We all have body issues. I was a 180lb 12 year old. As an adult, I struggled with accepting my Cuban curves.
Yoga has helped and continues to help me with my body issues by helping me change how I view and feed my body.
Many students start practicing yoga in order to lose weight and they do. Part of their success is the exercise, but the true key is the mindfulness that yoga gives you. Use your newly calm and centered yoga mind to reflect on the following:
#1 Your Body Image
Most of us have a very distorted view of what we look like because of the constant media messages that program you to think you are not ok as you are. Calculate your BMI or Body Mass Index. It’s not a perfect tool, but will give you an idea of your current state of health. You don’t need to look like a supermodel. It’s not sustainable or healthy.
If you have a healthy BMI, but don’t feel energized, simply observe your diet and start adding more energizing vs. processed foods and observe the changes. Focus less on how you look and more on how you feel.
#2 The Root of Your Hunger
If your BMI is not currently in the healthy zone, choose today to be your starting point towards being more mindful of your eating habits. Next time you are about to reach for a bite to eat, ask yourself if you are really hungry or if there is something else going on. Are you nervous about something? Bored? Angry?
If you are eating for any other reason than the need for energy in your body, stop, take a few slow deep breaths and drink a glass of water. You can also journal about how you feel in these moments. Giving yourself these time outs before eating will help you be more mindful about why and how much you eat.
#3 Your Food Choices
Most yogis practice ahimsa or non-violence so they do not eat animal products. This may or may not be right for your body. Healthier food choices should be explored. Dairy and wheat products have been linked to bloating and easy weight gain. Refined sugar causes spikes in your energy and mood swings. Meat is linked to many health risks.
Test taking out one of these food categories for a week and journal how it affects your body and your mind. Testing one at a time will help you isolate how each food is affecting you and therefore tailor a food plan that is right for you.
Use the mindfulness and self-control you practice in yoga to kick-start a healthier way of feeding and viewing your body.