Obesity may be described as a condition characterised by excessive deposition or storage of fat in the body. It usually results from consumption of food in excess of physiological needs. Obesity is common among people in Western countries and among the higher income groups in India and other developing countries-
Causes and Symptoms
Obesity is a serious health hazard as the extra fat puts a strain on the heart, kidneys, and liver as well as the large weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles, all of which shortens the life span. It has been truly said: ‘The longer the belt, the short6′ the life’. Overweight persons are susceptible to several diseases like coronary thrombosis, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, gout, liver, and gall-bladder disorders.
Most often, the chief cause of obesity is overeating, that is, the intake of calories beyond the body’s energy requirement. Some people have a habit of consuming high-calorie foods. Obesity is rarely the result of disturbances of the thyroid or pituitary glands. Glandular disorders account for only about two per cent of the total incidence.
Lime Juice-Honey: Fasting on lime juice-honey water is highly beneficial in the treatment of obesity. In this mode of treatment, one teaspoon of fresh honey should be mixed with the juice of half a lime in a glass of lukewarm water and taken at regular intervals.
Lemon Juice: Another effective remedy for obesity is an exclusive lemon juice diet. On the first day, the patient should be given nothing but plenty of water. On the second day, the diet should consist of the juice of three lemons, mixed with an equal amount of water. Subsequendy, one lemon should be increased each day until the juice of twelve lemons is consumed per day. Then the number of lemons should be decreased in the same order until three lemons are taken in a day. The patient may feel weak and hungry on the first two days, but afterwards, his condition will stabilise.
Jujube: The leaves of jujube or Indian plum are another valuable remedy for obesity. A handful of leaves should be soaked overnight in water and this water should be taken in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach. This treatment should be continued for at least one month to achieve beneficial results.
Finger Millet: Finger millet is an ideal food for the obese, because its digestion is slow and due to this, the carbohydrates take a longer time to get absorbed. By eating preparations made of ragi, the constant desire to eat is curbed, thus reducing the daily calorie intake. At the same time, ragi supplies an abundant quantity of calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B, and B2, and prevents malnutrition in spite of restricted food.
To begin with, the patient should undertake a juice fast for seven to ten days. Juices of lemon, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, cabbage, and celery may be taken during this period. After the juice fast, the patient should spend four or five days on an all-fruit diet, taking three meals of fresh juicy fruits daily. Thereafter, he may gradually embark upon a low-calorie, well-balanced diet of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits, with emphasis on raw fruits, vegetables, and fresh juices.
The foods which should be drastically curtailed or altogether avoided are high-fat foods such as butter, cheese, chocolate, cream, ice cream, fat meats, fried foods and gravies; high-carbohydrate foods like breads, candy, cake, cookies, cereal products, legumes, potatoes, sugar, syrup and rich puddings; beverages such as all soft drinks; and alcoholic drinks.
The patient should adopt all other natural methods of reducing weight These include exercise such as walking, swimming, bicycling, yogic asanas, and deep breathing exercises; and measures to bring on excessive perspiration such as sauna baths, steam baths, and heavy massage. Above all, obese persons should make every effort to avoid negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, hostility, and insecurity, and develop a positive outlook on life.