January 26, 2019 by Sonia Ribas

As you know, I could be talking for days on end about the amazing benefits of yoga. Weight management is one of them: I truly think yoga can be an amazing tool to lose and manage weight, helping you build muscle, increase your heart rate and burn fat (read article “Can Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?”). But then, why do some regular yoga practitioners struggle to lose weight?

Weight management requires a very delicate balance of many factors: diet, exercise, hormones, sleep, stress, emotions, toxins and more.

“If you’re practicing yoga or another form of exercise regularly and still struggling to lose weight, take a look at some of your lifestyle factors”

If you exercise regularly…

Exercise has countless health benefits and definitely boosts metabolism, but it can make you extremely hungry and lead you to overeat. This is the reason why studies show that, for the sake of weight loss, it’s more effective to restrict calories than to increase exercise. I am not suggesting you should stop exercising, but make sure you eat mindfully, slowly and consciously.

If you’re vegan…

I love plant-base diets but you need to be extra mindful with a couple of things:

  • Be careful with your sugar spikes. Vegan diets tend to rely more on carbs as a fuel source and may involve high blood sugar spikes. Excess sugar in your blood will be stored in your cells as fat (see next point for more).
  • Ensure you get enough protein. Whilst I do think you can get enough protein from plants, you should always strive for a macronutrient balance: proteins, carbs and fats should be balanced in your meals. Take plenty of greens, beans, nuts and other protein-rich plant-based foods daily.

If you think you’re having healthy desserts…

There’s a huge hype around raw desserts made with pure cacao and superfoods. They are dangerous as, behind the “healthy” label, these desserts and snacks have TONS of sugar. Honey is 71% sugar!

If you live on fruit juices and smoothies…

I love the vitamins and minerals of raw, cold-pressed juices and freshly made smoothies, but I invite you to be careful with the combinations. If you’re trying to lose weight, up the green content and reduce the fruit content, choosing low glycemic fruits such as berries, apples or pears. Also, add some fat to your juices (chia seeds, hemp seeds and coconut oil are my favorites) to optimize the vitamin and mineral absorption, and tons of greens to up your fiber content.

If you’re dehydrated…

Sometimes we think we’re hungry, but it turns out we are thirsty instead. So, before you eat your snack or meal, take a full glass of water and see how you feel. Still hungry? Go ahead and eat, mindfully and slowly.

If you’re having “low fat” processed foods…

This might come as a big surprise, but I urge you to stay away from “low fat” labels: they often have lots of sugar and unhealthy chemicals that disrupt your hormonal balance and body functions.

If you use toxic cleaning ingredients or plastic food containers…

Toxins are huge hormone disruptors. If you want to lose weight (and optimize your health), you need your environment to be as clean as possible: avoid harsh chemicals and plastic food containers (BPA is one of the biggest offenders).

If you sleep less than 7 hours per night…

Our bodies need at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to restore, rebalance, detox and rejuvenate. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormonal balance: studies show that when people don’t get enough sleep they have increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.

If you’re stressed…

While eating perfectly and exercising regularly, many of us still struggle to lose weight because of our stress levels. This is because stress is a major disruptor to lots of body functions, including hormonal balance. Also, when we are stressed we’re likely to binge and use food as a comforter… have you ever eaten a whole pint of ice cream to make you feel better about something that’s worrying you? Take a few minutes per day to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Sometimes, the easiest way to lose weight is to swap your yoga sessions for meditation ones (check our meditation videos for inspiration).

If you’re struggling to lose weight despite your regular yoga practice, take a moment to analyze your body and lifestyle; are you stressed, dehydrated, sleep deprived, eat too much “hidden” sugar or are exposed to toxic substances? If any of those answers is “yes”, start there. If you’re still uncomfortable with your weight, find me at @soniaribascoach and we’ll chat.

Happy slimming down!

Sonia Ribas

Sonia Ribas

Sonia is a health coach, yoga teacher, prenatal specialist and a mother of 3. Learn more about Sonia by visiting her website and Instagram account.