In India, especially the urban centers, obesity or even being overweight is becoming a new epidemic. The increases in consumption of fast foods, sedentary lifestyles and stress have increased the incidence of this problem. This has in turn, led to an exponential increase in the cases of diabetes, heart diseases and blood pressure among a host of other problems.
The Ayurvedic approach
Ayurveda is a discipline, which has been practiced over many millennia and contains the collective wisdom to effectively treat problems of obesity or being overweight without side effects. According to Ayurveda, the body is made up of 7 elements or Dhatus:
6.Majja (Nervous system)
7.Shukra (Reproductive System)
However, if you are overweight then it means that due to an imbalance of the ‘Kapha’ dosha, you are accumulating more ‘meda’ or fat. Ayurveda has some very effective actions to prescribe through which you can lose weight very effectively. Some of these tips are mentioned below.
1. Drink a mixture of lemon, honey and water first thing in the morning: Drinking a mix of lemon, honey and water helps to jump start your metabolism and boost your digestive system. Drinking this regularly over a period of a few months and would help reduce your weight very quickly.
2. Meditate for at least 10 minutes a day: This is a very important step as meditation helps relax your mind, muscles and nerves and reduces stress. This enables you to take better decisions throughout the day. It also controls your appetite thus stopping you form binge eating. Meditation and relaxation have also been shown to contribute to weight loss by keeping the metabolism regulated.
3. Do at least 30 minutes of exercise: It is important that you do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily as it would regulate your metabolism and help you to keep burning fat throughout the day. Incorporating light yoga along with a brisk walk is possibly the best way to safely and easily lose weight. Some of the easiest poses to lose weight would be
-Dhanurasana or Bow pose
-Setubandhasana or Bridge pose
-Bhujangasana or Cobra pose
-Vakrasana or Half spinal Twist pose among many others
4. Consider your diet according to season: According to Ayurveda, you should be careful about what you eat during the various seasons as this will ensure maximum nutrient absorption without the deposition of fat.
5. Eat three meals a day, not more: According to Ayurveda, you should have three meals a day without any snacks in between. Have a heavy breakfast as that tends to set the tone for the day, followed by a comparatively light lunch and an even lighter dinner. This is because your digestive system functions most effectively in the morning, fairly fast at noon, but it is the most sluggish at night.
6. Go to bed early and rise early: This is often propagated as disturbances in the Circadian rhythm or the natural sleep and waking cycles are a big contributor to weight gain. Once this is properly regulated, it could result in weight loss because of your body metabolism being properly regulated.
Most people think that there is no way to lose weight other than joining a fitness centre or following a well-regulated diet chart, but there are times when taking little steps can aid in burning off extra calories and offer more weight loss. Fortunately enough, several stealthy means can help to turn up calories burn all through the day.
Rise up and sweat: If there is a lack of time to get up and hit the gym early in the morning, set the alarm at least 15 minutes early and get involved in activities that would get the metabolism stroked such as jumping jacks, crunches, squats and push-ups. This will boost the calorie burning process, and it would continue all through the day.
Raise the heart beat: One should try to increase the heart rate for one minute at a time. This process could be repeated at least ten times in a day. The additional amount of oxygen will help in keeping the individual alert, activate the lungs, heart, brain and legs. The best benefit of raising the heartbeat is that it helps in burning 300 to 400 calories a day. The most viable way of increasing the heart beat is doing 10 squats or performing lunges at the end of each hour.
Sit on the floor: When watching the television or playing with the pet or helping a young kid in his homework, one should try to sit on the ground instead of the sofa, chair or the bed. This is because when a person sits on the floor, the muscles are required to offer support and more energy is required for standing up.
Eat with the non-dominant hand: As per the reports of the University of Southern California, eating with the non-dominant hand will aid in eating less. Even though people believe that eating is a direct result of hunger, the truth is that eating is also determined by environmental cues. Disrupting the eating patterns such as switching to chopsticks or having dinner in an unfrequented part of the house can help control intake.
