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Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index Chart/Table

How is body fat measured?

Does it matter where body fat is located? (Is it worse to be an 'apple' or a 'pear'?)

What are the health risks associated with obesity?

What is the role of physical activity and exercise in obesity?

What is the role of diet in the treatment of obesity?

Weight management has become the topic of the century. In a survey done by a leading hospital in India in 2003 it was found that nearly 71% of employees and 82% of CEOs were overweight and 48% of the employees and 69% of CEOs were physically unfit. 

With rising problems of excess weight and other weight related health risks, maintaining normal body weight has become every adult’s concern. Weight management can be defined as a conscious effort by an overweight, underweight or obese person to attain an ideal healthy weight. We need to understand that weight management is required at times for weight management but weight loss can have a slightly different meaning then weight management.

Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health or physical fitness, is reduction of the total body weight, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon and other connective tissue. It can occur unintentionally due to an underlying disease or can arise from a conscious effort to improve an overweight or obese state

It is really very important to note that when getting into weight management the main concern has to be reaching a level of good health and having an ideal weight through proper cardio, diet and strength training.

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. A certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions. The normal amount of body fat (expressed as percentage of body fat) is between 25%-30% in women and 18%-23% in men.

Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties during sleep, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food energy intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness. Evidence to support the view that some obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is limited; on average obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.

Though obesity was earlier perceived as a symbol of wealth and fertility, today it is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing prevalence in adults and children, and is viewed as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI), a measurement which compares weight and height, defines people as overweight (pre-obese) if their BMI is between 25 and 30 kg/m2, and obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m2.

The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, (invented by Adolphe Quetelet), for human body fat is based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. Body mass index is defined as the individual's body weight divided by the square of his or her height. The formulae universally used in medicine produce a unit of measure of kg/m2. BMI can also be determined using a BMI chart.

BMI is closely related to both percentage body fat and total body fat. In children, a healthy weight varies with age and sex. Obesity in children and adolescents is defined not as an absolute number, but in relation to a historical normal group, such that obesity is a BMI greater than the 95th percentile. The reference data on which these percentiles are based are from 1963 to 1994, and thus have not been affected by the recent increases in weight.

BMI Classification
< 18.5 underweight
18.5–24.9 normal weight
25.0–29.9 overweight
30.0–34.9 class I obesity
35.0–39.9 class II obesity
≥ 40.0

  class III obesity  

Any BMI ≥ 35 or 40 is severe obesity

  • A BMI of ≥ 35 or 40–44.9 or 49.9 is morbid obesity
  • A BMI of ≥ 45 or 50 is super obesity

Body Mass Index Chart/Table
Use this chart to find out your BMI. The first row indicates the weight in kilograms and second row indicates the weight in pounds. Height is given in feet and inches. Based on the weight and height, Body Mass Index is given below

wt(kg)> 45 50 55 60> 65> 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115
wt(lb) 99 110 121 132 143 154 165 176 187 198 209 220 <231 242 253
ht(ft,in) BMI
4'5" 25 27 30 33 36 38 41 44 47 49 52 55 58 60 63
4'6" 24 27 29 32 35 37 40 43 45 48 51 53 56 59 61
4'7" 23 26 28 31 33 36 38 41 43 46 48 51 54 56 59
4'8" 22 25 27 30 32 35 37 40 42 45 47 50 52 55 57
4'9" 21 24 26 29 31 33 36 38 40 43 45 48 50 52 55
4'10" 21 23 25 28 30 32 35 37 39 42 44 46 49 51 53
4'11" 20 22 24 27 29 31 33 36 38 40 42 44 47 49 51
5'0" 19 22 24 26 28 30 32 35 37 39 41 43 45 48 50
5'1" 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 40 42 44 46 48
5'2" 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 37 39 41 43 45 47
5'3" 18 20 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45
5'4" 17 19 21 23 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 41 43
5'5" 17 18 20 22 24 26 28 29 31 33 35 37 39 40 42
5'6" 16 18 19 21 23 25 27 28 30 32 34 35 37 39 41
5'7" 16 17 19 21 22 24 26 28 29 31 33 35 36 38 40
5'8" 15 17 18 20 22 23 25 27 28 30 32 33 35 37 38
5'9" 15 16 18 20 21 23 24 26 28 29 31 33 34 36 38
5'10" 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25 27 28 30 32 33 35 36
5'11" 14 15 17 19 20 22 23 25 26 28 29 31 32 34 35
6'0" 13 15 16 18 19 21 22 24 25 27 28 30 31 33 34
6'1" 13 15 16 18 19 20 22 23 25 26 28 29 31 32 34
6'2" 13 14 16 17 18 20 21 23 24 25 27 28 30 31 33
6'3" 12 14 15 16 18 19 21 22 23 25 26 27 29 30 32
6'4" 12 13 15 16 17 19 20 21 23 24 26 27 28 30 31
6'5" 12 13 14 16 17 18 20 21 22 23 25 26 27 29 30
6'6" 11 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 22 23 24 26 27 28 29
6'7" 11 12 14 15 16 17 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28
How is body fat measured?
Measuring a person's body fat percentage is not easy. It can be inaccurate if the methods are not monitored carefully. The following methods require special equipment, trained personnel, can be costly, and some are only available in certain research facilities:

