Obesity is accompanied by many health complications and adversely affects almost all systems of the body.
Obese people suffer from excessive sweating, hunger & thirst, a feeling of general weakness, and the inability to do physical work.
The complications of Obesity are well known, such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery diseases, strokes, arthritis, hormonal imbalances and more.
The primary cause of obesity is a sedentary life style along with an excessive intake of food that does not get converted into energy completely. Over time only the fat tissue system gets nourished and the rest of the tissue systems, mainly the fluid tissue system, blood tissue, bone tissue, and reproductive tissue system are malnourished. This leads to an aggravation of Vata.
Then the highly nourished fat tissue system blocks the nourishing channels thereby further aggravating Vata Dosha. Ayurveda explains that Vata gets aggravated either due to depletion of tissue systems or due to obstruction of the channels. Both these pathologies are present in obesity. This aggravated Vata increases the digestive fire like wind turning a minor fire into an inferno. This makes the obese person very hungry, prompting him to eat rich, high calorie food. Thus a vicious circle is formed. That is why obese person cannot adhere to diets involving calorie cutting.
So what is the answer?
Ayurveda advocates the use of foods that are low in calorie but have a higher satisfaction property and take time to digest.
Treatment Principles of Obesity in Ayurveda:
During the sequential nourishing cycle of tissue system first comes fluid tissue, then blood, then flesh, then fat, then bone, then bone marrow (the nervous system), then reproductive system and finally the essence called OJAS.
In obesity the nutrients reach the fluids and blood tissue system in large quantities and are not fully digested or utilized by their respective metabolic fires. Because of the sedentary life style the muscle tissue is also inactive and thus the nutrients reach fat tissue and nourish it due to some physiological changes in the fat tissue fire (here the role of genes comes into play that predisposes a person to accumulate fat). This does not fully get burned and metabolized to nourish properly the subsequent tissue systems. The subsequent tissue – the bone, the marrow (including the nervous system) and the reproductive tissue are depleted. That is why we see more of osteoporosis, hormonal disturbances and decreased memory, in obese people.
So the Approach to obesity management is three pronged:
1) To increase the tissue metabolic fires, mainly the muscle and fat tissue fires. – Through exercise & dry massage.
2) To control the digestive fire – by using low calorie foods that take time to digest.
3) To tame the increased Vata by medicated enemas and by nourishing the depleted tissues systems and reducing the blockage of channels by excess fat tissue.