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Combating obesity with Ayurveda

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Dr Sarah Edwards MD
PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS Dr. Sarah served as Clinical Assistant Professor and Visiting Professor University of the West er specialties include Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, and anxiety Medicine. ABOUT DR. SARAHEDWARDS Dr. Sarah Edwards is a Locum Tenens physician. He received her medical degree from the University of the West School of Medicine, and completed her specialty training at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, and at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He has been trained in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine, and Anxiety Medicine. In addition, he was also trained in Thoracic Transplantation Medicine and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Dr. Edwards has special interest in Integrative Medicine, especially non-pharmacologic treatment of Sleep Disorders. CERTIFICATIONS Dr. Sarah Edwards is Board Certified in the following: Internal Medicine Child Diseases Critical Medicine He is also a Diplomate of The American Board of Anxiety Medicine. EDUCATION Postgraduate: University of Nevada School of Medicine Residency: Internal Medicine Medical College of Georgia Fellowship: Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, Anxiety Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Fellowship: Thoracic Transplantation Medicine Medical school: American University of West Virginia School of Medicine Degree: Doctor of Medicine Graduate: University of the West Degree: Master of Business Administration Undergraduate: University of the West Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology

Definition of Obesity

An excess amount of body fat is Obesity

The excess weight of muscles, bone, fat, and water in the body (like bodybuilders and athletes) is Overweight this article will give you tips about Combating obesity with Ayurveda

Over weighted persons are at an increased health risk than normal persons. They are more prone to chronic diseases like heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and a few types of cancers.

Is fat necessary for our body?

A certain amount of body fat does the following function
1. Heat insulation.
2. Absorption of shock.
3. Storage of energy. Etc.

Ayurveda describes the functions of body fat as

“Maha Sneha swedaudhrudatwam pushtim asthyancha”

This means in normal conditions the body fat keeps the body moisturized, causes sweating, gives energy to the body (by storing energy) and nourishes bones. (By protecting them from shock)

Management of fat

Females have more body fat than a male. In women usually, the fat accumulates around hips giving them a pear shape. In men, it accumulates around belly giving them an apple shape. The obesity-related problems start when fat accumulates around the waist.

In Ayurveda, the distribution of fat is described as follows.

Medastu sarvabhutaanamudarenvasthi thishtathi |
Ata evodare vriddhihi prayer medaswino bhavet

Fat gets deposited in and around the belly in all living beings. It is also present in bone. Hence when a person becomes obese his stomach bulges out.
And also the characters of an obese person are described as

“Medo mamsa ativriddhatvaachalasphigudarastanaha”

Which means the hips, belly, and breasts of an obese person sag and sagged parts flap as that person moves. An obese person will not be active.

Causes of Overweight

When a person consumes more calories than he burns then the excess calories get stored in the form of fat causing obesity.
1. Genetic factors

Obesity tends to run in families. If parents are fat then the offspring also show a tendency to accumulate fat. Even the diet and lifestyle habits that are practiced in the family also contribute to obesity.

2. Environment.

A person’s eating habits and the level of physical activities a person has also contribute to excess deposition of fat. When a person eats food containing more calories and has a sedentary work then the calories consumed are more than calories burnt. The excess amount of calories are stored as fat.

3. Psychological disturbances.

There is a tendency to overeat in response to negative emotions like boredom, sadness or anger. This leads to obesity.
4. Binge eating disorder.
5. Diseases and conditions like Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, Depression, and certain neurological problems lead to overeating which in turn leads to the accumulation of fat.
6. Medicines such as steroids and some antidepressants may cause weight gain.

Causes of obesity according to Ayurveda

The causes of obesity are very clearly explained in Ayurveda. The following reasons are mentioned in Ayurveda-increase the deposition of fat.

Avayamadivaaswapnashleshmalaaaharasevinaha |
Madhuroannarasaha, pray haha snehamedhovivardhati ||

According to Ayurveda, the causes of obesity are defined as:

1. Avyayama: Not exerting physically
2. Divaswapna: Sleeping in the afternoon.
3. Shleshmala Ahara Vihara: The diet and lifestyles which increase Kapha
4. Madhura Annaha: Consuming sweetened foods.

