart from their property of enhancing weight loss. Green tea originated in China and other parts of Asia but went on to gain widespread popularity in many parts of the world. Depending upon the climatic conditions and harvesting techniques specific to a place, different types of green tea can now be found. Green tea is made by steaming the leaves of a plant named Camellia Sinensis. Immediately after these leaves dry they are picked, this way the nutritional properties in them are retained.
The main components of green tea due to which it gets its beneficial traits are theophylin,theobromine andsaponins.Theophylline helps in muscle relaxation and improved breathing.Saponins increase immunity and reduce cholesterol. Several researches have been undertaken which proved the many health benefits of green tea. It is said to lower the risk of heart problems and cancer.
Green tea helps in weight loss as it stimulates fat oxidation and also augments metabolic rate of the body. It doesn’t show immediate results but eventually induces the fat burning. Green tea contains a nutrient called Epigallocatechine (EGCG) which boosts the noradrenalin hormone in the body. This results in enhanced fat metabolism and lowering of the appetite.
When compared to fruits, nuts and vegetables, green tea has higher amount of flavonoids, which possess anti-oxidative properties. One particular research done in Japan accurately quantifies the actual weight loss that can be achieved by drinking green tea. Suppose a person decides to take 4-5 cups of green tea a day, he/she would burn off 80 calories by the termogenesis process (Heat generation in living things). This contributes to about 500 calories being burnt in a week; which is actually not much for someone looking to lose weight.
By taking no other steps towards losing weight apart from adding these 4-5 cups of green tea to your diet, you would effectively lose 8 pounds in a year. This may not be a significant amount; but every calorie burnt counts.
Green tea completes a nutritious and balanced diet by giving that required boost to overall metabolism and increases body’s capacity to burn fat.For people unable or incapable of devoting the required time or energy to an exercise regime, green tea is an easy enough thing to add to their weight loss plan. It doesn’t have any side effects as it is totally natural. Apart from weight loss, it has other health benefits too like its anti-carcinogenic properties and ability to keep body temperature constant.
A perfect combination of regular exercise, sensible eating and green tea is a sure shot way to shed those extra kilos. One more thing about green tea is that it regulates blood sugar levels in the body, thereby controlling food cravings, which are ever so common for those on a strict diet.

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