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Comprehensive Guide to Obesity and Weight Management : Causes, Types, Prevention, and Ayurvedic Treatment




Tackling Obesity–This is the Weight to Go


“How  can I  lose weight?”–a toughest   question in this present world.


We live in a worlds filled with too  much luxury and opulence more than what we need .We never realize ,the more  we experience a luxurious life ,the more we travel into a sedentary life .Due to this both our personal and professional life has become too much stressful .Obesity  has become a major concern over the past few decades due to the above said reasons.


Pandemic and work from home situations has really worsened our health to a great extend that we are failing to maintain  our health, wellness and life. WHO declared it as a global epidemic disorder. Worldwide atleast 2.8million die every year due to over weight. It is  the root cause for many other aliments like diabetes, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver, osteo arthritis, sleep apnoea and other conditions which may lead to death.In women it is one of the main reasons for PCOD and infertility.


Ayurveda, as in Vedic literature, looks at obesity as a result of an imbalance in one’s life caused by lifestyle and dietary choices that affect the digestive and metabolic systems

But Ayurveda believes in prevention first, therefore Ayurveda advises innumerable ways to keep oneself healthy and well.


Ayurveda also advises various therapies and medications to cure obesity and become healthy as well. Charaka has described obesity as a disease of the fat tissue (MedorogaPeople with obesity require comprehensive support and understanding to navigate the challenges of weight loss maintenance. leading to sthoulyam.

“Karsyameva varam sthaulyath”. The famous quote from AshtangaHridaya means that being lean  is better than being obese. Sthaulya (obesity) is one among the 8 “nindya rogas” (diseases), making it a critical target for obesity treatment. which has a difficult prognosis and which is difficult to treat.


According to  Ayurveda Sthoulya is a Kapha pradhanajaMedopradoshaja Vyadhi which can be counted as Santarpanajanya Vyadhi(disease caused due to affected anabolism).

 

Symptoms:

§  Kshudraswasa – difficulty in breathing even on slight exertion, a condition often exacerbated by overweight and obesity.

§  Trshna – thirst

§  Moha – delusion

§  Excessive hunger

§   Sudden catching of breath

§  Bad smell of body

§  Poor physical and sexual activities gradually develops.

 

Causes:

Ahara: 

Atiasana – intake of more madhura. Amla rasa ahara and kapha  aggravating foods.

Adhyasana – intake of food before the previous meal is digested.

Vihara: 

Avyayama – lack of exercise

 Diwaswapna – Sleeping during day time

And other Psychological aspects like achinta, asoka etc.

Genetics, endocrine disorders, medical reasons, or psychiatric illness can influence the development of health conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity.


Samprapthi

These above factors increases kapha and it  makes the vipaka to be a Madhura (abnormal) which in turn causes increase of medas(fat) which obstructs the nutrient channels of remaining tissue depriving them of nutrition. So only fat accumulates in large quantities in body making the person incapable of all activities.

§  The International classification of BMI is a crucial measure for assessing overweight and obesity. which is widely accepted as follows;

WHO classification now includes categories for overweight and obesity, acknowledging them as serious health conditions.

WHO classification

BMI

Risk of Death

Under weight

Below 18.5

Low

Healthy weight

18.5 – 24.9

Average

Over weight(grade1)

25.0 – 29.9

Mild Increase

Obese (grade 2 )

30.0 -39.0

Moderate/ severe

Morbid/Severe obesity (grade 3 )

40.0 and above

Very severe  

 

 

Ayurveda's approach to weight loss


Ayurveda takes a holistic, sustainable and most importantly, individualized approach. Udwarthanam (restorative powder massage), Kashaya Vasti (therapeutic enema), Virechana (therapeutic purgation), natural steam bath, and so forth are a few treatments used for weight reduction in Ayurveda.


Ayurveda advises not only medicines & therapies but also various regimens to be followed regularly in our day to day lifestyle. Some of the simple tips are


1.    Keep  yourselves  Active :. Walk at least 3000-5000 steps a day–learn & practice yoga as this can be done within your room. These activities help the body burn calories, build muscles and stay in shape. Holding certain postures with proper breathing techniques helps tone the muscles and maintain the weight.


2.    Mindful eating  : Mindful eating means it is about being conscious and present while eating. When food is eaten mindfully, the brain sees, tastes, smells and feels and sends signals to the stomach to release enzymes and juices to digest the food. Well balanced, fresh, hot, alkaline, regular meals at least two times a day is essential for the body. Avoid refrigerated, processed, pre-packed meals with high amounts of trans fats or artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. Use of seasonal fruits and vegetables is beneficial.Have your meal based on your constitution .Intermittent fasting is advised  which can  help to rest the digestive system, aiding in proper expulsion of toxins and ama .It is observed that people who eat quickly are three times more likely to be obese than those who take their time. While eating, zoning out, watching TV, talking, driving and multitasking erode the digestive process and counteract the effort to lose weight. According to Ayurveda, you are not what you eat but what you digest.