Pop in prune: A study conducted by a team at the University of Liverpool found that eating about 5 to 6 ounces of prunes each day for about 12 weeks can help the overweight individuals to lose about 4.4 pounds and approximately about 1 inch from the waistlines. The body can easily tolerate prunes, and it doesn’t lead to any sort of side effects. They contain high amounts of fibre and helps the individual feel fuller for longer hours.
Avoid overeating the products which are “low-fat”: This may sound absurd, but people tend to eat 50 more than required when they get hold of food that has a label saying “low fat”. This tag makes the product appear healthy and prompts the individuals to feel that they are manifesting a great feat by consuming these kinds of foods. The good rule of thumb is that one should eat the same amount of the “low fat” version of the food as he would have done with regular fat content.
It is a common notion that fats are the major culprits that lead to all the weight problems and that cutting them off entirely from the diet can be a helpful solution. There’s no need to freak out with this information because there is more explanation to it. The truth is we actually cannot live without fats. This is because fats play an important role in a healthy diet. Fatty acids from fats are essential for a healthy skin. Fats also deliver fat-soluble vitamins and are great sources of energy. This is where the part about good fats and bad fats is important, and it is essential to know which fats should be avoided and which are the ones that should be included as a part of your diet. It is also important to know the amount of fat consumption and ways to avoid trans-fats (bad fats) that cause artery clogging. Let’s make a clear classification of the good and the bad fats.
The unsaturated fats are basically the good guys and these include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. Both, when eaten in moderation, can help in lowering the risk of heart diseases as the cholesterol levels are reduced.
Polyunsaturated fats can be found mostly in vegetable oils and when substituted for saturated fats, these help in lowering the triglycerides and cholesterol levels in the blood. One such type of polyunsaturated fat with potential heart benefits is omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 is present in fish like trout, salmon, catfish etc. They are also found in walnuts and flaxseeds.
Monounsaturated fats also help in reducing heart diseases and a lot of these are consumed by Mediterranean people. These are found in olives, almonds, cashews, avocados, hazelnuts, peanut oil, canola, sesame seeds etc.
There are essentially two kinds of bad fats, saturated fats and trans fatty acids. Both can cause artery clogs and heart risks because they increase cholesterol content in the blood.
Saturated fats can be found in animal products like high-fat dairy, eggs, meat, poultry skin, vegetable fats like coconut and palm oils etc. There are a number of evidences, which suggest that saturated fats increase the risk of colon and prostate cancer. It is better to consume these in limited quantities to keep your cholesterol levels under check.
Trans fatty acids or trans fats may be naturally occurring fats, which are found in dairy and meat or the artificial ones, which are found in liquid oils that have been hardened into partially hydrogenated fats. The actual worry here are the artificial trans fats. These are used extensively in all sorts of junk food.
This is just the basic understanding about the fats, the ones which are unhealthy and the ones that are healthy for the body.
Losing weight isn't very easy, but even small healthy habits can go a long way in making your weight loss journey a little bit quick and easy. There are some dietary practices that can help you get results faster like drinking warm water in the morning as well as before meals, or snacking healthy, etc. If you're someone who wants to lose weight, then you would probably be familiar with these little tricks and home remedies for weight loss. However, there's another lesser known home remedy for weight loss, which not many weight watchers are aware of - eating garlic seeped in honey on an empty stomach. A combination of honey and garlic might not seem very appetising, but it is very beneficial, when it comes to weight loss and improving your overall well-being. Consumption of raw garlic first thing in the morning is often recommended for improving digestion and detoxifying the body.
In fact, raw garlic with water is a common home remedy for a number of health problems like hypertension, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. This is because of the many beneficial minerals and bioactive compounds present in this pale and pungent flavour enhancing vegetable.
