Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. It is medical condition where a person carries excess body weight or body fat that might increase the risk of other diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
According to Ayurvedic Science, Obesity is a condition named as Sthoulya it is regarded as a medo vriddhi, an increase in meda dhatu that includes fat tissues and fat metabolism. Increase of meda (fat) and mamsa (muscles) dhatu in the region of buttocks, abdomen and breast causes pendulance of the structures and that is said as obesity.
Symptoms of Obesity
Body Mass Index (BMI) provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. BMI is a calculation that takes a person’s weight and height into account. Obesity is diagnosed when body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher.
BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 - Underweight
18.5-24.9 - Normal
25.0-29.9 - Overweight
30.0 -39.9 - Obesity
40 ad higher - Morbid obesity
However, BMI also has some limitations. BMI does not directly measure body fat, because some people with musculature may have increased BMI though they don’t have excess body fat.
Symptoms of Obesity - Medo vriddhi in Ayurveda
- Gasping of air
- Excessive thirst
- Excess hunger
- Excess perspiration
- Foul body odor
- Short breath
- Reduced sexual strength
Causes of Obesity
Obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Overtime, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.
Common specific causes of obesity include:
- Eating a poor diet of foods high in fats and calories.
- Having a sedentary lifestyle.
- Reduced sleep can lead to hormonal changes that might increase your hunger and crave for certain high calorie foods.
- Growing older can lead to less muscle mass and a slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight.
- Pregnancy (weight gained during pregnancy can be difficult to lose and may eventually lead to obesity).
- Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. Those include:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones.
- Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare condition that an individual is born with which causes excessive hunger.
- Cushing syndrome, a condition caused by having an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol in the system.
- Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.
- Osteoarthritis (and other conditions that cause pain may lead to inactivity)
Causes of Obesity - Medo vriddhi in Ayurveda
- Lack of exercise
- Sleeping at day time
- Intake of food which increases kapha dosha (excess sweets, fried food)
- Excess intake of food
Risk factors of Obesity
- Family inheritance and influence:
The genes inherited from parents may affect the amount of fat storage and distribution. Obesity tends to run in families
- Lifestyle choices:
Unhealthy diet- diet rich in high calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, fast food contributes to weight gain. Liquid calories - high calorie beverages, alcohol , sugared soft drinks, can contribute to significant weight gain. Inactivity - looking at computer, tablet and phones you intake more calories than that you burn through exercise and daily activities. The number of hours spend in front of a screen is highly associated with weight gain.
- Social and economic issues:
Avoiding obesity is difficult if a safe area to walk and exercise is not available. People you spend time with may influence your weight - you are likely to develop obesity if you have friends or relatives with obesity.
As age progresses, hormonal changes and a less active lifestyle increase the risk of obesity.
Complication of Obesity
People with obesity are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain Cancer
- Digestive problems
- Gynecological and sexual problems
- Sleep apnea
Modern perspective- management of Obesity
- Dietary changes
- Exercise and activity
- Behavioral changes
- Anti-obesity medicatio
- Endoscopic procedures for weight loss
- Weight loss surgery
Ayurvedic treatment for Obesity
Obesity is understood as a medo vriddhi in Ayurveda. Increase of meda (fat) and mamsa (muscles) dhatu in the region of buttocks, abdomen and breast causes pendulance of the structures and that is said as obesity. Treatment aims at correcting the digestive fire along with vitiated vata-kapha doshas.
At Amala, our treatment aims at eliminating the excess accumulated fat and corrects the metabolism through ayurveda therapies, medication, diet and yoga. Treatment includes internal medication along with external ayurvedic procedures like Udwarthana (herbal powder massage), abhyanga, dhanyamla dhara and panchakarama procedures like vamana, virechana, vasti for detoxification of the body and prevents further accumulation.
Diet in Obesity
- Drink half a glass of water just before food that will reduce the appetite a bit, eat slowly.
- Take fresh vegetable salads just before food
- Take frequent small meals to avoid food cravings.
- Include barely, wheat
- Avoid sweet, cakes, bakery, and aerated drinks.
- Avoid tea, coffee
- Replace curd with buttermilk
- Intake of fruits and leafy vegetables
- Avoid oily food stuffs and junk food
- Limit the usage of non-vegetarian food and dairy products
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Lifestyle in Obesity
- Don’t over eat, follow a healthy eating plan
- Exercise regularly - swimming, jogging, biking etc
- Monitor weight regularly
- Eat at regular time schedule
- Have enough sleep; avoid night vigil and day sleep.
- Don’t have food sitting in front of screen.
- Practice yoga and meditation to manage stress and tensions
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
Best Yoga postures for Obesity
Yoga is beneficial in maintaining good health, improving biochemical functions of the body and helps to overcome complication of obesity and reduces metabolic risk factors. Yoga and meditation also help in reducing stress and calms the mind and body.Some effective yoga postures in obesity are below:
- Sun salutation (Surya namaskara)
- Moutain Pose (Tadasana)
- Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana)
- Boat Pose (Navasana)
- Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
- Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
- Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)