3.    Breathe, Meditate, Relax

Learn and practice deep breathing techniques. Various breathing techniques can help to relax the mind, de-stress the brain.


4.    Panchakarma cleanse  : Ayurveda advises yearly Panchakarma for maintenance of health and wellness. Treatments like dry powder massages (udwarthanam) ,utsadhanam ,pizhichil,virechanam ,vasthy ,dhanyamla dhara & various fomentation treatments are effective in reducing water & fat accumulation in the body. But, post treatment, with proper medicines, modifications and self-discipline in diet and lifestyle, more weight loss will happen as there is a continuous improvement in metabolism.


Treatment:


Abhyantara sodhanas


Vamana- Vamana is the first line of measure. It is indicated in Shelshma and Meda Rogas. Vamana karma is considered as the best for KaphaDosha imbalances can contribute to conditions like obesity, often requiring a tailored approach to obesity treatment..


Virechana- Tikshna Sodhana (Virechana) is insisted the line of treatment in Sthoulya.

Lekhana basti – Basti therapy is considered as Chikitsardha among all therapy. It not only cures  Vatika disorders but also Samsarga and Sannipata condition of Doshas,Kaphaja and Pittaja  disorder. Bastidravyas  having the property of  kaphavata shamaka, lekhaniya, karshana Weight management strategies are indicated. In Sthoulya Ruksha, ushna and Tikshnabasti are suggested by Acharya Charaka, ancient proponent in the treatment of obesity and related health conditions.. The lekhana Basti by its virtue of its Lekhana property reduces the risk of severe obesity through targeted treatment of obesity and dedicated weight management efforts. Meda and simultaneously pacifies the Vata.


Bahya sodhana – 

Ruksha udwartana and others treatments according to the symptoms and based on individual’s prakriti. Udwartana is a  Bahirparimarjana chikitsa, it is identified as one among the Rukshana Karma and the same can be adopted in Sthoulyaas a Purvakarma of Shodhana in order to bring about Rukshana effect. Udvartana  removes the fortid odor, restricts the process of excessive sweating, and alleviates the aggravated Doshas by function. Charaka specifies the Teekshna Rooksha Udvartana for Sthoulya.


Seasonal foods:

The best ayurvedic way to lose weight is by eating seasonally and according to the region one belongs to. In hot summers, one needs to eat high-carbohydrate diet . Winters are perfect for root vegetables, seeds, nuts, meats and cheeses to shield us from the cold. During the rains and monsoon, green leafy vegetables and sprouts help in detoxifying us. Eating according to seasons and regions help in faster digestion and great absorption of nutrients by the body.

Kapha pacifying diet

Since  kapha dosa is responsible for making us to feel lethargic,the meal to pacify kapha can induce weight loss


Hydrate with Water: 

According to Ayurveda, warm water is a natural detoxifier. Warm water  helps in detoxification as it travels through the overloaded  digestive system, clearing away molecules left behind from partly digested food.


Replacing sugary beverages like soda and fruit juices with clear warm water automatically reduces the number of calories per day. Cold drinks cause the muscles and blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract to freeze and in turn vitiate digestive fire, which leads to sluggish digestion.


Sipping water during a meal is ideal. Drinking water before a meal will dilute Agni, which will hinder digestion and lead to weakness. Drinking water right after a meal will increase Kapha, causing weight gain. The ideal time to drink water is right after waking up in the morning and one hour before and one hour after each meal.

 

Few steps for the management of obesity are:


Nidana Parivarjanam– Evaluating the cause for the disease and stop continuing it.Samana therapy– Pacifying treatment Sodhana therapy– Purifying treatment.


Nidana Parivarjanam– Avoiding the cause:- Over eating, untimely eating, excess intake of fatty food, sweets, cold, heavy food etc ; day sleeping, exhilaration, lack of mental and physical activities, and genetic defect are said to be the causes for obesity according to Ayurveda.

 

Samana therapy– The mild form of treatment procedure by pacifying the doshas. It's done by langhana procedures (which produces lightness in the body), a significant approach in obesity treatment. Langhana procedures are 4 types of evacuation (emesis, purgation, enema, oil instillation through nostril’s i.e nasyam ); tolerating thirst, exposure to wind and sun, intake of drugs/food which improves digestion, fasting and physical exercise .

