Ayurveda and Obesity

Ayurveda is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning science of life, and actually is a branch of traditional Indian medicine. Using Ayurveda means actually changing not only the way you eat, but also the way that you see yourself and your body. In Ayurveda, you dont objectivize your body as a “thing”, but realize your body as a system of energy that is constantly changing. Realizing that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced completely within less than one year helps you to understand that nothing about your body is static, and if you wish it to change, then change is actually easy. What needs to be done is to retrain the body and its cells to think differently, and to stop responding randomly to external stimuli. This is putting an end to what is called self-referral.

The first step is very simple; when you are hungry then eat, but when you are not dont eat. Although this seems over simplistic, in this practice is the key to conquering most cases of obesity. Americans eat impulsively more so than any other culture in the world, and that means we eat often when we are not hungry. We tend to eat because we see food we like, or when we sit down to watch a movie, or perhaps when we are sad or feeling depressed. We have learned to use food as a pacifier, a stimulant, and a hobby. The key is unlearning this behavior.

Increasing your awareness of actual hunger, including the time you are actually eating, will help you limit your diet. You should eat only when you feel your tank on empty so to speak. Eat to satisfaction, the point where the sensation of hunger has left, not to the point where you are uncomfortable and cannot eat another bite. Start a log, preferably in a small pocket notepad that you can carry with you to work and use at home, and record each time you feel hungry and when you ate just to satisfaction. Within two weeks time, your body will begin to significantly be retrained to eat only when hungry, and only for nourishment. Once this two week time period has passed, begin to set definite times when you eat your meals: a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, without fail. When doing this, make lunch your largest meal, with very small breakfasts and dinners.

The next step would be to eat right for your body type. In Ayurveda there are three basic body types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The Vata body is one that belongs to a person that is very active and quick, has a very thin build, gets cold easily, tends to speak very quickly and be very talkative, usually has dry skin, and is a very light sleeper.

Pitta characteristics include being very orderly, forceful, very intolerant of hot weather, easy to perspire, having reddish, sandy, or blond hair, stubborn, intolerant of spicy foods, very self-critical and critical of others, determined, and impatient. The Kapha body is a person that naturally moves slow, gains weight easily and loses it slowly if at all, tends to be thick-built, is ironically good at skipping meals without discomfort, has a tendency to develop phlegm, needs a full eight hours of sleep to feel rested, sleeps very deeply, tends to have dark thick hair, tends to be very affectionate and understanding, usually walks slowly, and generally enjoys a steady level of energy.

Each type of person has different dietary needs. Some people of course share several of these factors equally, and therefore have combination bodies. The descriptions given are only a general guide; for a detailed test, visit online at www.ayurvedahc.com and take the free test to determine your type.

Generally, one who has a Kapha body type has the hardest time with losing weight, so we will concentrate on foods that reduce the Kapha influence. If you consume milk, switch to low-fat milk instead of whole milk, and boiling the milk before drinking it makes it easier to digest. It is best to drink the milk warm, because cold milk increases your Kapha. If you decide you cannot tolerate warm milk, you should give up milk all together. Eat plenty of foods that are spicy or bitter, yet avoid salt.

Avoid red meat if you eat meat, and eat white meat chicken or turkey, or opt for fish. Beans are also an excellent source of protein when avoiding or cutting back on meat consumption. Eat plenty of light fruits, such as pears, apples, cranberries, and pomegranates. Sweeten your foods when necessary with honey instead of sugar, as honey reduces Kapha very well. When choosing grains, barley, corn, buckwheat, rye, and millet are very light grains that are good for your consumption. All vegetables are good to eat, however vegetables that are especially beneficial to reduce Kapha include eggplant, radishes, beets, all green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, and celery.

In Ayurveda, food is preferably prepared by cooking, since it makes for easier digestion than eating raw foods, however an occasional salad is not harmful. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, fried foods, packaged foods, soft drinks, and deep-fried foods.

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