Obesity or being overweight is a condition characterized by excessive storage of fat in the body. When the body’s calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories burned, it leads to the storage of excess calories in the form of body fat. Increased body fat puts a person at risk for many critical conditions such as heart disease, liver damage, diabetes, arthritis and kidney problems.
Excessive weight gain is caused when people consume more calories than the body needs—occurring most commonly due to eating a diet high in fat and calories, being sedentary, or both. This imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned, however, can also be caused by a number of different obesity-related factors such as genetic, hormonal, behavioral, environmental and, to some extent, cultural. There are many other factors causing obesity such as pregnancy, tumors as well as endocrine disorders and medications that include psychotic drugs, estrogens, corticosteroids and insulin.
- Increased body fat
- Breathlessness on exertion
- Excessive sweating with bad odor
In Ayurveda, obesity is known as Medarog, which is caused by the aggravation of Kapha. Kapha is an Ayurvedic humor which is dense, heavy, slow, sticky, wet and cold in nature. It governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body apart from controlling weight and formation of all the seven tissues – nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues.
In a balanced state, Kapha gives nourishment to these tissues through various micro channels. However, when it is aggravated, Kapha leads to production of toxins in the body. These toxins are heavy and dense in nature and accumulate in weaker channels of the body, causing their blockage. In the case of an obese person, toxins accumulate in Medovahi Srotas (fat channels), thereby leading to an increase in the production of fat tissue (Meda Dhatu). When the body produces more fat tissues, it causes an increase in weight.
The Ayurvedic line of treatment for obesity begins with the pacification of Kapha Dosha. This can be done by eliminating Kapha-aggravating foods from the diet. Next, the treatment also focuses on cleansing of the Medovahi channels through cleansing herbs so that excess weight can be reduced.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Avoid high carbohydrates like polished rice and potato.
- Avoid oily and fried foods, processed foods, fatty foods like butter, purified butter, cheese, whole-milk yogurt, cream, chocolate, etc.
- Have more bitter vegetables like bitter gourd and the bitter variety of drumsticks
- Replace refined flour with whole-wheat flour and rice with brown rice or parboiled rice
- Increase intake of fruits, salads and vegetables.
It is very important to engage in daily exercise in the form of walking, jogging, swimming or any other physical activity that is not competitive. Try to take a walk in the morning and again in the early evening, working up to 30 minutes or more each time. Increase physical activity by doing more physical chores during the day.
Yoga and Pranayam: Naukachalanasan and Kapalbhati Pranayam.
Some Home Remedies
- Take 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon each of lime juice and honey and a pinch of black pepper. Have this on an empty stomach twice a day.
- Mix powdered long pepper, black pepper and dried ginger root in equal quantities. Have ½ teaspoon of this twice a day with lukewarm water.
- Boil 7-8 mint leaves in 1 cup of water for 20-30 minutes, and let it cool. Add 1 teaspoon honey to and a pinch of black pepper to the cooled mint water. Have this 2-3 times a day.