 

Sodhana therapy– Purifications methods are done by Panchkarma procedures. Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation), vasti (medicated enema) are prime among the five. Vasti which has dry, hot, scrapping property drugs are specially indicated for obese people. Dry powder massage/ udvarthana is also a typical treatment for obesity. All the mentioned procedures should be taken under the supervision of an expert medical practitioner.

 

Dinacharya (daily routine) and personal hygiene explained in Ayurveda which helps in obesity are:

Wake up early in brahma muhurta

Wash face and hands, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue and eliminate urine and bowel.


Eliminating your bowel daily is very important while dealing with obesity management.


Abhyangam– Applying oil all over the body before bathing and gently massage.

 

Taking bath in warm water is aphrodisiac, anti- ageing and brings glow to the body.

Vyayama (exercise) – Should be done regulatory which will provide lightness to the body, firmness,strength, anti-ageing, increase life span etc

D0’s and Don’t’s:

Pathya: 

Dos

1.Ahara: Yava, ragi, Kulutha, amalaki, Mudga, old wheat, brinjal, barley, laja,          takra, ardraka, lasuna, fibre rich foods, radish, honey, Pomogranate etc.

2. Vihara:  Vyayama, jagarana, chinta, vyavyi, langhana, atapasevana.

Apathya: 

  

Donts

1. Ahara: Naveena godhuma, high caloric diet the foods prepared with masha, fish, mutton, excessive drinking of water after food, oily susbstances, high alcohol consumption.

 

2. Vihara: Day sleep, lack of exercise, lack of coitus, atiahara sevana, sedentary lifestyles.

Ayurvedic Medicines for Weight Loss

Commonly used Ayurvedic medicines for weight loss include:

  • Triphala is a blend of three fruits that improves digestion and metabolism.

  • Guggulu is a resin used for its fat-burning properties and cholesterol-lowering effects.

  • Shilajatu is also useful if taken under a physician’s guidance.

  • Drugs which causes apatarpana, sleshmahara, medoharadravyas like Trikatu, Vrikshamla, Haridra, Guduchi, Ginger, Chitraka, Musta ,guggulu, Kadamba, Atasi, Pippali, Haritaki etc and other treatment procedures with virukshana and chedaniya dravyas and compound formulation like Triphala Guggulu, Varanadi Kashayam, Ayaskriti, Guggulutikhthakam Kashayam , Punarnavadi Kashayam  and dasamolahareetaki helps in managing obesity

It is important to note that Ayurvedic medicines should be taken under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner

Do”s and don’t

  • Include more fruits and vegetables in every day diet.

·         Ensure you’re getting enough sleep by avoiding late nights. It’s also important to avoid daytime sleep, which aggravates Kapha Dosha and contributes to weight gain.

  • Have one to two glasses of warm water with lemon and honey in the morning on an empty stomach.

  • Reduce or avoid processed food, white flour and refined sugar.

  • Cut down on beverages like caffeinated tea, coffee and aerated drinks. Have herbal tea or warm water instead. 

  • Follow regular meal timings and avoid snacking. 

  • Favor warming spices like black pepper, dried ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon.

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day

  • Eat in moderation. 

  • Avoid dairy products, red meat and salty food

  • Yoga improves metabolism, and certain Asanas like Surya Namaskar , Paschimottanasana , Bhujangasana , Pavanamuktasana and Dhanurasana, which is beneficial in the treatment of obesity and helps in weight management. help reduce body weight.

  • Cleanse periodically

  • Have dinner at least 2-3 hrs before sleep

  • Avoid tamasic foods: Leftovers, processed, canned foods, fast or food with additives and colorings

  • Avoid ice-cold water and drinks and cold foods

  • Quit drinking alcohol and smoking

  • Do not talk or laugh while eating. Do not eat on the run or while watching television 

  • Eat freshly cooked warm food. It will strengthen agni, digests food better, reduces excess Kapha and Vata.

  • Do not eat food with the wrong combination. E.g. Honey and Ghee, when combined in equal quantities, are poisonous. Mixing sour fruits and milk curdles the milk.

  • Eat only when you are hungry

  • Eat after previous food is digested

  • Eat with a proper frame of mind – create a pleasant environment

  • Eating sequence: First eat carbohydrates or sweet taste; next eat salty, sour, pungent and bitter foods. Finally, eat astringent food.

 

Yoga: Surya namaskaras regular practice and other asanas like ardha chakra asana, ustra asana, Naukasana, Pavanamukta asana, chakra asana, Bhujangasana, Parsvakonasana, Veerabadra asana, Garudha asana along with Pranayama Kapalabhati, Bhasrika.

