Ayurvedic Weight Loss: Home Remedies, Tips and More
Maintaining weight in the proper range is necessary not just for good health but also for giving you that extra dose of confidence in yourself. With an overload of platforms advertising ways and means to get a shapely, supremely fit body, the temptation to opt for those quick fix weight management programs can be overwhelming. But it is necessary to approach weight loss in a wholesome, healthy manner.
Ayurveda & sthaulya or Medoroga
Ayurveda, the medicine practiced since thousands of years in India, terms sthaulya (obesity) as a trapanjanya vyadhi (lifestyle disease) and thus believes that weight gain issues can be corrected holistically by adopting a combination of a balanced lifestyle, healthy nutrition, stress reduction, use of natural ayurvedic remedies & herbs and proper exercise. Ayurveda actually does not prescribe to an ‘one size fits all’ ideal body weight concept but states that it is Prakriti that defines the natural body weight for good health.
Ayurveda considers sthaulya as a disease caused due to abnormal accumulation of Meda dhatu (fat tissue) in the body (Medo dushti). Medo dushti includes several numbers of other Medo vikaras, which are collectively known as Medoroga (Sthaulya). Fat tissues are nourished excessively by Meda dhatu, malnourishing the other remaining dhatu. Due to improper functioning of Medodhatvagni or fat metabolism, formation of other dhatu doesn’t take place and only Meda dhatu increases, which is eventually known as sthaulya.
Samprapti of sthaulya (causes of obesity)
Ayurveda states that there are many factors that can cause obesity or Medoroga such as
- Bijadosha – if the sperm or ovum have the genetics of obesity producing factors
- Aharatmaka – shleshmala ahara sevan or kapha dosha aggravating diet, consumption of too sweet, too cold, too oily or difficult to digest foods
- Viharatmaka – Avyayama (lack of exercise), divasvapna (sleeping during daytime), A-vyavaya (abstinence)
- Manasa – anxiety, stress or even excess happiness
These factors cause the annarasa (or the end product of digestion) to become sweet as it is not properly digested which further results in accumulation of oils (Sneha) and fats (meda).
This accumulation of meda (fats) blocks tissue channels and prevents the right nutrition reaching the dhatus (bone, marrow and shukras) and also leads to an aggravated jatharagni or digestive fire. An increased agni leads to rapid digestion and leaves that person with more cravings for food, leading to excess food intake.
It creates a vicious cycle of overeating that leads to improperly formed medo dhatu (tissue fire of fat tissues). The other tissues do not get enough nourishment and lead to shaithilya (flabbiness due to excess water in the body) of dhatus preceding meda dhatu (fat tissue) and depletion of dhatus next to medo dhatus.
Ayurveda teaches us that each individual is born with a distinct Prakruti and that our bodies are governed by the interactions of the tridoshas – Vata (energy of movement related with Akash/space and Vayu/wind, Pitta (energy of metabolism/digestion connected with Tej/fire and Jal/water) and Kapha (energy associated with Prithvi/earth and Jal/water). The tridoshas or energies, along with the digestive fire or Agni, need to be in balance to aid proper functioning and metabolism of the body for good health. Every individual has a dosha or energy that is predominant and as per Ayurvedic tradition the diet should be compatible with your dosha.
- Vata type individuals should eat 3-4 small, well cooked meals per day, avoid sugar products, foods that are frozen etc.
- Pitta types are advised to consume salads, dairy products, legumes & lentils but avoid spicy foods, nuts, alcohol etc.
- On the other hand, Kapha type people are advised to avoid dairy products and foods high in fat & protein, eat lots of leafy vegetables and astringent foods etc.
Ayurvedic treatment of medoroga or obesity is mainly focused on improving vata, pitta and kapha balance along with reducing the medodhatu (fat tissue) by increasing medodhatvagni (fat metabolism).
Home remedies to lose weight
There are some simple but effective ayurvedic home remedies that can help you lose weight the correct way
- Turmeric or haldi – the key element of turmeric, or haldi as it is well known in India, is curcumin which helps to suppress fat tissue growth, regulates blood sugar levels and prevents insulin resistance and assists in healthy weight loss. Haldi doodh or turmeric mixed with warm milk has been a staple drink across Indian households for generations
- Methi or fenugreek – full of health benefits, methi seeds are known to improve digestion and help in reducing weight. Make a fine powder of roasted methi seeds and take a small amount with water every morning on an empty stomach. Or soak methi seeds overnight and drink that water and chew on the soaked seeds first thing in the morning
- Lemon & Honey – one of the best-known home remedies to lose weight. Combining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with a tablespoon of honey and drinking it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning helps control appetite as well as detoxifies the body
- Ginger (adrak), Garlic & lemon mix – Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents overeating, aids digestion, helps to balance blood sugar levels). Drinking a mixture of ginger, garlic (lahsun helps burn calories and boosts metabolism) and lemon (nimbu is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that promote good digestion, diuretic properties help detoxify and burn fat) 3 times a day is one of the best home remedies to lose weight. Make a paste of 4 garlic cloves, a small ginger piece and two tablespoons of lemon and boil this mix in 2-4 glasses of water until reduced to half.
- Cinnamon or dalchini – a useful spice that is used widely in making tea, various food items as it helps improve metabolism and aids weight loss
- Kalonji or black cumin seeds – A known Ayurvedic herb found in most Indian kitchens. Taking small amounts of kalonji (approx. 3mg – 5mg) with warm water on an empty stomach helps maintain a healthy body mass index and promotes weight loss
- Triphala – an important Ayurvedic herb that improves digestion and helps to detoxify the body. Triphala is also known to promote Ojas or vital energy that nourishes the body tissues and strengthens immunity
- Guggul – one of the best herbs for maintaining liver health, detoxification, keeping triglycerides & cholesterol levels in check, and for optimum weight management
Ashwagandha – another very useful ayurvedic herb that is a powerful antioxidant, has antibacterial properties and helps in stress management by rejuvenating and calming the body.
Tips for weight loss with Ayurveda
For any Ayurveda prescribed weight loss program to be effective, a healthy diet plan needs to be supplemented with a regular exercise regimen as well as necessary lifestyle changes. Some useful tips that can aid in shedding those kilos
- Sweat it out – Make sure to get enough physical activity daily to increase your body’s metabolism and burn fat. It is advisable to follow Ayurveda guidelines of vyayam (exercise) based on your bala (strength) and ritu (season)
- Don’t stress – mediating for 10-20 minutes can lower stress levels. Yoga and Pranayam are known to alleviate tension & anxiety levels
- Don’t overeat – Eat food (especially the number of meals) as per your Prakriti and also the ritu (season). Avoid random snacks
- No junk food – avoid packaged, processed food items, instead include more fresh fruits and veggies
- Sleep well – 8 hours of restful sleep (10 pm to 6 am) works wonders on your skin and weight. Also, stay away from mobile phones and laptops an hour before you go to bed
Disclaimer: Home remedies are NOT an alternative to any prescribed medication. Any home remedies or dietary/lifestyle changes in your routine should be incorporated only after thorough consultation with your Ayurvedic Vaidya or medical doctor.i