  • Underwater weighing (hydrostatic weighing): This method weighs a person underwater and then calculates lean body mass (muscle) and body fat. This method is one of the most accurate ones; however, it is generally done in special research facilities, and the equipment is costly.
  • BOD POD: The BOD POD is a computerized, egg-shaped chamber. Using the same whole-body measurement principle as hydrostatic weighing, the BOD POD measures a subject's mass and volume, from which their whole-body density is determined. Using this data, body fat and lean muscle mass can then be calculated.
  • DEXA: Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is used to measure bone density. It uses X-rays to determine not only the percentage of body fat, but also where, and how much fat is located in the body.

The two methods given below are simple and are commonly used in health clubs and weight loss centers. However, these can yield inaccurate results if an inexperienced person performs them or they are used on someone with significant obesity.

  • Skin callipers: This method measures the skin fold thickness of the layer of fat just under the skin in several parts of the body with callipers (a metal tool similar to forceps); the results are then used to calculate the percentage of body fat.
  • Bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA): This is another seemingly simple method. There are two methods of the BIA. One involves standing on a special scale with footpads. A harmless amount of electrical current is sent through the body, and then percentage of body fat is calculated. The other type of BIA, involves electrodes that are typically placed on a wrist and an ankle, and on the back of the right hand and on the top of the foot. The change in voltage between the electrodes is measured. The person's body fat percentage is then calculated from the results of the BIA.
Does it matter where body fat is located? (Is it worse to be an 'apple' or a 'pear'?)
Concern is directed not only at how much fat a person has but also where that fat is located on the body. The pattern of body fat distribution tends to differ in men and women.

Women typically collect fat in their hips and buttocks, giving their figures a "pear" shape. Men, on the other hand, usually collect fat around the belly, giving them more of an "apple" shape. (This is not a hard and fast rule; some men are pear-shaped and some women become apple-shaped, particularly after menopause).

Apple-shaped people whose fat is concentrated mostly in the abdomen are more likely to develop many of the health problems associated with obesity. They are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution. While obesity of any kind is a health risk, it is better to be a pear than an apple.

In order to sort the types of fruit, doctors have developed a simple way to determine whether someone is an apple or a pear. The measurement is called waist-to-hip ratio. To find out a person's waist-to-hip ratio:

  • Measure the waist at its narrowest point, and then measure the hips at the widest point.
  • Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
  • For example, a woman with a 35-inch waist and 46-inch hips would have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.76 (35 divided by 46 = 0.76).
  • Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 0.8 and men with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 1.0 are "apples."

Another rough way of estimating the amount of a person's abdominal fat is by measuring the waist circumference. Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater and women with a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater are considered to have increased health risks related to obesity.

