Weight Loss & Ayurveda
‘Mistake of The Intellect’ Is An Impetus of Disease
Ayurveda has a term called “pragyaparadh” that means “mistake of the intellect.” Pragyaparadh is believed to be the origin of almost all disease pathogenesis. It is our intellect, that motivates our decisions, and it is often those decisions responsible for our current state of health.
Pragyaparadh also describes a loss of memory. This can refer to our intellectual memory, but also the memory of our physical self. The cells “forget” their totality, wholeness, and interconnection with the rest of the body. In their independence, they crave things that will perpetuate suffering.
The Lifestyle Practices Facilitate Proper Intellect
Ayurveda, fundamentally, works to restore memory. It does this mainly through the lifestyle practices. These lifestyle practices are called “sadhanas.” Sadhanas differ from habits that become engrained into lifestyle (like getting a ritualized starbucks, etc), because they rouse inner awareness, and inner intelligence. The sadhana practices are our biggest healers. They teach us how WE are our best healers.
Loss Of Cellular Memory Contributes To Weight Gain
One of the biggest struggles we are collectively faced with today include issues around weight loss. There are many reasons for why a person may struggle with excess weight. Usually, there is some loss of cellular memory that has occurred. It could be an emotional trauma that the tissues struggle to let go of, or excess stress that causes a person to overeat. It could also be environmental toxins, or food intolerance that overwhelm the thyroid. Regardless, the strategy remains the same: implement practices that increase awareness and inner silence. Sadhanas specific for weight loss include daily meditation, eating seasonally, eating sattvically, and preparing foods at home. I don’t know of anyone who writes about them more beautifully then Mother Maya, especially in her new book: “Living Ahimsa Diet.”
Stress Leads To Emotional Eating
Emotional reasons can be powerful players in our body shape. A need for love, a craving for the “sweetness” of love, can make some people seek the sweet in their food. Stress, and the release of cortisol can make some people overweight, and others underweight. Stress can cause some to totally lose their appetites, while others cannot stop eating. It can be a release after a hard day to eat the things that are not good for us.
Our childhood memories can greatly influence our food habits. If we were raised on certain foods, as adults, we will often want these foods. Food can bring the mind comfort in times of stress, and eating familiar things from childhood can comfort us. If childhood was troubling, food could have been the stability of security and comfort. As adults, we may reach for these things because of the memory it created.
Blood Sugar Imbalance Impedes Weight Loss
Blood sugar and sugar addiction can seduce the mind into slavery under certain foods. Blood sugar struggles greatly inhibit weight loss. Blood sugar can keep us on a roller coaster of craving, and profoundly mimic several mood disorders. Spikes in blood sugar, adrenaline, and dips in blood sugar can cause mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and other confusing thoughts and emotions. The craving for sugary foods (breads, sweets, candy, etc) can be immensely powerful and difficult to curb. For those eating processed foods, blood sugar balancing always needs to be considered.
Excess Weight Can Be Part Of Our Identity
Excess weight can become part our identity. We can become identified by our imbalances. As difficult as it may be for someone who has become obese, it may be that is how she understands who she is. Letting the obese person go, can be a total metaphor for lost personality, and even feel like a death of self.
Excess Weight Is Most Associated With Kapha Imbalance
Ayurvedically excess weight can occur with all the doshic types. It is most associated with kapha, pitta and pitta/kapha types. Vatas can gain excess weight with thyroid disorders, blood sugar imbalances, and dry channels. If the srotas in the body become dry and constricted, they can obstruct the flow and cause excess. Vatas are more likely to lose their appetite under stress, however, some vatas can get very addicted to sugar. If pitta goes up, and agni is low, they will eat large amounts of food, very quickly, without mindfulness and gain weight. If kapha is high, they may get depressed, sedentary, crave sweets, eat more, and metabolism slows.
Identifying the root causes of the inability to lose weight is crucial to determining a course of healing.
Increasing awareness around food choices is imperative for many people who are trying to lose weight. Inspiration can come from knowledge and understanding. Meeting local farmers, going to weekend markets, starting a garden, or taking a cooking lesson, are all ways that help the body remember it’s connection to community, world and earth. The cellular remembrance, inspires the desire to want to eat a better way. When we want to do things, because it feels good, we are more likely to continue it for the long haul.
Obesity can be very difficult to overcome, even when threatened with losing quality of life, health, and relationship. Support is helpful to instigate the greatest chances of success.