Consuming garlic with honey also comes with its own set of health benefits, besides weight loss:
Fights cold and flu
Gives a boost to the digestive system
Detoxifies the body
Honey And Garlic For Weight Loss
Raw Garlic And Honey For Weight Loss: It fights infections and suppresses appetite
If you are someone who is in 'detox mode,' then garlic and honey is going to be a godsend for you. This is because this unusual tonic can help detoxify your body completely. But, perhaps its biggest health benefit is in aiding weight loss by stimulating appetite and boosting digestion. As health experts often say, a good digestive system is key to a quicker weight loss, honey and garlic are the ideal companions for your weight loss journey.
Raw garlic has a better nutritive profile than cooked garlic, making the former a better weight loss agent. Similarly, consuming raw honey early in the morning may help metabolise fat better. Honey is fat-free and cholesterol-free and also helps in curbing hunger pangs. It is also a source of energy, helping you sail through all your morning tasks with ease.
How To Consume Raw Garlic And Honey For Weight Loss
You can prepare the combination of honey and raw garlic and store it in a jar for daily consumption. All you need is some clean and fresh garlic cloves that are peeled, some raw or organic honey and a glass jar. Toss the peeled garlic cloves in the jar and pour the honey over them, till they're fully covered in it. Shut the lid of the jar tightly and shake it to let the honey coat the garlics completely. Let the concoction sit for some time to allow the garlic nutrients seep out into the honey and vice versa. You can pick out one garlic clove daily, crush it with a spoon or a knife and eat it on an empty stomach to achieve quicker weight loss.
Raw honey is the most original sweet liquid you will find. It is collected fresh after being produced by honeybees with the nectar they sip from flower blossoms. It is unheated, unpasteurised and unprocessed. This is not too difficult to understand as the word ‘raw’ clearly indicates being ‘uncooked’. This home remedy is good for your skin as well. This is because garlic is a natural blood purifier, which also has anti-bacterial properties. So, stop worrying about your weight and start losing it with this amazing healing combination.
Upper belly fat is a common problem for many of us. It refers to the accumulation of visceral fat around the organs in your upper abdomen, which results in an increased waist size. If you have more fat around your upper belly and waist than you would like, then just counting calories may not be entirely sufficient. While a healthy diet and regular exercise plan may help manage your weight and reduce belly fat, the last few inches of upper belly fat are far more complicated to get rid of. It takes a calculated, and consistent, plan to shed the last few inches around the upper belly. The causes of upper belly fat, or upper abdominal fat, are in most cases proportional to our lifestyle choices. For some, the reasons could be based in genetics or even hormonal fluctuations. One must consider a holistic approach that targets all these elements to change their body and achieve their desired fitness goals. But, first let's understand the basic reasons or causes of upper belly fat in detail.
Reasons For Upper Abdominal Weight Gain | 5 Things That Are Causing Your Upper Belly Woes
1. You Are Eating Unhealthy Food
We all love to devour fried foods and delightful sweet treats, don't we? From piping hot samosas, cheesy fries, butter popcorns and chicken patty burger to sugar-dipped jalebis, cheese cakes and chocolate-laden waffles, the list is never ending. Most of these foods have been termed 'unhealthy' because they don't do any good to our body and have zero nutritional value, and end up adding calories in your body. Eating junk and processed foods regularly may reduce our metabolism and contribute to a larger waist size.
2. You Are Doing Wrong Or No Work Out
If you think that cardio workouts alone can give you a fat tummy, then you are wrong. A daily run or yoga class are also important for a healthy heart and flat belly. A combination of weights and cardiovascular training could do the trick, in addition to specific exercises that target the upper belly. Strength training increases muscle mass, which further helps our body to burn more fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore, we burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle.
3. You Are Stressed
Stringent timelines, meetings, bills, traffic jams - whatever your source of stress is, having too much of it may result in excess belly fat, including the upper belly. Stress causes the body to secrete cortisol that forces the liver to release excess sugar, sometimes more than what the body requires to function, resulting in more visceral fat.
4. You Have An Erratic Sleep Cycle
Upper belly fat can also be caused due to lack of sleep or a poor sleep cycle. If you are one of those who sleep less than six hours a night, here is one simple way to shape your waistline: sleep for at least eight hours a night, it's that simple! According to various studies, it was found that those who slept six hours or less a night were more likely to gain weight than those who slept seven to eight hours a night. Enough sleep also makes sure you are more energetic through the day and less inclined to skip workout sessions!
