Like the fountain of youth, the magic pill that guarantees a perfect body without hard work has yet to be invented. Crash dieting is a misguided approach and has fleeting results. Cleanses certainly have their place in a healthy lifestyle, but for weight control and weight loss? As yoda would say, up this tree bark not.
Losing weight rapidly almost always leaves you the same size (or bigger) in the end. Kathleen Rafaat, a sports nutrition counselor at La Jolla Sports Club explains, “Cleansing diets make you feel lighter due to water and waste elimination, but do not change your fat to muscle ratio, which is the key to an efficient metabolism. When you lose weight rapidly, your body becomes more efficient at using less energy which means burning less calories. This can create future weight problems as you age.” I did the master cleanse a few years ago after I finished breastfeeding my son thinking it would help me lose the extra baby weight. After living on a mixture of water, lemon, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for 10 days, I was far thinner than I was even before I got pregnant. According to MasterCleanseSecrets.com, some of the many benefits are cleansing the kidneys and the digestive system, purifying the glands and cells throughout the entire body, and building a healthy blood stream. Weight loss is not the goal. It felt amazing to have my body back, but it didn’t last. I gained most of the weight back within a few months and was shown once again that my wise and beautiful mother is always right – moderation is the only way to a hot body.
Slimming down and staying that way requires a daily commitment. Exercise is important, but what you eat and how much you eat is what will help you achieve and maintain the body you desire. This is not an homage to the “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” philosophy. This is more about fitting into your favorite jeans with no muffin top, regardless of what size they are. Tahirih Linz from Salmonberry Consulting weighs in on on the best way to eat: “Strive for meals that are two-thirds veggies (a sprinkling of fruit), one-third plant-based protein (beans, tofu, nuts/seeds) and whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet). Top it off with healthy, plant-based fats (avocado, olives, oils). Do this 80 percent of the time and you’re golden. Allow yourself the luxurious freedom of following your heart’s desire the other 20 percent of the time.”
Have one cup of coffee or a glass of wine, instead of two. Enjoy the things that you love, but savor them rather than devour them. Eating with moderation does not mean you can’t enjoy the things you love. It just means to be mindful of your consumption. Dr. Shira Oretzky, a licensed clinical psychologist, who specializes in working with athletes says, “Eating mindfully by paying attention to what and how we eat, helps us to create a healthy relationship, not only with our food, but also with our bodies and with ourselves. Slowing down and increasing awareness of what we eat, drink, and consume overall is an opportunity to become more connected. It brings us back into balance. It also gives us more control over all choices in general, and allows us to make decisions that support our well being.” Exercising self control actually feels good. It builds self-esteem and increases confidence, which will shine through in every move you make.
What does any of this have to do with yoga? The movement and breath-work that yoga requires feels best when the diet is light and clean. If your daily yoga is at the top of your priority list, you will think twice before you choose foods that leave you feeling heavy and lethargic. Our yoga practice promotes a state of balance. Living a moderate lifestyle is a reflection of this balance. Let yourself indulge once in a while, but for the most part, be mindful of what and how much you consume. Just like yoga increases awareness of our bodies, mindful eating increases awareness of our food. It brings consciousness to the choices we are making in our lives and leads us to decisions that support our path to being our best selves (and best of all to fit into our skinny jeans!)
Visit the goodHealth section of the blog for nutritious, great tasting recipes.
Try our Athlete’s Workout to help tone the body, burn fat, and keep you centered:
Photo: Danny Juare
Makeup: Crystal Bautista