Some of the yoga postures or asanas that help to get rid of excess body fat are:

 

Tadasana: It is also known as the mountain pose and is performed to correct and maintain a proper body posture.

Paschimottanasana: In this yoga asana, one sits with the body bent towards the thighs.

Pawanmuktasana: The Pawanmuktasana or the wind relieving pose stimulates the organs in the pelvic region like the intestines and urinary bladder.

Bhujangasana: Commonly known as the cobra pose, this yoga pose works quite well to tone and strengthen your lower abdomen.

Dhanurasana: The Dhanurasana or bow pose aids in the reduction of excess fat deposits in the abdomen region.

Kapalbhati pranayama: It involves pushing away active shots of exhalation through the abdomen wall. To ensure that it is done correctly, notice whether there is an inward movement of the belly with every exhalation.

Anulom Vilom pranayama: In this pranayama, inhalation and exhalation are performed through alternate nostrils. If the air inhaled through the left nostril, the exhalation is done through the right nostril and vice versa, this technique can benefit people with obesity by improving their respiratory efficiency.

Bhastrika pranayama: Also known as the breath of fire, the Bhastrika pranayama is a powerful technique that can burn the excess body fats in a couple of months. It involves inhaling and exhaling forcefully at the same pace.

Bhramari pranayama: In this pranayama, the eyes and ears are closed and a humming sound that resembles the sound of a bee is produced from the throat.

Home remedies   for weight loss 

• Honey and fresh lemon juice mixed in warm water is an ancient remedy to lose weight. Consume it on empty stomach in the morning.

• Soak 3-4 garlic cloves in milk and boil it. Consume this milk along with garlic to reduce weight effectively. Continue this remedy for few months.

• Regular consumption of cow milk along with honey can prove useful to reduce weight.

• Regularly consume snake gourd and see your weight reducing within few months.

• Add paste of carrot in thin buttermilk and consume twice a day to reduce weight within few months.

• Raw papaya is very good for reducing weight effectively. Add raw papaya in your regular diet along with dal.

• Black pepper works very efficiently on weight reduction and is a beneficial component in obesity treatment. Add black pepper powder in your vegetables and soups. Black pepper powder can reduce body fats by burning them.

• Papaya fruit is useful to reduce weight. Eat regularly to see difference in your weight. Also include vegetables soup in your daily diet for weight reduction.

• Green tea is always considered as beneficial for reducing weight.

• Add ginger in your regular tea as ginger works best on weight controlling.

• Add tulsi paste and honey in warm water. Consume this water twice a day to fight obesity.

• Horse gram is very useful in reducing obesity. Soak horse gram in water for overnight and morning have horse gram juice on empty stomach.

• Eat tomato every morning on empty stomach. This can reduce your cholesterol level and help you to reduce fats.

• Cabbage is always proved to be beneficial for weight reduction. Eat plenty of cabbage in your daily diet. Eating raw cabbage is more beneficial for quick results.

• Daily consume few curry leaves on empty stomach. This remedy can definitely help you to reduce obesity.

• Drink plenty of water in a day. It is necessary to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.

• Green mint is very useful to control weight quickly. Chew few mint leaves daily to reduce weight

 

What is obesity?

A patient with a body mass index, or B.M.I., of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; one with a B.M.I. of 30 or higher is considered obese.

How fast should  I loose weight?

Weight losing process should be gradual. Losing 2-3  kg over a period of 1 months and then keeping it at the same pace under the supervision of consulting doctor/nutritionist is advisable.

How effective is  gastric bypass surgery for obesity ?

This procedure is an option only for people who are severely obese and cannot lose weight by other means. Studies suggest that gastric bypass surgeries associated with several side effects and may sometimes be fatal.

How should I begin my exercise daily?

Most obese people are capable of moderate aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, gardening, dancing. Moderate exercise usually is safe even for obese patients, though it is wise to undergo a physical evaluation before beginning a new program. Patients should begin slowly with activities they enjoy.

What if I lose weight and put it back on again?

Keeping exercise as a routine habit will help in reducing weight than exercising once in a while. Strive to maintain a modest 10 percent weight loss before trying to lose more for effective weight loss maintenance.

Does obesity cause complications?

Yes. Obese patients are at a risk of developing Diabetes mellitus, Cardiovascular diseases and Hypertension in the long term.

Does a low calorie diet help in losing weight?

Yes. Weight reduction can be achieved by reducing food intake and by regular exercise. A low calorie diet should constitute a low carbohydrate, high fiber, moderate protein and a low fat diet.

