From Fat to Fit: Naturally

by Dr. Leo Rebello

Obesity is becoming the number one killer worldwide due to our change in lifestyle and junk food. Obese are predisposed to number of diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, gallbladder stones, osteoarthritis, heartburn, snoring leading to heart weakness, cancers, depression, and sex debility. The lifespan of obese is also lesser than slim people, by 10 to 20 years depending on the tyres of fat accumulated.

For the obese, it is essential to understand the causes, various treatment modalities, and the effects and side effects of treatments, diet management, exercise, and lifestyle changes. These are various reasons for obesity:-

1.. Overeating or gluttony

2.. Psychological reason -- feeling insecure, depressed, loss of interest in life.

3.. Thyroid problem.

4.. Hysterectomy.

5.. Gorging on mainly junk food.

6.. Suppressed menses.

7.. Hormone intake.

8.. Steroidal drugs.

9.. Aspartame

10.Anti-retroviral drugs.

11.Overeating of meats.

12.Laughing too much

13.Gas accumulation in the body.

14.Water retention in the body - cellulitis.

15.Sedentary habits and sleeping during the day.

Therefore, it is essential to diagnose the cause and know the constitution before starting on the obesity treatment.

The usual anti-obesity herbal formulations have thermogenic effect which tend to stimulate appetite. Adipose tissue (fats) is like wax which melts on heating and becomes hard when cooled. The thermogenic (heat generating) herbs are essential while considering obesity regime. Long-term fasting reduces body weight because the digestive enzymes catabolize the tissues starting with mucous membrane, then muscles and adipose tissue. When such enzymes are stimulated, they will naturally trigger the activity and in turn help to reduce the body weight.

The two-way approach of Ayurveda:The appetite lowering herbs reduce the enzyme flow, strengthen the mucous membrane of digestive system to tolerate the thermogenic effect of anti-obesity herbs. The appetite lowering herbs also possess the property to lower the serum cholesterol levels in the blood which is an added advantage. The appetite lowering composition works best when consumed 30 minutes before meals. The calorie burning composition works better when consumed within two hours after meals and prevents unwanted effects like heart-burn, headaches and regurgitation of food.

These drugs stimulate the enzyme secretions. While the treatment is in progress, they inhibit the absorption of fats and effectively eliminate them from the body. The effect on the physiological function remains constant. When an individual discontinues the treatment, the accelerated enzyme flow remains constant and thereby the appetite increases. It naturally affects the food intake and weight gain restarts.

In Homeopathy we have many remedies for obesity according to the body make up (or constitution) and various causes. Yoga has many asanas or physical and mental regimen.But the most important approach to lose weight and keep it low is to control your diet, take care of your lifestyle.

Obesity arises due mainly to extra intake and less expenditure of calories. To understand this you can perform an exercise. Consume your usual food and then end with a calculated quantity of sweet. Next day, consume same quantity of sweet first and then partake your usual food. You will notice that the food intake will be almost half of your normal intake. This is the best way of losing weight.

"Stay away from sweets, fried food, chocolates", is the usual refrain that the Obese get to hear. But that does not apply to natural sugar in fruits. Besides, the peel of the fruit contains astringent element, which balances the sugar. The reason for adding saffron or nutmeg to sweets is to balance the sugar with a little amount of bitter or astringent taste which resists the unwanted effect of sugar. This is also the reason why diabetics are asked to consume bitter gourd, fenugreek leaves, etc.

Water is an essential component for maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body. It also helps in accelerating the digestive process and proper assimilation of food. Cold water obstructs the flow of digestive enzymes leading to digestive disorders and obesity. Therefore, if you are serious about slimming, avoid consuming cold water and other chilled beverages. Drinking only warm water is the best regimen to lose weight.

Consuming water while eating food or at the end of the meals is also not a good habit. It weakens the concentration of digestive enzymes which slows down the digestive process leading to more accumulation of adipose (fat) tissue. If you are serious about slimming, you may drink a little amount of water at the beginning of meals just to wet the mouth. Or apply sour lime with very little salt to the tongue to activate saliva and you will note the difference.

Obese people would do well to avoid tea, coffee or aerated waters and beers. Also, avoid sleeping immediately after meals as that leads to weight gain and other problems. The calories need mild physical exercise when the tummy is full. Vajrasana is the best yogic posture to sit in for about ten minutes. That is the only exercise one can do on full stomach. All other exercises are to be done on empty stomach.

Milk and other dairy products have substantial amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. These nutrients get converted to fats easily if the body has excess of storage. From in-depth studies of human physiology, it is evident that man is herbivorous. So, if you wish to reduce, cut down your meats. Vegan diet is good for slimming.

Sedentary lifestyle is yet another cause of obesity. Keep working, be active, avoid laziness in life which will keep you healthy and fit.

Form a habit of limited intake. This is especially for those who have the habit of eating huge amount of food. If you gradually reduce your intake, your body will get used to it and then without feeling weakness, you will succeed in achieving the sense of lightness of the body.

Little but regular exercise is most important rather than performing rigorous exercise for body building. It is observed that apparently healthy and muscular people (those who are keen on body building) have low immunity. They have weak bones and even minor accidents can cause fractures very soon in them. Their intellectual excellence is also seldom seen. They suffer from frequent digestive upsets with negligible changes in food habits. The reason is that the nutritional constituents are utilized by the muscular tissue and other systems in the body remain unattended and undernourished. Whereas, individuals performing little but regular exercise have better health profile.

Last but not the least, one should understand that medicines contribute only 5% to health but good diet and regular exercise contribute 95%. Hence it is irrational to depend on medication for health concerns.

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