Now that Spring has come round in New Zealand, us Kiwis are thinking about what we are going to do in Summer – don our light dresses, shirts and pants, go running in our shorts, spend time on the beach where we will be exposing our Summer Bodies!
We will be thinking of starting our juices and smoothies, eating salads and cottage cheese, going to the gym to “tone up.” We might even go on crash diets, and try to starve ourselves into shape.
We might even lose a few kilos in time for those beach days. But is this a healthy way to live?
Summer bodies are made all year round
You are the result of a lifetime of nutrition and lifestyle habits. Not only that, your body is a finely balanced system, where just a few milligrams of hormones can have great impact on how your body performs.
Trying to drastically change your diet, exercise and lifestyle routines may create some desired changes, but they also cause stress and imbalance. And the desired changes are usually only temporary!
Being healthy and having a beautiful, well-toned body is a lifestyle – this means that living consciously and healthily is something you do every day, all year round.
Why crash diets don’t work
Going on crash diets almost always can bring results if you are determined and persistent. The results are almost always temporary.
The body goes into “rebound,” and the kilos come piling back on the moment you stop your diet. Scientists discovered almost 40 years ago that when we starve ourselves, two things happen:
- The body converts more food into fat as a reserve of energy supply
- The moment you eat more again, the body piles on even more fat than before!
Not only that, crash diets are dangerous because they deprive the body of nutrients, especially to the brain and other essential areas. And they cause physical and emotional stress, which wreaks havoc on the body’s health.
Why the Ayurvedic way is the sensible way
The ancient Ayurvedic practitioners and sages observed all the above-mentioned effects. Of course, “Summer Bodies” were not so much in vogue in the past, and most people did more physical work anyway. But the Ayurvedics did notice that having a regular routine did help people become generally healthier. That is why they recommended Dinacharya (daily routine), a set of hygiene and lifestyle habits that contributed to good health.
Examples of Dinacharya are:
- Wake up between 4 and 6 am, and sleep between 9 and 11 pm.
- Eat your main meal at lunchtime, and eat lightly at dinnertime.
- Eat mainly cooked food for good digestion.
- Exercise moderately for your body type – not excessively.
- Use spices and herbs to aid digestion and maintain good health.
- Practise gratitude, prayer and meditation to manage stress and be positive.
- Keep good hygiene, brushing your teeth, bathing, and using fresh clothes.
- Oil and massage your self daily to maintain perfect skin and good circulation.
The Ayurvedics also proposed Ritucharya (seasonal routine), meaning that your diet and lifestyle should adjust to the season. This is why eating salads is not a good idea in Winter, and why warmth and massage are even more important in Autumn, and why changing your spices helps you stay cooler in Summer.
Can I have a Summer Body if I am big?
Ayurveda has for thousands of years recognised different body types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These body types have different structures. Therefore they can never look the same.
If you have a big body type, you can certainly have a Summer Body – but it won’t be like a lean, light Vata body type.
Within the last 100 years, we have come to worship the lean Vata body type, and come to believe this is the ideal all of us should achieve. This is a big mistake, and has caused a lot of suffering among girls and women.
Kapha body types are big and strong, and capable of endurance and fertility. The classic Ayurvedic texts say that Kapha people need to exercise strongly and work for long periods. This is because their body thrives on activity and stays healthy and toned that way!
Fortunately, nowadays fashion is recognising big bodies as also beautiful, and it is becoming OK to be big. So take heart, you Kapha types, follow the Ayurvedic recommendations – like eating light, warm, dry foods and exercising regularly – and you too can be healthy and beautiful.
How can I find out more about staying health all year round?
Ayurveda is a time-tested way of staying healthy all year round. You can find out more by reading books or finding good-quality websites.
Really, the best way is to talk to an Ayurvedic practitioner, who will assess your current health status, and who will work with you to create a daily and seasonal routine that keeps your body humming and happy.
And you will find that, gently and naturally, your body will become beautiful and healthy all year round. You will feel content and happy in yourself, and you will look after your health just as you would look after a child – in a loving way. Your worries about getting a Summer Body will be a thing of the past!
Contact Dr Priya Punjabi to get an assessment and health programme specifically tailored for you. Clinics in Auckland, New Zealand and Lakewood, California. Contact her now