What are the health risks associated with obesity?
Insulin Resistance. Insulin is necessary for the transport of blood glucose (sugar) into the cells of muscle and fat (which is then used for energy). By transporting glucose into cells, insulin keeps the blood glucose levels in the normal range. Insulin resistance (IR) is the condition whereby the effectiveness of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) into cells is diminished. Fat cells are more insulin resistant than muscle cells; therefore, one important cause of insulin resistance is obesity. The pancreas initially responds to insulin resistance by producing more insulin. As long as the pancreas can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance, blood glucose levels remain normal. This insulin resistance state (characterized by normal blood glucose levels and high insulin levels) can last for years. Once the pancreas can no longer keep up with producing high levels of insulin, blood glucose levels begin to rise, resulting in type 2 diabetes, thus insulin resistance is a pre-diabetes condition. In fact scientists now believe that the atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) associated with diabetes likely develops during this insulin resistance period.

Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with the degree and duration of obesity. Type 2 diabetes is associated with central obesity; a person with central obesity has excess fat around his/her waist, so that the body is shaped like an apple.

High blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is common among obese adults. The risk of developing high blood pressure is also higher in obese people who are apple shaped (central obesity) than in people who are pear shaped (fat distribution mainly in hips and thighs).

High cholesterol: Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, occurs when there is too much cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance that is a natural component of all the cells of the body. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Any added cholesterol, which comes through the foods you eat, can cause harm.

High cholesterol raises your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. When there is too much cholesterol circulating in the blood, it can create sticky deposits (called plaque) along the artery walls. Plaque can eventually narrow or block the flow of blood to the brain, heart, and other organs. And blood cells that get caught on the plaque form clots, which can break loose and completely block blood flow through an artery, causing heart attack or stroke.

Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA): This is the medical term for what is commonly termed a stroke. It refers to the injury to the brain that occurs when flow of blood to brain tissue is interrupted by a clogged or ruptured artery, causing brain tissue to die because of lack of nutrients and oxygen. CVA is the leading cause of adult disability in the world and one-quarter of all strokes are fatal. Stroke is one of the leading cause of death and disability, worldwide.

Heart attack. Heart attack (Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), is the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. Indians have become more prone to heart attacks in recent times.

A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), suggests that Indians and other South Asians have heart attacks at a much younger age compared to other ethnic groups because of higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The risk factors for heart disease included smoking, high cholesterol levels, hypertension and diabetes, which is seen among people in all countries, but among South Asians, harmful factors such as cholesterol and history of diabetes were more common. The study dispels the myth that heart disease was a rich man's disease as at least 60 per cent of the Indian participants were from the lower and middle-income groups.

According to the study, the mean age for first heart attack among persons in South Asian countries was 53 years, while it was 59 years for those in other countries.

Another study found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease increased three to four times in women who had a BMI greater than 29.

Other risk factors are:

Congestive heart failure: Doctors have suspected for a long time that overweight patients appear to have an increased risk of developing heart failure, but most believed that the heart failure resulted from the diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease associated with obesity. Studies have now shown that obesity itself (and not just the associated medical conditions) can lead to heart failure. Furthermore, even excess body weight - in people who are not considered obese - substantially increases the risk of heart failure.

It is known that obesity can cause left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH, or thickening of the wall of the heart's left ventricle,) for instance. Longstanding LVH can eventually lead to heart failure. Further, obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome X - a metabolic disorder that can cause serious lipid abnormalities. It is possible that the LVH and/or metabolic syndrome (neither of which were accounted for in this study) may explain some or all of the excess in heart failure observed in overweight patients.

Cancer: While not conclusively proven, some observational studies have linked obesity to cancer of the colon in men and women, cancer of the rectum and prostate in men, and cancer of the gallbladder and uterus in women. Obesity may also be associated with breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Fat tissue is important in the production of oestrogen, and prolonged exposure to high levels of oestrogen increases the risk of breast cancer.

Gallstones: Obese individuals are more likely to develop gallstones than those who are at a healthier weight. For women, obesity is an even stronger risk factor for developing gallstones. Obese individuals tend to produce higher levels of cholesterol than normal. This leads to production of bile that contains more cholesterol than can be dissolved. When this happens, gallstones can form from the undissolved cholesterol.

