Weight Gain & Ayurveda
What is the first image that comes to your mind when you hear the term weight management? A thicker body turning trimmed, yes?
In a world where lean and thin is the new fashion, it is not so surprising to see social media platforms being flooded with weight loss packages only. Is losing weight the only way to get fit? Is the underweight achieving the right weight not included in modern #fitnessgoals?
Weight management is a widely misunderstood word, even in this era. You can look up the internet and find several thousands of guides and tips for weight management- oh, but solely intended for weight loss. We know how people on the thicker side get brutally body shamed, a ‘custom’ that dates back to medieval times, or perhaps even before that. Unfortunately, it is true that being underweight is equally frowned upon in different societies. Be it a public gathering where you’re at your personal best or a terrific selfie that you post online, there will be people who make you feel bad about the skinnier dimensions of your body. While it is absolutely no business of yours, such negativity may still bruise your self-confidence.
Staying fit is not about leaning toward societal dictations, but staying loyal to your health. A fit body implies the right metabolism and thereby good health. If you have to gain a few pounds for that, you got to do it. But how- slurping up anything and everything that comes in a plate? Indulging in mindless, lazy routines that you’re not sure will work for you? Following unsolicited advice from random influencers and unauthorized fitness gurus? Just don’t. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to seek the things that actually might work for you. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ policy in this, so why don’t you give a chance to Ayurveda, the science of life that introduced the concept of prakriti– the uniqueness that makes you, you?
What does Ayurveda say about being underweight?
Let us analyze the physiology of an underweight body with a little help from Ayurveda. Ayurveda has this unique concept of Sapta dhatu, which tells us about the body’s metabolism involving 7 basic tissues. The ultimate health and a steady immune system are the end products of the proper dhatu nourishing cycle. If these dhatus are not fed up with their satiety, the body as a whole has to suffer the consequences. Therefore it is safe to say that being underweight is a symptom of improper dhatu nourishment. Also, talking in terms of doshas, Vata is the primary culprit in losing weight. The typical characteristics of vata such as lightness, roughness, and dryness can deplete your dhatus, leaving the body undernourished. So you might want to ask yourself – why has my vata increased?
Vata tends to get escalated quickly rather than the other two doshas. Too much reliance on fried and dried foods, moving around too much, doing excess physical activities, stressing over the littlest of things, etc can make your vata go up. If you intend to get to the right weight, balancing the vata and correcting the metabolism will do the work.
How to gain weight through Ayurveda?
In a nutshell,
1.Follow dinacharya, the Ayurvedic daily routine
2.Eat healthy and wholesome food
3.Relax the mind
4.Practice yoga daily
5.Fix the sleep-wake cycle
6.Practicing Panchakarma, the Ayurvedic mode of detox.
Getting into a healthy daily routine
Half the health problems will vanish if you’re on board with a healthy daily routine. You’re not fitting into it, but expanding yourself to fit into it.
Dinacharya, a set of Ayurvedic principles that are to be followed daily will help you set your routine goals. The Sanskrit word Dina’ means ‘day’ and ‘charya’ means ‘regimen’. Rewriting your lifestyle can positively redefine you, and the effects can go a long way.
It starts with rising early, an act that brings you freshness and positivity. It also gives you more time to focus on regular exercise or yoga. Waking up early in the morning can also reduce stress and anxiety levels. Practicing mindfulness just before you get out of bed will also help for the same. Evacuating your bowels on time, oil massage, bathing in lukewarm water, sleeping on time, etc are some other ways mentioned in dinacharya for reducing vata and reinstating the metabolism.
As mentioned before, indulging in a diet with fried and dried foods can trouble vata. As they are dry, light, and rough in nature, vata tends to increase when you depend too much on them. Incorporating vata-friendly food into your diet is the only solution there. The following can benefit:-
- Freshly cooked food served warm
- Minimize cold, carbonated, and frozen drinks
- Prefer oily food over dry
- Consume food that is sweet, sour, and salty in moderation as these three tastes can decrease vata.
- Sweet food- Include whole grains, fruits, nuts, ghee, milk, lean meat
- Sour food- Fruits like lemon, grapes, and pineapple. Cheese, gooseberry, etc.
- Reduce food materials that are bitter, spicy, and astringent.
- Keep hydrated.
Keeping mind relaxed
The mind is an integral part of the body. Whatever affects the mind, affects the body too. Modern-day living can be stressful in many aspects, we know. But the factors such as stress and anxiety can trigger the vata and their persistence may cause weight loss in some. You can practice daily at least 15 minutes of breathing exercises such as pranayama, which help you achieve a calm and relaxed mind. Also, they regulate Prana, the vital vata that sustains life.
Making Yoga a part of life
The origin of the sound yoga is from the root word ‘yuj’, which means union. The union of mind and body is essential to maintain health, and yoga can help you gain the same. The right kind of yogic postures can provide better metabolism, improved blood circulation and lymph drainage, kindled digestive fire, relief from bloating, proper bowel movement, etc, with fitness being an additional benefit. Asanas like Surya Namaskar are also vata- pacifying.
Anyway, avoid complicated postures or rigorous exercises as they will only help increase the vata. Practicing them slowly and gradually will do the job.
Fixing the sleep-wake cycle
Do you know the hours of sleep you get are directly linked to weight management? As the qualities of sleep are just opposite to that of vata, it is sure to curb the latter. A healthy amount of sleep is nourishing in nature and will act as a tonic to the body. Proper rest can unburden the body from its hectic, tiresome work schedule. Therefore, fixing an exact time to wake up and sleep would help you build a healthy metabolism.
Panchakarma, a set of 5 Ayurvedic therapies, is an excellent way of keeping dosha aggravation at bay. Procedures such as vasti help control vata and maintain the healthy doshik ratio of the body. In fact, undergoing panchakarma treatment under expert guidance will clear the bodily channels, remove toxic metabolites, and reduce unhealthy fat. This way, the food or medicine that you consume will be absorbed and assimilated more effectively, aiding natural weight gain.
Gaining weight is not equal to getting fat. It is about bestowing the body with the nourishment it deserves. Let your body find itself with a healthy lifestyle!
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