5. You Are Getting Older (Sorry, But True!)
As we age, our body goes through numerous changes; we experience a declining metabolic rate. Various studies have shown that as we age, subcutaneous fat (below the skin) decreases and visceral fat increases. Visceral fat is an independent risk factor for many lifestyle diseases, including weight gain and the Buddha-belly mid-life waist.
As we age, our body goes through numerous changes; we experience a declining metabolic rate.
Now, that we have gone through 5 reasons that could be leading to a bulkier upper belly, let us now look at 5 simple ways to reduce this flab.
How To Reduce Upper Belly Fat | 5 Ways To Get Rid Of Upper Belly Fat
1. Drink Water
Drinking enough water regularly can keep a lot of lifestyle diseases at bay. Instead of reaching out for soda or energy drinks, drink plain water. It is known to cleanse our body and flush out all the toxins, keeping us hydrated and in shape. Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach, Shilpa Arora, says, "Water therapy magically melts stubborn fat. A tough dehydrated body will not burn calories efficiently. This potent drink in the morning will reboot your body and kick start weight loss. Try this innocent yet very effective treatment, with no side effects.
2. Eat Foods That Beat Stress
You may find some of the most effective cures for anxiety right in your kitchen. When we talk about comfort foods, don't mistake them with those cheese-laden or chocolaty foods. Look for simple ingredients with helpful nutrients that are known to beat stress. Start your day with a bowl of oats and fresh fruits like banana (rich in vitamin C, a great stress-fighting nutrient) to keep your mood swings in place. Oats boost positive energy because they are serotonin enhancers; serotonin is a chemical that makes you happy. Better still, squash your stress with coconuts. Coconuts contain medium chain fats that improve our mental health and infuse positive energy. Similarly adding lentils to your diet will help reduce tiredness and fatigue. They are packed with all types of vitamin B, which is nicknamed as 'nature's own happy pill.'
3. Maintain A Healthy Diet
Having a healthy diet is also one of the major factors that can help you get back in shape. Eat frequently, but consume smaller meals rather than eating large meals and burdening the digestive system. Simply cutting down on your carb intake may not be sufficient. You also need to look out for the Glycaemic Index of various foods that you are eating. Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood, explains the consequences of eating foods with a high glycaemic index, "It is a matter of how you mobilise the fat you consume, which will affect the visceral fat accumulation. Eating high glycaemic index foods will up your blood sugar levels suddenly. The excess sugar would eventually be stored as fat, and result in a bigger belly. Foods with low glycaemic index do not cause sudden sugar spikes; moreover, they delay your digestion and are also rich in fibre." Additionally, avoid oily and junk food like chips, baked products, cookies and sweets, and swap them with fresh fruits and vegetables salads.
4. Sleep At Least For Eight Hours
Lack of sleep slows down the metabolic activity of our body. The two hormones working in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells us when to eat, and when we are sleep-deprived, our body produces more ghrelin; whereas, leptin is the hormone that tells us to stop eating. When a person is sleep deprived, s/he has less leptin in their body. According to Delhi-based Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Datta, "You need eight hours of good quality sleep daily. People might argue that it is not essential, but sleep deprivation along with damaging your health, may also induce weight gain."
5. Exercise At Least Four Days A Week
Exercising is the best way to burn calories, build muscles and get rid of belly fat. We are not telling you it's going to be easy, we are telling you it's going to be worthwhile. Exercise for a minimum of 45 minutes, four days a week. You may consider hitting a gym, swimming, yoga, or simply brisk walking, the choice is yours!
So, there you have it, 10 important points to help you get rid of that excess upper belly fat.
In conclusion, if you want to lose upper belly fat, then start with changing your diet, drink more water, avoid stress, sleep for a minimum eight hours a night and exercise regularly. With some effort in understanding the reasons behind your weight gain, you will be able to achieve your desired fitness goals.