Additionally, in the obese, gallbladders may not empty normally or completely.

Those who have excess fat around their stomach (abdominal obesity) may be at a greater risk for developing gallstones than those who carry excess fat mainly around their hip and thigh areas.

As BMI increases, the risk for developing gallstones also rises. Women with a BMI greater than 32 may be as much as three times as likely to develop gallstones as those with a BMI of 24 or 25. The risk may be seven times higher in women with a BMI above 45 than in those with a BMI under 24.

It's important to note that rapid weight loss (more than three pounds per week) due to crash dieting or losing a large amount of weight too soon can actually increase your chances of developing gallstones, too. Slower weight loss of about one-half to two pounds a week is much less likely to cause gallstones.

Although losing weight may increase the risk of developing gallstones, obesity poses an even greater risk. Weight loss can lower the risk of developing gallstones and many other obesity-related illnesses. Just a 10% reduction of body weight can lower disease risk. Losing 10% of your current weight over the next six months is a realistic goal that can significantly improve your life and your overall health.


Gout: When a person is obese, there is an extra pressure on body joints. There are also chemical changes in the body due to the fat tissue. These two factors can increase the risk of gout. An obese person is 4 times more likely to get gout than a non-obese person.

Overeating and being overweight have been associated with gout. People with higher BMI have increased uric acid levels, which increases the risk of gout. However, the good news is that with weight loss, the uric acid levels in the blood are decreased.

As obesity is a risk factor of getting gout, it is important for people to start exercising and eat healthy. According to the dietary guidelines released by the U.S. government, about 60 minutes of physical activity is needed for adults every day

Obesity and body fat are major factors which increase the risk of gout. Hence, by losing weight you would not only be healthy, but also significantly decrease your chances of getting gout.


Sleep Apnoea: Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (also known as Pickwickian syndrome) is a condition in which severely overweight people fail to breathe rapidly enough or deeply enough, resulting in low blood oxygen levels and high blood carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Many people with this condition also frequently stop breathing altogether for short periods of time during sleep (obstructive sleep apnoea), resulting in many partial awakenings during the night, which leads to continual sleepiness during the day. The disease puts strain on the heart, which eventually may lead to the symptoms of heart failure. The most effective treatment is weight loss.

Reasons for Obesity

  • Genetics. A person is more likely to develop obesity if one or both parents are obese. Genetics also affect hormones involved in fat regulation. For example, one genetic cause of obesity is leptin deficiency. Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells, and also in the placenta. Leptin controls weight by signalling the brain to eat less when body fat stores are too high. If, for some reason the body cannot produce enough leptin, or leptin cannot signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost, and obesity occurs. The role of leptin replacement as a treatment for obesity is currently being explored.
  • Overeating. Overeating leads to weight gain, especially if the diet is high in fat. Foods high in fat or sugar (for example, fast food, fried food, and sweets) have high energy density (foods that have a lot of calories in a small amount of food). Epidemiologic studies have shown that diets high in fat contribute to weight gain.
  • A diet high in simple carbohydrates. The role of carbohydrates in weight gain is not clear. Carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels, which in turn stimulate insulin release by the pancreas, and insulin promotes the growth of fat tissue and can cause weight gain. Some scientists believe that simple carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, desserts, soft drinks, beer, wine, etc.) contribute to weight gain because they are more rapidly absorbed into the blood-stream than complex carbohydrates (pasta, brown rice, grains, vegetables, raw fruits, etc.) and thus cause a more pronounced insulin release after meals than complex carbohydrates. This higher insulin release, some scientists believe, contributes to weight gain.
  • Frequency of eating. The relationship between frequency of eating (how often you eat) and weight is somewhat controversial. There are many reports of overweight people eating less often than people with normal weight. Scientists have observed that people who eat small meals four or five times daily, have lower cholesterol levels and lower and/or more stable blood sugar levels than people who eat less frequently (two or three large meals daily). One possible explanation is that small frequent meals produce stable insulin levels, whereas large meals cause large spikes of insulin after meals.
  • Slow metabolism. Women have less muscle than men. Muscle burns (metabolizes) more calories than other tissue (which includes fat). As a result, women have a slower metabolism than men, and hence, have a tendency to put on more weight than men, and weight loss is more difficult for women. As we age, we tend to lose muscle and our metabolism slows; therefore, we tend to gain weight as we get older particularly if we do not reduce our daily caloric intake.
  • Physical inactivity. Sedentary people burn fewer calories than people who are active. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that physical inactivity was strongly correlated with weight gain in both sexes.
  • Medications. Medications associated with weight gain include certain antidepressants (medications used in treating depression), anti-convulsants [medications used in controlling seizures such as carbamazepine diabetes medications (medications used in lowering blood sugar such as insulin), certain hormones such as oral contraceptives and most corticosteroids such as Prednisone. Weight gain may also be seen with some high blood pressure medications and antihistamines.
  • Psychological factors. For some people, emotions influence eating habits. Many people eat excessively in response to emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress or anger. While most overweight people have no more psychological disturbances than normal weight people, about 30 percent of the people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating.
  • Diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome and Cushing's syndrome, are also contributors to obesity
What is the role of physical activity and exercise in obesity?
Surveys have showed that people who engage in limited recreational activity were more likely to gain weight than more active people. Other studies have shown that people who engage in regular strenuous activity gain less weight than sedentary people.

