The stats today are downright devastating: Over two-thirds of American adults are considered to be overweight and obese. Many of these people feel like there’s no turning back—most believe they’re just not strong enough. But it’s not that simple and that’s good news.
Ayurveda doesn’t look at obesity as one problem but focuses on figuring out why a unique body (or constitution) becomes obese. This is a highly individualized approach that does not treat every person the same way. Ayurveda looks to solve the underlying cause of what may be preventing the body to maintain a normal weight—and it often comes down to the concept of ama.
Role Of Ama In Obesity
In Ayurveda, the word ama represents toxins, but in a broader sense. In her book The Prime: Prepare and Repair your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss, integrative neurologist Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary outlines the role of ama in its physical (artificial sweeteners, pesticides, undigested proteins, etc.) and mental forms (repressed emotions). “The Ayurvedic perspective does not distinguish between toxins that are in the body and those that are in the mind,” she writes.
If you don’t remove this accumulation of ama, weight loss will continue to elude you. The main reason is because your fat cells are actually trying to protect you. When you can’t eliminate your toxins sufficiently, your fat cells will store them away. This is a major reason why many people struggle with losing weight—a toxic body holds onto the fat as tightly as it can.
How To Detox Without Deprivation
Just a quick detox or cleanse will not do much to get rid of the buildup of ama. In fact, extreme detoxes can be harmful to the body, releasing toxins far too quickly, and only few of them actually promote long-term change.
Ayurveda suggests a few things that you can use immediately to start clearing out that ama gunk. These will get your detoxification systems back on track so that you can start to reduce weight, reduce your cravings, and reset your biochemistry to its optimal functioning level. These are the first steps in combating obesity.
1. Prime Tea
This is Dr. Chaudhary’s quick and easy drink to help heal the gut, improve nutrient absorption, and stimulate the digestive and lymphatic systems. Simply boil 4–5 cups of water and add ½ teaspoon each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Boil water with these seeds for 5–10 minutes and then strain. You can also add ½ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds if experiencing a lot of gas. Sip on the tea all day, up until dinnertime.
2. Dry Brushing
This exfoliating technique removes dead layers of skin, effectively sloughing off waste and unclogging the sweat glands. It also gets the lymphatic system moving, which increases the body’s ability to detoxify and decreases fluid buildup in your fat cells.
In Ayurveda, dry brushing is typically done with a raw silk glove (you can get these online). Massage the skin toward the heart and in the direction of the lymph nodes for 5–10 minutes before bathing.
This traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation is made up of three dried and ground berries: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. All three berries work together to create a potent, antioxidant-packed triumvirate. Triphala helps repair the mucosal lining in the gut, cleanse the colon, stabilize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and flush out the “fake fat”—which can make you look puffy and chubby—residing in the lymphatic system.
Start with 1,000 milligrams (it can be found in capsule and powdered form) every evening before bed with a glass of room-temperature water.
Fiber helps carry waste out (including bad bacteria in the gut) while feeding the good bacteria in the gut; this can help reduce your cravings for sugar and fat.
Start with 1 teaspoon each of ground flax seeds and psyllium husks in a glass of room-temperature water. Drink this concoction every other night.
As mentioned earlier, ama can also accumulate from emotional and mental stress. Meditation may be the most effective (easiest and cheapest) way to reduce stress and sort out any unresolved feelings you’ve stored deep in your tissues.
Start by sitting quietly with no distractions and focus on your breathing for 15–20 minutes once a day. Beginners can refer to several easily available resources to help you guide through meditation.
To know more about Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary and her Ayurvedic treatments, visit her web site.