With the holiday season in full bloom, most of us will have a hefty share of parties, dinner invitations and eating out. Feasts filled with scrumptious sweet and savoury delights have slowly make their way into our routine, and ‘to resist or to indulge ‘just this one time’ – is a decision we often grapple with. Often, it’s this very guilt-ridden emotion that goes and sits on our gut. Yes! Experiencing food-related guilt may actually sabotage your weight-loss efforts, according to the results of a new study. Researchers devised an experiment that involved asking about 300 study participants if eating chocolate cake would make them feel celebratory or guilt-ridden. And guess what – those who said that consuming cake would provoke guilt were less successful in losing pounds, while participants who viewed eating the cake as enjoyable were more successful. Delna Mistry Anand tells us how Yoga can help.
Bottom line: Feeling bad about yourself because you ate something indulgent doesn’t motivate you to get back on track with healthy eating habits. Instead, it weakens your willpower and dips down your morale. So it turns out that it’s much more productive to view treats as celebratory and not completely off-limits—even if you’re trying to lose weight. Now isn’t that something to celebrate?
So stop the guilt right away, and enjoy your meals to the fullest. In fact, if you enjoy each bite with mindfulness, you’ll know when to stop anyway. So eat mindfully and happily.
And to help you feel lighter post your meals, you can get down to a few stretches that help in digestion. Always warm up before stretching.
Stand straight. Separate your feet comfortably wide apart (about 31/2 to 4 feet).
Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees.
Now align the centre of your right heel with the centre of your arch of left foot.
Ensure that your feet are pressing the ground and the weight of your body is equally balanced on both the feet.
Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend your body to the right, downward from the hips, keeping the waist straight, allowing your left hand to come up in the air while your right hand comes down towards floor. Keep both arms in straight line.
Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the waist. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left palm.
Ascertain that your body is bent sideways and not backward or forward. Pelvis and chest are wide open.
Stretch maximum and be steady. Keep taking in long deep breaths. With each exhalation, relax the body more and more. Just be with the body and the breath.
As you inhale, come up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet.
Repeat the same on the other side.
Seated Forward Bend
Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping the spine erect and toes flexed toward you.
Breathing in, raise both arms above your head and stretch up.
Breathing out, bend forward from the hip joints, chin moving toward the toes. Keep the spine erect focusing on moving forwards towards the toes, rather than down towards the knees.
Place your hands on your legs, wherever they reach, without forcing. If you can, take hold of your toes and pull on them to help you go forward.
Come up slowly and gently.
Cat – Cow
Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged. Take a big deep inhale.
On the exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up towards your spine, really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin towards your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up towards the sky — without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the Cow portion of the pose.
Continue flowing back and forth from Cat Pose to Cow Pose, and connect your breath to each movement — inhale for Cow Pose and exhale on Cat Pose.
Repeat for at least 10 rounds, or until your spine is warmed up.
To begin, lie on your back.
Fold your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis, with knees and ankles in a straight line.
Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down.
Inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor; gently roll in the shoulders; touch the chest to the chin without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Feel your bottom firm up in this pose. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and to the floor.
If you wish, you could interlace the fingers and push the hands on the floor to lift the torso a little more up, or you could support your back with your palms.
Keep breathing easily.
Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose and hug your knees.
Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.
Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.
Then with an exhalation, push your top thighs back and stretch your heels onto or down toward the floor. Straighten your knees but be sure not to lock them. Firm the outer thighs and roll the upper thighs inward slightly. Narrow the front of the pelvis.
Firm the outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang.
Rest a few moments in shavasana.