Fasting in the Holy Month of Shravan? Read This!

Believers around the world observe Shravan by fasting once a week. Monday fasting is traditionally followed during Shravan. You may have heard your relatives and loved ones tell you all about the traditions; what is important though, is to do a fast that would not harm your health. It’s about time you knew the facts about your health care in the holy month of Shravan.

Fasting, from a health perspective

When you fast, from a health perspective, you abstain from solid food. Fasting in a healthy way allows you to drink water through day while abstaining from food. By abstaining from food, your body gets a break and enough energy to focus on removing toxic poisons from your body. Otherwise, your body is too busy just digesting what you eat. By eliminating toxins, your body feels lighter and healthier in every way. Monday is considered the worst day around the world, no? The beginning of work week, end of a weekend. During Shravan, Monday fasting is the norm. So, what how does this fasting once a week help your body?

5 Health Benefits to Fasting

If this your first time, it could be hard for you but give it a few more tries and you will see how easy it is to just go with your routine and fast on Mondays.

Stimulation of mind

When the negative ions from your body drop, it gives you a sense of mental clarity. When you fast that’s what your body is doing; it is busy flushing these negative ions out of your body. Hunger may humble you and you may think about the higher powers of God in your life and His creations.

Look Young and Beautiful

The negative ions are also responsible for increasing the aging process in your body; so more wrinkles, fine lines, more stress, and worry. Without these ions, your skin directly clears and you may find yourself beaming with a glow! Fasting is one of the best ways to lose the extra fat and calories from your body too.

Eat only when hungry

Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say. In the same way, when you stay away from food for a while, it can increase your appreciation for it. The same old dal and rice will taste even better and you will taste and enjoy every morsel after you’ve fasted for long hours. With regular fasting, you can even train yourself to eat only when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.

Less is more

The adage can’t be truer now with fasting. The more food you put into your body the more time it needs to positively process it. If it doesn’t have enough time, it will only focus on digestion, rather than repairing of tissues, regeneration of cells and things of that nature. When you fast at least once a week, your body gets that much-needed break to focus on other vital processes and duties for your health.

Important Points to Remember Before Fasting

Monday is a great day, specifically if you have been bingeing over the weekend, yes? However, for healthcare for Shravan or fasting any time, consider not bingeing on the earlier day. Keep it light to prepare your body for fasting the next day.

It is also important that you choose wholesome organic food to eat the day before the fast, so no samosas or fried food, but lots of fresh veggies, fruit, nuts, and sprouts should do it. If you are not a vegetarian that’s ok too. Just that eating meat during the night time may hamper digestion, so it’s better you stick to meat only during the day time.

While you are at it, stay away from caffeine or alcohol on the day before fasting. Help yourself with a lot of fluids to keep up your energy. Your water needs to be purified. Here are the many benefits of fasting and doing it the right way can give you:

  • Improved digestion
  • Instant detox
  • Weight loss
  • Improved circulation
  • Better skin and hair

If you find yourself too tempted to eat during the day, drink fruit juices that will keep you hydrated, satiated and energised. So remember, fasting just once a week is the best gift you can give to your body.

Food for Thought – All You MUST Know About Eating Disorders

Did you know? Eating disorder is a psychiatric condition and causes the most deaths, more than any other disorders. When you hear eating disorder, does a stick thin looking figure come to your mind? According to World Health Organization (WHO), the normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. However, those suffering from an eating disorder may be on either side of the spectrum, depending on which type of eating disorder they have.

Common Eating Disorders You must know

Anorexia Nervosa: If you imagine the stick thin figures here, then you are correct. A person with this eating disorder restricts intake of food to a large extent and appear underweight. You or your loved one may not even know you have it. This condition is rather common with women than men.

Bulimia Nervosa: You will know you or your loved one has it when they binge food, uncontrollably and then feel guilty about it. They compensate the binge, either with laxatives or by vomiting the food out of their systems. It may or may not be done every day but there are episodes of such behaviour.

Binge Eating: Similar to Bulimia, a person with binge eating disorder may not have control over how much food they eat at a go. The difference is no use of laxatives or vomit. People with this disorder are obese and also, at a serious risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.

Avoidant Disorder: This condition is more common in males than any other condition. Here, the food is restricted in the diet because of a previous negative experience, for instance, choking. This disorder may begin in early childhood and continue in later years too.

Pica: If you see a pregnant woman with weird cravings, it’s one thing. But it’s quite another to see a regular person or child crave for chalks, dirt or hair. This eating disorder is associated with consumption of non-food substances.

It’s Important to recognise the seriousness of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are life-threatening conditions causing malnutrition, organ failure, and even sudden death. However, being a psychiatric condition, 50 percent of eating disorder deaths are from suicide. This was a burgeoning part of the plot in the movie “Black Swan” – have you seen it? The prima ballerina has an overbearing mother with high expectations of her daughter. The lead actor is obsessed with her perception of self-esteem and attractiveness, and the athletic endeavour of ballet only spawns the eating disorder some more, leading the issue of perfection to {Spoiler alert!} her ultimate suicide.

