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Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss For Men Over 40

Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss For Men Over 40

Let’s face it. The older we get, the more difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight. Not only do our bodies change over time, but many of us tend to not eat as healthy as we should, and we are not nearly as active as we should be. Once you hit 40, if you aren’t already living a healthy lifestyle and you find yourself needing to lose weight, it is time to start making some serious lifestyle changes. Here, we will talk about the various ways that men over 40 can get back into shape and stay in shape.

No More Fad Diets

One of the worst things you can do is try fad diets — they don’t work! Sure, you may lose a few pounds quickly, but once you go off the diet and go back to your normal way of eating, that weight is going to come right back, and those pounds will likely bring a few friends along for the ride. Not only are these diets not going to help you lose weight and keep it off, they are often very unhealthy. For instance, one diet may be so restrictive in calories that you won’t have enough calories daily to keep you healthy. Other diets leave out certain important nutrients. You will end up feeling tired, irritable, and hungry, and that is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

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Eat Healthy Instead Of Dieting

If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, the trick is to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet that is rich in all of the nutrients our bodies need in order to stay healthy. Make sure that you are eating a healthy breakfast every day, because it really is the most important meal of the day. You need to have plenty of protein in your diet, as well as other nutrients. If you are unsure about how you should be eating, speak to your physician or a nutritionist to help get you on the right track. This type of “dieting” has led to plenty of success stories, such as James Barbour, who managed to lose almost 35 pounds in 60 days with no exercise and keep it off through the 3X Fat Loss program.

Be Careful With Comfort Foods

Many of us love to eat a lot of unhealthy things because they are comfort foods. Pamela Wartian Smith, M.D. and co-director of the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s master’s program in medical sciences, states that, “When you eat things to which you’re sensitive or intolerant, you get an increase of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, so you literally get a high.” In addition to this, the comfort foods you eat could cause many issues that lead to problems with weight loss, including water retention and inflammation.

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Don’t Skimp On Sleep

When we were kids, naps seemed like punishment. As we age, we start to see the importance of sleep and just how much it can do for our bodies and minds. There may have been a time when you could party all night and work all day, but that probably isn’t the case these days. The older you get, the more important sleep is. Even if you lose one hour of sleep a night for three nights, your appetite can be affected, and your body won’t tell you that it is full. When you are getting plenty of good sleep, it can actually help to encourage fat-burning. So, it really is time to start taking sleep a lot more seriously, and don’t feel guilty for sleeping in on the weekends. You, and your body, deserve it.

Be Careful When Eating Out

We all love to eat out once in a while, and we tend to use eating out as an excuse to not eat healthy. Even the unhealthiest of take-out places have some healthy options, and more restaurants are adding these options all the time because of the demand for healthy foods. For example, instead of getting a donut with your morning coffee, get yourself a healthy piece of fruit. Many of the breakfast fares offered at restaurants have more fat (which can actually be good depending on the kind of fat), sugar, and calories than a candy bar, so you have to be careful. Don’t stop at breakfast either. No matter what meal you are eating at a restaurant, check to see if there are healthier options that you can enjoy and not regret later.

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Start Taking Walks

You can eat healthy until the cows come home, but you aren’t going to notice huge weight loss results unless you are combining exercise with a healthy diet. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours at the gym every day, but it does mean that you need to get moving more, and that starts with walking. To burn enough calories to lose weight, you need to walk at 3 miles per hour, and it is recommended that we all take 10,000 steps per day.

On the flip side of this coin, it is important that you stop sitting around. The more you sit, the greater your chances are of developing a number of health issues, including Type 2 diabetes. If your job requires you to sit for eight hours a day or longer, you need to find ways to get up and move around — for the sake of your health and your weight. Ask your employer about bringing in one of those new stand-up desks, which raise and lower so you have the option to stand up once in a while and still be able to do your work. However, remember that excessive exercise can actually lead to massive inflammation.

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Get Motivated

Finally, the last thing we are going to talk about is motivation. This can be the most difficult part of any weight loss or health plan. After all, junk food tastes so good, and laying around the house seems a lot easier than getting out and exercising. If this sounds like you, then you need something to get you motivated. There are all kinds of things that you can do to get out of this rut. Get out and play with the kids. Get involved in a local team. Find ways to make living healthy seem a lot more enticing than laying around and eating junk food all the time. You can do it, and your life will be better for it.

Featured photo credit: SplitShire via splitshire.com

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Jane Hurst

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Published on January 17, 2020

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

What is Yoga?

Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

Let’s see how to do that:

Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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  1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
  2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
  3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
  4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
  5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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  1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
  2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
  3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
  4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

The stillness and the watching within.

Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

More About Yoga

Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
[2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
[3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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