Physical activity and exercise help burn calories. The amount of calories burned depends on the type, duration, and intensity of the activity. It also depends on the weight of the person. A 90 kg person will burn more calories running 1.5 km than a 55 kg person, because the work of carrying those extra 35kgs must be factored in.

Exercise as a treatment for obesity is only effective when combined with a diet and weight-loss programme. Exercise alone without dietary changes will have a limited effect on weight because one has to exercise a lot to simply lose one kilogram. However, regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight for the long term. Another advantage of regular exercise as part of a weight-loss program is a greater loss of body fat versus lean muscle compared to those who diet alone.

Other benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved blood sugar control and increased insulin sensitivity (decreased insulin resistance)
  • Reduced triglyceride levels and increased "good" HDL cholesterol levels
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • A reduction in abdominal fat
  • Reduced risk of heart disease.

Remember, these health benefits can occur independently (with or without) achieving weight loss. Before starting an exercise program, you should talk to your doctor about the type and intensity of the exercise program.

General exercise recommendations:

  • 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 to 7 days a week, preferably daily. Types of exercise include walking, stationary bicycling, walking or jogging on a treadmill, stair climbing machines, jogging, and swimming.
  • Exercise can be broken up into smaller 10-minute sessions.
  • Start slowly and progress gradually to avoid injury, excessive soreness, or fatigue. Over time, build up to 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
  • People are never too old to start exercising. Even frail, elderly individuals (ages 70-90 years) can improve their strength and balance.

Exercise precautions:

The following people should consult a doctor before vigorous exercise:

  • Men over age 40 or women over age 50.
  • Individuals with heart or lung disease, asthma, arthritis, or osteoporosis.
  • Individuals who experience chest pressure or pain with exertion, or who develop fatigue or shortness of breath easily.
  • Individuals with conditions or lifestyle factors that increase their risk of developing coronary heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol, or having family members with early onset heart attacks and coronary heart disease.
  • A patient who is obese
What is the role of diet in the treatment of obesity?
The first goal of dieting is to stop further weight gain. The next goal is to establish realistic weight loss goals. While the ideal weight corresponds to a BMI of 20-25, this is difficult to achieve for many people. Thus success is higher when a goal is set to lose 10% to 15% of baseline weight as opposed to 20% to 30% or greater. It is also important to remember that any weight reduction in an obese person would result in health benefits.

One effective way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories. One kilogramme is equal to 7700 calories. In other words, you have to burn 7700 more calories than you consume to lose one kilogramme. Most adults need between 1200- 2800 calories/day, depending on body size and activity level to meet the body's energy needs.