The Substance Abuse and other Connections

The people with a substance abuse problem, i.e. alcohol or drugs, then they are 5 times more likely to have an eating disorder too. There are studies that indicate girls who develop an eating order in younger ages are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem later on in life. Gay or bisexual boys or men are more likely to develop these disorders too.

So, what are the other causes of this life-threatening physical and psychiatric condition? It’s not just the media and the body image issues, but there are many underlying causes that give birth to an eating disorder for all men, women, and children.

  • Genetics
  • Family distress
  • Sexual abuse
  • Pressure to lose or maintain weight
  • Athletic endeavours

Eating disorders and thought patterns

People coming from a distressed home; have faced the death of a loved one or domestic violence, bullying or a simple case of not fitting in after puberty, etc., are more likely to develop an eating disorder to have a sense of control over their lives. It can be a coping mechanism, to have that sense of control where no one else can decide for them.

An opposite thought pattern is one to excel. If you are a perfectionist then, restricting food in your diet is a source of achievement, you could say no to that chocolate cake, yes, but having an eating disorder can be the wrong marker for achievement.

If you talk to a person with an eating disorder or if you have one, then this is important to know. Your inner critic is dominant and will say things or make you think of things that make you feel not-so-good enough about yourself.

The underlying themes of self-worth

If you wish you could go about without thinking about food, then see a professional, a therapist who can help you cope with this issue. You can also keep a journal as a cathartic exercise or get on a distraction hobby to indulge in, every time you feel the need to binge eat or follow any other forms of eating disorders.

 

The Biggest Weight Loss Myths You Need to Stop Believing Today

We now live in such modern times that you can’t help but be obsessed with weight loss. It’s hard to avoid new and interesting notions because you would try anything to lose those extra kilos, no? Every day there is a new super diet or a super food, pills or green drinks that promise to help tackle your weight loss woes. If you want to stay fit and healthy while losing weight, then you need to stop believing these biggest weight loss myths right away.

Myth: Skipping meals is the best way to lose weight.

Many, many people skip their meals and think that this is the best way to lose weight. This is incorrect beyond your wildest measures. Starving not only makes you weak, but it also increases your cravings for high-calorie food.

Myth: Drinking many litres of water helps in weight loss.

Sometimes, it’s great to drink water instead of reaching for that bag of salty chips or sweet sugary processed biscuits. Drinking water to fill your stomach so you would eat less will again make you cranky, nutrient-poor, and crave for foods that are high-fat, high sugar. This is not so good for weight loss.

Myth: Exercise daily for an hour to lose weight.

Everyone has a different body. Some people think doing high-intensity exercises and eating less during the day will help them lose weight. This is not true. Truth is, you need to make up for all the times you are sitting down by moving your body in the day. Different workouts suit different people.

Myth: The more hours you do the workout, the more you’ll lose the weight.

No! Exercising too much will make you fatter. This is because the more calories you burn, the hungrier it makes you. There is exhaustion leading to hormonal exhaustion and that increases your body’s tendency to store fat.

Myth: I go to the gym so I can eat that.

When you go to the gym, the exercise and fitness routines help you justify the food you are already eating. If you think you can eat extra or eat “bad food” and then go to the gym, it will not make a difference. In fact, it will take you longer to lose those extra kilos you put on for letting yourself go last weekend.

Myth: Only white sugar is the bad sugar.

Whether it’s white sugar or brown sugar, all sugars have the same makeup source, that is glucose, fructose, sucrose or a combination. You need a little sugar which you can get from fruits or good food items like sweet yogurt which also has calcium and protein. So make sure you control the servings of pastries and soft drinks to reduce the intake of sugar.

Myth: Artificial sweeteners help weight loss.

You’ll find these in diet soda drinks, energy drinks, sugar-free chewing gum. Artificial sweeteners are loaded with fake sugars. These are addictive and that’s why you keep consuming these products. Artificial sweeteners disturb your metabolism, your appetite and cause weight gain.

Myth: I can pop “pills” or “drink this” to lose weight easily.

This is one of the most cynical myths, they are not safe for you at all. We are talking about the unlicensed, unpatented, unprescribed pills in the market. These products have harmful chemicals that are terrible for you. Consult a certified doctor before you indulge in quick-fixes as these.

Myth: Low-fat food is great for losing weight and keeping it off.

That low-fat food is heaped with sugar! When your body can’t process excess sugar, it stores it back in your body as fat. You need good fat, essential fatty acids, for example from dry fruits like almond, coconut oil, etc. for proper cell growth, glowing skin and even to lose excess weight!

Myth: Snacking between the meals is bad for you.

For your blood sugar to stay normal, you need food in your body every 3-4 hours. When the blood sugar is normal, you won’t get unwanted sugar or salt cravings. If your body thinks it’s deprived of sugar or salt to stabilize the blood sugar, then it will go into survival mode and make you reach for that cupcake or chips.