 

Does Ayurveda-Panchakarma Treatment help in losing weight?

Definitely. Ayurveda medicines and Panchakarma therapies help to detoxify our body. Thus, helps in reducing weight.Which type of Panchakarma therapies helps in losing weight?

It varies from person to person. Generally,

·         Vamana,

·         Virechana,

·         Lekhana Basti and

·         Udvartana helps in reducing weight

The BMI is calculated by  dividing an adults weight in kgs by their height in metres squared

Obesity and weight management at menopause

In Ayurveda, menopause is considered a natural transition in a woman's life, marked by hormonal changes that can affect various aspects of health, including weight management. Ayurveda offers holistic approaches to support women during menopause and address concerns related to obesity and weight management

Ayurvedic herbs and formulations may be used to support weight management during menopause. Herbs such as triphala, guggulu, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek, and shatavari may be recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners to support digestion, metabolism, hormonal balance, and weight loss efforts

Obesity and weight management in children

Ayurveda offers holistic approaches to managing obesity and promoting healthy weight in children. It emphasizes the importance of balancing the doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), supporting digestion, and promoting healthy lifestyle habits

Minimizing sedentary behaviors such as excessive screen time (TV, computers, smartphones, tablets) and encouraging active play and outdoor activities can help prevent weight gain in children

Certain Ayurvedic herbs and remedies may support weight management in children when used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. Triphala, a traditional Ayurvedic formulation is commonly used to support digestion, detoxification, and weight loss. Other herbs such as guggul, ginger, turmeric, and fenugreek may also be beneficial.

Can You Donate Blood (Plasma) If You Have Obesity?

Obesity alone may not necessarily disqualify you from donating blood or plasma, but it's essential to consider your overall health status  along with other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease, donation eligibility may be affected.

Obesity can be associated with various health conditions that may affect blood or plasma donation eligibility. For example, obesity-related conditions such as sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, or certain medications may impact donation eligibility or suitability.

Can you inherit obesity from your parents?

Yes, genetics can play a significant role in predisposing individuals to obesity.

Does stress influence sleep patterns, food intake, weight gain, abdominal obesity, and weight loss interventions and vice versa?

Yes .Here are few reasons

Sleep pattern

Chronic stress can contribute to insomnia, and poor sleep quality. Conversely, inadequate or poor-quality sleep can increase stress levels, creating a cycle of stress and sleep disturbances

Food intake

Some individuals may experience increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods when stressed, leading to overeating . Others may have a reduced appetite or changes in food preferences. Stress-related eating behaviors can contribute to weight gain and obesity over time.

Weight loss

High levels of stress can make it more challenging to adhere to dietary and exercise regimens, leading to difficulties in achieving weight loss goals.

Weight gain

Stress activates the body's "fight or flight" response, leading to increased cortisol levels, which can stimulate appetite, promote fat storage, and lead to the accumulation of visceral fat around the abdomen

Conversely, weight status and obesity can also influence stress levels. Individuals who are overweight or obese may experience stress related to body image concerns, social stigma, discrimination, or health consequences of obesity. Managing weight through healthy lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Feeding the microbiota to combat obesity?

Yes, there is growing evidence to suggest that feeding  the gut microbiota, can play a role in combating obesity. The gut microbiota refers to the diverse community of microorganisms that reside in the gastrointestinal tract, primarily in the colon. These microorganisms play crucial roles in digestion, metabolism, immune function, and overall health

Strategies for feeding the microbiota to combat obesity include intake of

Prebiotics

Probiotics

Dietary fibres

Fermented foods

Polyphenols

Very-low-energy diet for type 2 diabetes: an underutilized therapy?

Yes, very-low-energy diets (VLEDs) have been shown to be effective in managing type 2 diabetes, yet they are still underutilized as a therapy. A VLED typically involves consuming around 800 calories per day, primarily from meal replacement products such as  soups, for a period of several weeks to a few months

It can help in following ways like

Rapid weight loss

Managing cardiovascular diseases

Normalizing blood glucose

Reducing fatty liver

What life events may have been associated with weight gain?

Events like

High levels of  stress

Hormonal changes in Puberty  and Menopause

Medical conditions like hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing's syndrome, insulin resistance, and certain medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, corticosteroids, and antihistamines

Ageing

Sedentary life style

What is “morbid” obesity?

 "Morbid" obesity refers to a severe form of obesity that is associated with significantly increased health risks and potential complications. It is typically defined based on body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Morbid obesity is often classified as having a BMI of 40 or higher, or having a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, or cardiovascular disease.

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