It’s Never Too Late – The Health Risks of Obesity And How To Combat It
Obesity is accompanied by many health complications that adversely affect almost all the 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. These include diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery diseases, strokes, arthritis, hormonal imbalances and more.
The primary cause of obesity is a sedentary lifestyle 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 the 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 an obese person cannot adhere to diets involving calorie cutting.
Ayurveda advocates the use of foods that are low in calories 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, the fluid tissue comes first, followed by blood, flesh, fat, bone, bone marrow (the nervous system), the 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 lifestyle, the muscle tissue is also inactive and thus the nutrients reach the fat tissue and nourishes it (here, the role of genes comes into play that predisposes a person to accumulate fat). This extra fat does not fully get burned and metabolized to properly nourish the subsequent tissue systems. The subsequent tissues – bone, marrow (including the nervous system) and reproductive- are hence depleted. That is why we see more of osteoporosis, hormonal disturbances and decreased memory in obese individuals.
So the approach to obesity management is three-pronged:
- To increase the tissue metabolic fires, mainly the muscle and fat tissue fires, get exercise daily and do a dry massage.
- To control the digestive fire, eat low-calorie foods that take time to digest.
- Tame the increased Vata with medicated enemas. This nourishes the depleted tissue systems and reduces the blockage of channels caused by excess fat tissue.