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Ayurvedic Treatment For Obesity (Weight Loss )

By Ayuvi
March 29, 2022
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Obesity is one of the most common lifestyle/nutritional disorders that is prevalent in society today. If a person has a BMI (body mass Index) of over 30 then that individual is considered to be obese (below 18.5 is underweight, healthy weight range is between 18.5-24.9, overweight is 25.0-29.9)

Ayurveda terms obesity as a metabolic disorder and refers to it as sthaulya/atishaulya. Ancient Ayurvedic texts describe obesity or medoroga as one of the eight unwanted conditions/nindya prakriti of the body.

  • Causes of Obesity in Ayurveda

  • Ayurveda states that in addition to consuming heavy, sweet & fatty foods (guru, madhura, atisnigda dravya), indulging in overeating (atisampuranada), lack of exercise (avyayama), abstinence (avyvaya), sleeping during daytime (diwasapna) and hereditary inclinations (beeja swabhavatha), one of the major factors for obesity is imbalance in the Kapha dosha.

    People who are inclined to gain weight are prone to abnormal accumulation of fat tissues (meda dhatu) which is formed due to weak fat metabolism or Medodhatvagni Mandya. These meda dhatu malnourish other essential dhatus (tissues) in the body, preventing formation of other important dhatus (bone tissues or asthi dhatu) which means that only the fat tissues (meda dhatu) increase.

    Abnormal meda dhatu weakens the digestive fire or agni leading to improper digestion and increased levels of toxins or ama. Ama further aggravates the vata dosha, which stimulates the digestive fire which results in extra quick digestion of food leaving the person craving for more food.

    Abnormal accumulation of meda dhatu combined with an aggravated Kapha dosha (and an over- stimulated vata dosha due to weakened agni) leads to obesity/sthaulya.

  • Symptoms of obesity

  • Generally, the early symptoms of obesity are fat accumulation in the abdomen, sluggishness, too much sweating, increased hunger & thirst, lack of energy etc.

    Obesity is a serious condition that has to be addressed timely otherwise it can lead to other health complications such as high cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, premature aging etc. Yoga

  • Ayurvedic Treatment for Obesity

  • As stated above, Ayurveda believes that weight gain is a cyclic activity where unhealthy food and lifestyle habits lead to accumulation of meda dhatu (fat tissue), weaken the digestive fire or agni leading to incorrect food digestion and increased levels of ama/toxins in the body.

    Ayurvedic treatment for obesity follows a more holistic process and focuses not just on quick fix weight loss measures but on fortifying the digestive fire or agni, eliminating ama and excess meda dhatu which helps balance the Kapha dosha (and vata dosha too). Known ayurvedic treatment for weight loss include

  • Shamana Chikitsa

    – or a healing process that helps to balance the aggravated doshas. It helps rejuvenate the body by restoring imbalances and removing impurities that are left behind after detoxification. Amapachan & shoshan (digestion & removal of toxins), langhan (fasting but only under the supervision of a practicing Ayurvedic Vaidya), Ruksha Udwartan (dry medicated powder massage) are some of the rejuvenating processes that aid weight loss

  • Samshodhana Chikitsa*

    – or detoxification/purification process that helps to flush out toxins/ama from the body thus helping balance the vata dosha and helping weight loss. Purvakarma (which includes snehan and swedan sends the toxins to the bowels for flushing), Panchakarma (which includes Viman, Virechan, Anuvasan basti, Niruha basti, Nasya and rakta mokshana) are some of the cleansing methods that can be used for weight loss

  • (*purification techniques are not required for all patients who suffer from obesity)

  • Deepan and Pachan

    – Deepan chikitsa helps to improve digestive fire or the Agni whereas pachan chikitsa removes toxins from the body aiding weight loss. Well-planned diet, ayurvedic herbs and a regular exercise schedule are necessary, which help stimulate the agni leading to better digestion and absorption.

  • Deepan and Pachan

    – Deepan chikitsa helps to improve digestive fire or the Agni whereas pachan chikitsa removes toxins from the body aiding weight loss. Well-planned diet, ayurvedic herbs and a regular exercise schedule are necessary, which help stimulate the agni leading to better digestion and absorption.