If you skip that bowl of ice cream, then you will be one-seventh of the way to losing that pound! Losing one kilogramme per week is a safe and reasonable way to target off extra pounds. The higher the initial weight of a person, the more quickly he/she will achieve weight loss. This is because for every one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight, approximately 22 calories are required to maintain that weight. So for a woman weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds), he or she would require about 2200 calories a day to maintain his or her weight, while a person weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds) would require only about 1320 calories. If both ate a calorie-restricted diet of 1200 calories per day, the heavier person would lose weight faster. Age also is a factor in calorie expenditure. Metabolic rate tends to slow as we age, so the older a person is, the harder it is to lose weight.

There is controversy in regard to carbohydrates and weight loss. When carbohydrates are restricted, people often experience rapid initial weight loss within the first two weeks. This weight loss is due mainly to fluid loss. When carbohydrates are added back to the diet, weight gain often occurs, simply due to a regain of the fluid.

General diet guidelines for achieving and (just as importantly) maintaining a healthy weight:

  • A safe and effective long-term weight reduction and maintenance diet has to contain balanced, nutritious foods to avoid vitamin deficiencies and other diseases of malnutrition.
  • Eat more nutritious foods that have "low energy density." Low energy dense foods contain relatively few calories per unit weight (fewer calories in a large amount of food). Examples of low energy dense foods include vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, grains, and beans. For example, you can eat a large volume of celery or carrots without taking in many calories.
  • Eat less "energy dense foods." Energy dense foods are high in fats and simple sugars. They generally have a high calorie value in a small amount of food. A healthy diet should have less than 30% fat. Fat contains twice as many calories per unit weight than protein or carbohydrates. Examples of high-energy dense foods include red meat, egg yolks, fried foods, high fat/sugar fast foods, sweets, pastries, butter, and high fat salad dressings. Also cut down on foods that provide calories but very little nutrition, such as alcohol, non-diet soft drinks, and many packaged high-calorie snack foods.
  • About 55% of calories in the diet should be from complex carbohydrates. Eat more complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, fruits and vegetables. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as table sugars, sweets, doughnuts, cakes, and muffins. Cut down on non-diet soft drinks, these sugary soft drinks are loaded with simple carbohydrates and calories. Simple carbohydrates cause excessive insulin release by the pancreas, and insulin promotes growth of fat tissue.
  • Educate yourself in reading food labels and estimating calories and serving sizes.
  • Consult your doctor before starting any dietary changes. You doctor should prescribe the amount of daily calories in your diet.

Ayurvedic Weight Management Programme

The Ayurvedic weight management treatment takes a different approach as compared to the Western fat loss method. This modern perspective of weight loss relies upon the reduction of pounds or kilos of fat. Ayurveda, however, deals with the problem of obesity with a holistic perspective.

In Ayurveda being underweight or overweight are signs that the vata, pitta, and kapha systems are out of balance. This can happen irrespective of how much or how little food you eat. Weight control problems happen when your food intake is not balanced by a proper digestion or metabolism.

Overweight or obesity is mostly found in people with predominantly kapha-type constitutions. This dosha is composed of water and earth. When it is imbalanced, the heavy characteristics of these elements become exaggerated.

However, obesity can be found in people with the other two doshas also. For example, people with pitta dosha are generally of medium build. But they can suffer from poor digestion if their digestive fire is too low because they have burned themselves out. As a result, food isn't processed properly, and that, in turn, can result in weight gain or obesity. For people with vata dosha the problem generally is that of underweight rather than overweight. They cannot properly absorb nutrients. However, they can become overweight when imbalanced if they attempt to eat sweet, oily foods in an attempt to calm their vata imbalance.

The Ayurvedic approach to achieving your ideal weight is based on taking a realistic look at your body type and what it can be, and then nourishing it back to natural health. It is about getting to know your body and becoming in tune with its rhythms. Ayurveda will help you reset your mind-body's ability to regulate itself by calming the nervous system, enhancing your digestive fires, and regulating the storage of energy and fat.

In Ayurveda, there is no universal approach to solving problems. The weight management regimen is customized for after a careful analysis of the condition of the person - mind, body, and the soul. The specific approach depends on the dosha of the person.

