Combating Obesity: An Ayurvedic Approach
Obesity is defined as an abnormally high level of body fat.
Overweight is defined as an excess of muscle, bone, fat, and water in the body (as seen in body builders and athletes).
Overweight individuals face greater health risks than normal weight individuals. They are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
Is fat required by our bodies?
A specific amount of body fat serves the following purposes:
1. Insulation against the elements.
2. Shock absorption.
3. Energy storage. Etc.
Ayurveda defines body fat’s functions as
“Medaha sneha swedaudhrudatwam pushtim asthyancha” (Medaha sneha swedaudhrudatwam pushtim asthyancha)
This means that under normal conditions, body fat keeps the body moist, stimulates sweating, provides energy to the body (via energy storage), and nourishes bones. (By insulating them against shock)
Women have a higher body fat percentage than men. Typically, fat accumulates around the hips in women, giving them a pear shape. It accumulates around the abdomen of men, giving them an apple shape. Obesity-related complications begin when fat accumulates around the waist.
Ayurveda describes the distribution of fat as follows.
Ata evodare vriddhihi prayo medaswino bhavet || Medastu sarvabhutaanamudarenvasthi thishtathi
In all living things, fat is deposited in and around the belly. Additionally, it is found in bone. As a result, when a person becomes obese, his stomach expands.
Additionally, the characteristics of an obese individual are described as
“Medo mamsa ativriddhatvaachalasphigudarastanaha” “Medo mamsa ativriddhatvaachalasphigudarastanaha”
Which means that an obese person’s hips, belly, and breasts sag and sagged parts flap as the person moves. A person who is obese will be inactive.
When an individual consumes more calories than he burns, the excess calories are stored as fat, resulting in obesity.
1. Genetic factors–Obesity is a trait that runs in families. If both parents are obese, the offspring will also have a tendency to gain weight. Even family diet and lifestyle habits contribute to obesity.
2. Environment. – A person’s eating habits and level of physical activity also contribute to excessive fat deposition. When a person consumes more calories and performs sedentary work, the calories consumed exceed the calories burned. Calories consumed in excess are stored as fat.
3. Psychological disorders.- There is a proclivity for overeating in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger. This ultimately results in obesity.
4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
5. Diseases and conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, depression, and certain neurological disorders all contribute to overeating, which results in fat accumulation.
6. Certain medications, such as steroids and certain antidepressants, can result in weight gain.
Ayurvedic causes of obesity
Ayurveda explains the causes of obesity in great detail. The following reasons, as mentioned in Ayurveda, contribute to fat deposition.
Avayamadivaaswapnashleshmalaaaharasevinaha | Madhuroannarasaha prayaha snehamedhovivardhati || Avayamadivaaswapnashleshmalaaaharasevinaha
According to Ayurveda, the following are the causes of obesity:
1. Avyayama : Absence of physical exertion
2. Divaswapna: Afternoon nap.
3. Shleshmala Ahara Vihara : Diet and lifestyle practices that aggravate Kapha
4. Madhura Annaha : Consumption of sugared foods.
Obesity-related health risks
Obesity results in the following complications.
1. Type-2 diabetes
2. Cardiovascular disease.
5. A Few Different Types of Cancer
7. Liver disorders
11. Women’s menstrual irregularities.
According to Ayurveda, obese individuals are more likely to develop the following diseases.
2. Problems with the kidneys.
4. Low libido.
5. Decreased energy levels.
6. Skin conditions.
9. Filariasis, etc.
Suggestions for Obesity Prevention
1. Determine the amount of weight that needs to be lost with the assistance of your physician.
2. Establish several short-term, attainable goals.
3. Reward yourself whenever you make progress (Not food items)
4. Even modest weight loss has been shown to be beneficial.
5. Modify eating habits gradually.
6. You will lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn. As a result, eating less and being more active aid in weight loss.
7. Healthy eating habits keep you from gaining weight.
8. Maintain a positive attitude toward weight loss.
9. Slow weight loss is the most safe and effective method. (about a pound to a pound and a half per week).
10. Gradual weight loss promotes long-term fat loss.
11. A person who is moderately active requires 33 calories per kilogram of body weight on a daily basis to maintain his weight.
12. Consuming 300 fewer calories per day and increasing physical activity by 200 calories per day results in a weekly weight loss of 400 grams.
13. To meet basic nutritional requirements, consume a variety of foods on a daily basis. Select from the five food groups: milk, meat, fruit, vegetables, and cereals. Balanced food plans encourage individuals to make informed food choices on a daily basis. This type of diet enables you to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
14. Allow for an occasional indulgence.
15. Evaluate your eating habits.
16. Make an effort to limit your intake of foods high in fat and sugar.
17. The most effective weight-loss programs emphasize both calorie and fat reduction.
1. Determine the type of physical activity that is most appropriate for your lifestyle.
2. Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, or swimming, is critical for long-term weight loss and health improvement.
3. For maximum benefit, health experts recommend exercising for 30 minutes or more on all seven days of the week. To be most effective, the exercises should be moderately vigorous but not exhausting.
4. Incorporate a few simple measures to effectively burn calories. For example, taking a walk after dinner, taking the stairs instead of the escalators or elevators, parking the car farther away to allow for a longer walk, and so forth.
5. Exercise also improves one’s sense of well-being, alleviates stress, and suppresses appetite in some people.
Ayurvedic Weight Loss Tips
Numerous ayurvedic tips for weight loss have been mentioned. The following ayurvedic tips will assist you in losing weight.
1. Excellent exercises. Exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, and playing outdoor games all contribute to weight loss.
2. Exertion of both physical and mental faculties. Physical exertion includes household chores, walking to distant locations to bring groceries, vegetables, and other items, walking long distances to pick up a child from school, walking to and from work, and climbing stairs. Exercising as much as possible helps you burn more calories. Mental exertion, such as worrying or assisting others in resolving problems, can also limit food consumption, thereby lowering calorie intake.
3. Frequent sex is also a form of physical exertion.
4. Honey consumption. This is recommended for patients who are not diabetic. Consuming two teaspoons of honey with a glass of herbal tea that contains weight-loss herbs aids significantly in weight loss. Together with these herbs, honey scrapes and dissolves the Kapha and medha doshas (body fat).
5. Sleeping for fewer hours. Avoiding afternoon naps helps to increase calorie burn. This prevents the basal metabolic rate from slowing.
6. Avoiding foods and beverages that aggravate kapha and medha. Sweets, sweetened beverages, large amounts of carbohydrates, and fatty foods are all foods that increase kapha and medha.
7. Consuming wheat products rather than rice products contributes to weight loss.
8. Using green gram and horse gram helps to balance the kapha and medha doshas.