  • An ideal Ayurvedic diet for weight loss will include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein and natural fats
  • Eat according to the ritu (season). Fresh fruits (jamun, apples, pear etc.) & veggies (leafy green vegetables, carrots, broccoli etc.) during summer. Eat stored food grains and meat products in moderate quantities during monsoons and winter season as the digestive fire or agni is aggravated in these seasons
  • Eat only when hungry and stop once your stomach gives a full signal. Ayurveda states that fill up two-thirds of the stomach with solid & liquid food and leave the one-third free for doshas to ensure proper digestion and prevent unwanted fat deposits in the body
  • Consume a Kapha dosha pacifying diet that includes bitter (Tikta), pungent (Katu) and astringent (Kashaya) tastes. Bitter gourd (karela), methi (fenugreek), haldi (turmeric), garlic, ginger, raw bananas, green beans, bhindi, pomegranates are some foods that help weight loss
  • A bowl of soup made from mixed veggies or a cup of herbal tea (use cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, Tulsi leaves) are good for reducing the Kapha dosha
  • Include lentils, millets, wheat, barley as they are low calorie foods and aid weight loss naturally
  • Eat a lot of fiber rich vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, lima beans, broccoli, apples, berries, banana stem, guava etc. as they take longer to digest
  • Avoid vegetables such as potatoes, corn that are high in carbohydrates and contribute to weight gain. Eat rice in very moderate quantities as well
  • Fat rich foods such as butter, cheese, paneer (cottage cheese) must be eaten moderately or avoided totally, depending on the individual’s weight loss needs
  • Honey (helps release fat burning hormones) and lemon (vitamin C and antioxidants aid good digestion, diuretic properties help detoxify & burn fat) are well known weight loss nutrients. A teaspoon of honey mixed with lemon juice followed by a glass of lukewarm water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is known to reduce weight
  • Fermented buttermilk (with rock salt) helps stimulate fat metabolism that aids weight loss
  • Totally avoid aerated drinks, frozen, packaged, processed, fried foods. Consume minimum of sweets, tea, coffee
  • No snacking in between meals, if you feel hungry eat dry fruits such as almonds, dates etc. (fried foods such as farsaan, pakodas, mathris etc. are a strict no no)
  • Ayurvedic herbs that aid weight loss

  • Ayurvedic herbs are regularly used to control weight gain as they do not have any side effects and help improve the fat metabolism/Medodhatvagni and help cleanse the body of impurities.

  • Triphala – combination of Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki, triphala is super rich in antioxidants and aids fat burning, gets rid of ama/toxins and boosts metabolism
  • Brahmi – aids in detoxification by improving liver health
  • Trikatu – combination of ginger, pepper and pippali, Trikatu boosts all round digestion
  • Guggul – helps break down fat tissue to treat disorders of fat metabolism
  • Garcinia cambogia – controls appetite and reduces the body’s ability to produce fat
  • Turmeric – excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Helps reduce inflammation that causes obesity and controls fat tissue growth
  • Mint/Pudina – boosts metabolism and stimulates digestive enzymes which improve the absorption of essential nutrients from food
  • Kalongi/black cumin – seeds are rich in fiber and prevent overeating to aid weight loss
  • Ginger – one of the well herbs to control weight as it reduces inflammation, stimulates digestion and controls appetite
  • Cinnamon – aids fat burning and slows down weight gain
  • Black pepper – full of Vitamins A, C, and K, minerals, healthy fatty acids and more, black pepper contains piperine, a compound that is a natural metabolism booster and also prevents fat accumulation
  • Yoga

  • Regular practice of Yoga has numerous health benefits including reducing stress and anxiety as well as supporting weight loss. Some of the known asanas that help in controlling weight are

  • Surya namaskars – improves metabolism
  • Tadasana – maintains good body posture
  • Paschimottanasana – helps to burn stomach fats
  • Bhujangasana – helps tone lower abdomen
  • Dhanurasana – helps reduce fat deposits in the abdomen
  • Pranayama

  • Pranayama or controlling one’s breathing, in combination with Yoga, also aids weight loss by boosting the metabolism and decreasing the BMI. Pranayama techniques effective in weight loss are

  • Kapalbhati – the most effective pranayama technique for weight loss as it is closely linked to the body’s metabolic rate, gut health and digestion. Forceful exhalation through the abdomen, it regulates metabolism, releases toxins and helps burn fat
  • Bhastrika – burns excess body fats through forceful inhalation and exhalation
  • Anulom Vilom – inhalation and exhalation through alternate nostrils improves breathing which is essential for all exercises
  • Bhramari – increases the release of serotonin, a known stress reliever, to help reduce weight

Regularly following Ayurvedic treatment for weight loss/obesity that include dietary & lifestyle changes, Yoga & Pranayama can help holistic weight control for a more fulfilling, long & healthy life.

Disclaimer: Any dietary/lifestyle changes in your routine should be incorporated only after thorough consultation with your Ayurvedic Vaidya or medical doctor.

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