At our centres we make the weight loss experience enjoyable healing for the mind body and spirit! The length of the programme could range from 15 days to several weeks, depending on the obesity of the individual. The treatment would consist of the following components:

Udwarthanam (Herbal Weight loss & Obesity Massage)This is a specialized Ayurveda herbal massage treatment for effective weight reduction. An herbal paste / powder is applied all over the body and deeply massaged with specific movements by two therapists for one hour every day. This therapy is very effective in naturally reducing weight. It also helps remove cellulite, revitalizes the sense of touch, gives a good complexion to the skin, removes toxins from the body, and tones the skin & muscles after child birth.

Ila kizhi

It is a highly effective cleansing treatment which cleanses especially the fat and muscle tissues. Different fresh sautéed leaves covered in special oils are tied to bundles then dipped into warm dedicated oil and massaged by two therapists all over the body for about 45 to 60 minutes .This treatment is normally done only after Abhyangam.

Sarvanga Kashaya Dhara - This treatment is a kind of sudation therapy using herbal decoctions. In this process, the body is made to perspire by pouring a warm decoction from special herbs from a special vessel placed at a certain height. It is rubbed onto the body in a rhythmic manner. This method removes ‘ama’ or toxins from the tissues and promotes fat metabolism, removes tension from the muscles and is also good for pain and stiffness of the joints and muscles, fibromyalgia etc.


This is one of the Panchakarma procedures that is used to remove residual toxins in the small intestine. This is a gentle purgation therapy wherein patients are given various cleansing herbs and oils are ingested over a series of days. It is a medicated purgative therapy, which is given to detoxify the body and remove excess pitta.  It cleans the entire gastro-intestinal tract. The toxins are removed from the cellular level in the process. It is a seven days procedure and can be taken once in a year to cleanse the body. It is a safe process without any side effects. It is recommended for individuals with high Pitta dosha as a beautiful internal cleansing exercise. It is also recommended for weight loss.


Vamanam, one of the five therapies of Panchakarma in Ayurveda is therapeutic vomiting, which is a medicated emesis therapy. People with high imbalance of kapha are given this type of treatment, which loosens and mobilizes the toxins, in an effort to eliminate them from the body. Waste products (vitiated dosha) are eliminated through the upper gastrointestinal tract. This digestive cleansing helps to improve the immune system, reduces the risk of colon cancer and also helps with weight loss.

Popular Weight Loss Medicines in Ayurveda

  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) benefits the human immune system. It helps improve the functioning of white blood cells.
  • Triphala Choornam benefits us through its detoxifying powers. It promotes good digestion, and thus, aids in natural weight loss.
  • Shilajit is an Ayurvedic medicine that contains 83 minerals. Benefits of shilajit are many, other than weight loss, it also helps in controlling blood sugar, increases sexual capacity and has anti-aging capabilities as well.

Ingredients in Weight Loss Medicines in Ayurveda

  • Amalaki also referred to as the Indian gooseberry, is a rich source of vitamin C. It is also a natural coolant of the body. Amalaki or amla is found in many hair tonics and Ayurvedic medicines.
  • Bibhitaki also possesses many medicinal properties. It is a common herb in tonics for the brain and is used to treat ailments of the heart and eyes.
  • Haritaki is mainly used to treat health problems dealing with digestion, leprosy, anaemia etc.
  • Aloe Vera, is considered as good digestive in Ayurvedic medicine. Aleo Vera also works amazingly for the skin and body.
  • Bladderwrack, although high in iodine this herb works wonders for the body.
  • Chickweed and coconut oil are also very therapeutic.

The above mentioned weight loss medicines in Ayurveda treat weight loss by dealing with the root cause of gaining weight. So not only are you losing weight but also cleansing your body in a healthy way. If you are someone that favours the organic way of life then, Ayurveda is just the thing you need. If you are obese and have tried and failed with other fat loss programs, consider an Ayurvedic weight loss treatment which contains the herbs that will help you to attain your ideal weight.

The secrets of health are now within your reach, so go ahead and enjoy a healthy life!

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