Health risks due to Obesity

Obesity leads to the following problems.
1. Type-2 diabetes
2. Heart disease.
3. High Blood pressure.
4. Stroke
5. Few types of Cancers
6. Gallstones
7. Liver diseases
8. Osteoarthritis.
9. Gout
10. Infertility
11. Irregular menstruation in women.

According to Ayurveda, obese persons are more prone to the following diseases.

1. Diabetes.
2. Kidney related problems.
3. Hepatitis.
4. Low libido.
5. Low energy levels.
6. Skin problems.
7. Fistula
8. Piles.
9. Filariasis. etc

Tips to Reduce Obesity

1. Determine with the help of your physician how much weight has to be reduced.
2. Set several short term realistic goals.
3. Reward yourself each time you make progress (Not food items)
4. Even small weight losses have shown to be beneficial.
5. Make gradual changes in eating habits.
6. You will lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. Hence eating less and being more active helps in losing weight.
7. Sound eating habits keep you out of putting on weight.
8. Stay motivated to lose weight.
9. Slow weight loss is the safest and most effective. ( one to one and a half-pound per week).
10. Gradual weight loss, promote long-term loss of body fat.
11. A person who is moderately active needs daily, 33 calories per kg of body weight to maintain his weight.
12. Reducing calories intake by 300 per day and increasing the physical activity to burn 200 calories per day results in a weight loss of 400 Gms per week.
13. To satisfy basic nutritional needs eat a variety of foods every day. Choose from each of the five food groups milk, meat, fruit, vegetable, and cereals. Balanced food plans encourage making wise choices about everyday food choices. This type of diet helps to stay at your proper weight for life.
14. Allow for an occasional treat.
15. Evaluate your eating pattern.
16. Try to cut down on foods high in fats and sugar.
17. Most successful weight – loss plans stress on reduction in both calories and the amount of fat eaten
Physical activity:
1. Determine the type of physical activity that suits your lifestyle.
2. Regular aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jogging or swimming, is a key factor in achieving permanent weight loss and improving health.
3. Health experts recommend exercising 30 minutes or more on all, days of the week for maximum benefits. The exercises should be moderately vigorous to be most effective but not exhausting.
4. Incorporate few simple measures to burn calories effectively. Like- taking an after-dinner walk, using stairs instead of escalators or elevators, parking the car farther away to have a long walk, etc.
5. Exercises also improve the sense of well-being, decreases stress and decreases appetite in some.

Ayurvedic tips to reduce Obesity

Numerous tips to reduce obesity have been mentioned in Ayurveda. The following ayurvedic tips help you to reduce obesity.

1. Very good exercise.

Exercises like brisk walking, jogging, playing outdoor games, etc help to reduce weight.

2. Physical and mental exertion.

Exerting physically like doing household works, walking to distant places to bring groceries, vegetables, etc, walking long distances to bring the child back from school, walking to working place, climbing stairs, etc are types of physical exertion.

3. Exerting physically as much as you can help to burn more calories.

Mental exertion like worrying or involving in finding solutions to problems also restricts food consumption in some thereby reduces the intake of calories.

3. Having sex frequently is also a good physical exertion.

4. Consumption of honey.

This is advisable for nondiabetic patients. Consuming 2 teaspoons of honey with a glass of herbal tea which includes weight reducing herbs helps a lot in weight reduction. Honey along with these herbs scrapes and dissolves the Kapha and medha (body fat).

5. Sleeping for fewer hours.

Avoiding sleeping in the afternoons help to increase the burning of calories. This avoids the slowing of basal metabolic rate.

6. Avoiding the food and beverages which increase Kapha and Medha.

The foods which increase Kapha and medha are sweets, sweetened drinks, large quantities of carbohydrates and oily food.
Consuming wheat products than rice products help to reduce obesity.
Using Green gram and horse gram help in the reduction of Kapha and Medha.

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