Different therapies approach obesity based on various perceptions of symptoms and treatment theories. The conventional approach is to use weight loss medications that inhibit absorption of food and induce satiation to treat obesity. Alternative therapies have a different approach and lay emphasis on natural procedures, herbs and diets for natural weight loss, since it is believed that they maintain vitality as well.
The diagnostic base of Ayurveda, the traditional Indian therapy, are the three aspects of body functioning - vata (wind), kapha (phlegm) and pitta (heat). According to Ayurvedic texts, all disease is caused by either one or a combination of any two of the three. A combination of all three indicates an incurable condition.
Ayurveda perceives obesity as a cause of the following:
- Poor diet and lifestyle that results in accumulation of fat
- Lack of exercise and inactivity
- Sleeping in the afternoon
- High calorie intake or consumption of sweetened foods
Fat gets deposited in all living beings. Some amount of fat is necessary because it keeps the body moist, provides insulation from heat, protects bones from shock and stores energy. Excessive fat tends to accumulate mostly on the belly, hips and breasts. Left unattended, it leads to a vicious circle of inactivity. Obesity leads to further inactivity as obese individuals find it difficult to remain active.
Ayurveda has a four-pronged treatment module for treating obesity:
Ayurvedic herbs like Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) and Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) form a part of the herbal weight loss approach. These herbs improve the metabolic rate and help in faster burning of calories. An Ayurvedic physician may prescribe weight loss medications made from purely natural products and prepared according to the specific instructions mentioned in the ancient texts.
Ayurvedic diet for reducing weight takes into consideration the level of activity of the patient and then correlates it with basic nutritional requirements. The emphasis is on a balanced diet that includes food items from each of the groups, namely milk, meat, fruit, vegetables and cereals. Avoid curds and choose buttermilk instead. Allow an occasional treat, but keep away from fatty and sweetened foods and drinks.
Small changes in lifestyles can go a long way in increasing physical activity. Climb stairs instead taking the elevator, walk to the grocery store, and walk your children to and from school each day. These activities provide healthy exercise without having to join a gym. Regular sexual activity is also a healthy exercise. Afternoon sleep is prohibited in Ayurveda. It reduces the metabolic process of burning calories.
Yogic exercises are an integral part of Ayurvedic weight loss solutions. Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not only an exercise program. It is an age old system of establishing unison between the mind, spirit and body. Specific yogic postures for reducing weight are helpful in developing a positive attitude that can have a big impact on your efforts for combating obesity.