What do you want to do with your body?
Body weight, body shape and body fitness are primarily three different things. They may be linked secondarily, for instance as you lose or gain weight your body shape changes but in dealing with the issues we need to think clearly.
Get out of confusion, get clarity.
What to you want to do?
There are three different things that one would want to get right of one’s body (actually there are many things one wants but read on to get context).
The right weight – if you want to lose weight you must eat less; if you want to put on weight you must eat more. (Does not apply to people with specific medical conditions)
The right body shape – you need to get to the gym
The right ‘fitness’ - you need to do some dynamic exercise (like aerobics or running).
Ideally our body needs a mix of these, with the proportions dependent on personal needs.
Get out of the confusion
Very often people confuse between these things and get it wrong. To lose weight people go to the gym while maintaining the same food intake. This will only shape your muscles with the shape of those muscles never being revealed to due overlying body fat.
To lose weight people start running (without addressing the food issue) this will make you fit, your stamina will increase, you will be able to do more without getting tired but it is important to remember that people who look or are actually overweight can be fit.
To put on weight people go to the gym – without eating the right stuff. To get ‘fit’ people start eating less or different without dynamic/aerobic exercises, you may be able to fit into a dress but that is different from ‘fitness’
So be clear on what you want to achieve.
Increase weight – eat more
Decrease weight – eat less
No Change in weight – continue eating as you are
Get into a better body shape (abs, chest, biceps, etc) go to gym for weights, crunches, push-ups, sit-ups etc. Eat different (more protein). However, your new/different/better body shape may not be visible if you have a weight problem, especially an overweight problem. You may not want a different shape to your body, you may just want to get ‘fit’ – see next.
Get ‘fit’ (the ability to do more, faster, without getting too tired) – aerobic exercise, running, jogging, swimming, very vigorous dancing, cardio, etc. You may already be ‘fit’ or you may not want to get fitter than you are, you may just want to get a better/different body shape – see above go to the gym or eat less or more.
To do one thing and expect the results of the other is not going to happen. Often you will need to combine all three to suit your personal requirement.
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Where does Yoga sit in all this?
Yoga is for the mind – anything it does to the body is either through the mind or a side effect or for us to reach our mind through our body. Yes, you can achieve all the three by yoga as well but for that your teacher must be superior and your own levels of mental and physical discipline must be outstanding; of course it will take longer (perhaps it will be more sustained).
These are personal thoughts. This is not professional advice on weight, fitness etc. Consult dieticians, personal trainers, yoga instructors or other trained people according to your requirements.