Myth: Eating certain foods will help me lose weight.

Some people believe eating chilies will help you lose weight. Although some calories are burnt while digesting chillies, the calories lost is very insignificant. If you want to improve your metabolism, it’s better for you to workout instead.

Myth: It is better to lose weight slowly.

Some people assume that if you lose weight quickly, you will gain it back at the same rate too. That’s why most keep away from programs that help you lose quickly. It is not entirely true if you loose that weight through a structured program and a good balance of food and exercise. Research shows that those who lose a lot of weight in a short time, reach their weight loss goals quickly and that motivates them to stay that way.

Myth: Don’t eat carbs after lunch.

Ideally, eating fewer carbs at night will reduce calorie intake and increase your metabolism which helps you lose weight. Avoiding carbs completely reduces your metabolism which will make it harder for you to lose weight. Weight loss is not about carbs, it’s about how active you are and how many calories you burn each day.

Why A Fad Diet Is the Worst Solution to Lose Weight

If you’re looking to lose weight, you know that your mind is generally open to all kinds of things so as to strike a chord with that one remedy that will work. “Have hot water, lemon and honey in the morning. Okay, I’ll do it.” “Avoid carbs in my diet? Okay, that can be done!” And while you’re in the midst of dreaming about that perfect body, one thing that is most tempting is that awesome diet which has worked for that celebrity from Hollywood. Fad diets promise you a lot of things which sound great for your body. The fact that it is a trend that celebrities follow makes you believe in its effects because the results are right in front of your eyes. But in reality, fad diets can be extremely harmful to your body. The weight loss is very momentary and your body will end up gaining more kilos once you stop following the diet.

Some of the popular fad diets are Cabbage Fruit Diet, 3 Day Diet, 5 Bite Diet, Liquid Diet. Low-Carb Diet, Low-Fat Diet and Zone Diet. Most of these diets work in terms of helping you shed kilos quickly but they have a lot of negative effects on your body too. Let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of the fad diets:

Hair and Muscle Loss
When you are depriving your body of the regular foods, what you are losing is muscle weight and not the fat on your body. The result? You have a body which makes you thinner and fitter on the outside but is very weak on the inside. The reduction of muscles in your body reduces your strength and lowers your energy levels. Lack of enough nutrients may also cause hair loss. Proteins make your hair stronger and shinier and the lack of it will lead to your hair to become scanty and weak.

Weight Gain
This is ironical because you have decided to follow the diet primarily to lose weight. While it does help during the days that you are following the diet, but the moment you decide to end the diet and get back to your normal routine, your body starts gaining weight. You may also weigh more than you were before the diet. This happens because you tend to consume more unhealthy food because of the restrictions you put on your body while you were on the diet.

Nutritional Deficiencies
Fad diets consist of very specific foods and hence tend to deprive your body of some of the vital proteins, vitamins and minerals it needs for normal functioning. The lack of nutrients affects your body in several ways. Your hair starts falling, skin looks pale, nails become brittle, and you may even start getting dark circles under your eyes.

Alteration in Metabolism:
When you have multiple normal meals during the day, your body is used to a particular pattern and acclimatises itself to it. It can adjust if you happen to skip a meal at times or happen to overeat at a particular occasion. But with the diet, your eating pattern suddenly changes and this has adverse effects on your metabolism. Thus, your body may not be able to digest food properly during the diet and the effects may also last after the diet.

Dehydration
A lot of diets compel you to survive on liquids that help you get rid of all the water weight in your body. This means that you are not exactly losing the fat in your body. Losing water weight is easy but the moment you start eating solid foods, your body will gain all the weight back. And that’s not all. This causes your body to get severely dehydrated leading to feelings of fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.

So what’s the best way to lose weight? You can go on a diet but ensure that it is designed to provide enough nutrition to your body. And exercise! Even a daily walk on half an hour or a quick swim in the pool will help and will give you far better effects than following a fad diet.

Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do

image courtesy: www.topnews.in
image courtesy: http://www.topnews.in

Obesity in children has become this ugly fact disguised as a cute trait among Indian families. It is defined as a 20% excess of calculated ideal weight for age, sex and height of a child. Obesity is visible when there is an excess of accumulated fat in the subcutaneous tissue (below the skin) and other parts of body. A study in 2010 found over 42 million overweight children below the age of 5, globally. A staggering 35 million of them are from urban areas of developing countries. What this means for school children across the globe: as good as 10% of them (between 5 and 17 years) are obese.

Obesity in India

Considering the traditional Indian diet was supposed to be balanced and nutritious, the situation in India has gotten even worse. Nearly 15-20% of children in India are obese and about 30% more are on the edge and are likely to fall into the obese category.

About 10% to 30% adolescents are obese in India. The most dangerous concern, according to this study, is that as many as 60% to 70% of these will remain overweight / obese even in their adulthood. If obesity runs into adulthood, it may result in diabetes and other cardiovascular issues. Continue reading Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do