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Tanman in collaboration with International Academy of Ayurveda

Obesity – An Ayurvedic Overview

Obesity has become a challenging condition to handle. It’s not limited to a bunch of adults only but it has started to affect kids making them more vulnerable physically and mentally. Obesity according to Ayurveda the Spiritual Science of Health is considered an ailment like any other disease. According to Ayurved, any disease is sheer imbalance of doshas (fundamental constituents of body) along with derangement of dhatus (bodily tissues). The healing according to Ayurveda is setting the equilibrium of all the body constituents.

For every disease there are some causative factors associated with it. These causative factors are nothing but our own lifestyle flaws or imperfections. All the bodily functions, conversion of food into vital body constituents is done by a kind of energy – called as Agni or digestive fire. It is the digestive capacity of every individual. Digestive fire or Agni inside the body needs to be nurtured in the best possible way and should be protected in every manner. This Agni is responsible for health and its alterations for afflictions. Along with intake of over nutritious food, over eating and lack of exercise there are some other causative factors that cannot be ignored. These factors play a vital role in obesity.

These are also the commonest mistakes done that create hindrance in the desired process of weight-loss.

  1. Consumption of Cold water and cold food
  2. Daytime nap (Siesta) OR waking up very late
  3. Lack of spices in diet
  4. Consumption of alcohol in excess

Cold water or cold food is a vital adversary of health. Cold foods create a kind of slowdown in our system that causes slow (diminished digestion and unhealthy metabolism at a subtle level). According to Ayurveda the Spiritual Science of Health, excessive cooling properties of ingested material always have an effect of lowering the Agni that acts as a precursor for almost every disease including Obesity. The prime action in Obesity needs to be staying away from Cold food or drinks. This includes ice cold shakes, drinks, raw food in excess etc. On the contrary warm / hot water has a stunning effect in Obesity. Regular intake of hot water (as per the thirst) certainly helps to reduce the fat in our body.

Ayurveda believes in the characteristics of food items; source of cultivation; qualities of food; and also their medicinal values. Every plant grown on earth has some medicinal values in it. It’s the role of humans to understand them and deploy at necessary places. Ayurved understands food according to their characteristics like light, heavy, hot, cold etc. These are the effects they impart to our body after digestion. Tastes also determine the effect of food e.g. sweet, sour and salty food causes increase in the bulk and so is not beneficial in obesity. The source of food and the processing done over it has a strong impact on the qualities of food. Grazing animals develop lightness in them due to their activity that makes their meat, milk lighter. Whereas animals kept in cramped places; refrained from movements; biologically and genetically hypertrophied etc. create a kind of pathogenesis on a subtle level that causes various imbalances and stagnation of kapha energy which is responsible for excessive fat accumulation.

Along with all these aspects of the food, the method of cooking and eating is also important. The heat treatment is essential for the digestion and metabolism of the food. The food should be warm or hot. The eating should be in proper amount i.e. half portion of stomach should be filled with solid food; a quarter for liquid and remaining portion should be left empty for facilitating the process of digestion.

As per the biological clock it is advisable to get up in the morning before the sunrise. Sleeping excess and waking up late in the morning increases kapha energy in our body, which is one of the factors for causing weight gain or obesity. Similarly taking a nap in daytime will have the same effect of Kapha increase. Spices like black pepper, dry ginger, piper longum, asafetida, turmeric etc have a good effect in reducing fat from the body. These spices are pungent and hot and may cause heating in body but when used in proper amounts, it helps to reduce the fat.

Alcohol consumption in excess has a malicious effect on the process of Fat Metabolism. It’s one of the main factors that are responsible for fat accumulation. Alcohol in excess reduces Oja / Ojas from the body. It is believed to be the essence of health and helps to keep mind and body in a perfect state of wellbeing. It needs to be protected by reducing alcohol intake and also by leading a controlled sexual life. Obesity creates a state of body that shows over nourishment of fat and under nourishment of other tissues in the body which makes it fragile and more vulnerable emotionally as well as physically. Such conditions graciously welcome various other ailments concerned with various organs of the body. Emotional breakdowns leading regular intake of antidepressants can be healed by understanding our own body pattern and by a strong determination to overcome that. Meditation is such a vital truth that helps to believe in ourselves in our determination and to control the emotional outbreaks.

Regular physical exercise is also a crucial link that builds us emotionally as well as physically. It’s less important what kind of exercise you do but how consistently you do it is very important. Yoga is a kind of exercise that helps to set equilibrium of various energies inside the body. Various Yogic postures and breathing exercises help emphatically in obesity and various other diseases. To get rid of Obesity and excess weight, one needs to develop a kind of patience and endurance with the thoughts and determination. Meditation, exercise and dietary changes together help achieve the goal of Comfortable Body and Mind.

Dr Mahesh Sabade
M.D. Ayurveda
Published in Tathastu magazine NJ, USA in 2010

1 Comment

  • Sachin Kulkarni Posted April 18, 2018 6:29 am

    Good article doctor…

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