According to Ayurveda, the body weight of an individual depends upon their prakriti. Hence, the prakriti of the person should be diagnosed first depending upon their doshic content. Find out your Dosha here: Dosha Calculator.
Once you find out your dosha, you should detoxify/cleanse your body by panchakarma, which improves your digestion and metabolism to help lose weight. Poor digestion creates toxins and impurities which contribute to weight gain.
If you are a kapha prakriti person, then you are prone to gain weight and are always five to ten pounds overweight no matter how little you eat, it would go against your nature to ever be really thin. Rather, it would be better to balance your metabolism, increase your ability to digest sugars and carbohydrates by adopting a Kapha balancing diet and lifestyle.
Tastes to balance Kapha dosha are bitter and astringent tastes. Examples are Brussels sprouts, green leafy veggies, broccoli, bitter gourd, cauliflower, split moong dal soup and bean soup, etc. It’s important to cook your vegetables and eat them warm. Rich desserts, fried foods, foods made with refined sugar and refined flour, cold foods and drinks should be avoided if you want to balance Kapha and your weight.
The digestive fire is weaker in the morning when you wake up and in the evening before bed, so breakfast and dinner should be lighter meals compared to lunch. A healthy supper for a Kapha person might be soup made with vegetables, grains and dhal and flavoured with spices such as cumin, fresh ginger, black pepper, and turmeric or kitchari (a light meal made with rice and split mung dhal) is also a light Kapha-reducing meal.
Vata predominant people are usually lean and skinny. They are more susceptible to mental stress. Under stress they tend to forget to eat regularly, thus disturbing their digestion, which leads to production of ama (toxins). This ama clogs the srotas (minute channels) and results in obesity.
Avoid foods that are too hot and spicy (such as food spiced with chillies, cayenne, and black mustard seed), and at the same time avoid foods that are ice cold, such as ice cream, iced drinks, and cold, heavy desserts. Also avoid foods that are too light and dry, such as crackers, cold cereals, and packaged snacks. In general, avoid leftovers, frozen, canned or packaged foods, and processed foods.
A regular routine adequate sleep is one of the best antidotes to Vata imbalance. Three freshly cooked, warm meals are essential at proper timing. It’s important to eat them at the same time every day, as Vata digestion tends to be irregular. By eating at the same time, your digestive enzymes will prepare to digest the food and digestion will be stronger
The person with high Pitta should get into the habit of eating three meals a day, starting with a little heavy breakfast. This is very important, as otherwise the stomach will be irritated by digestive acids and causes gastritis.
Radish is good for losing weight. This white radish can be grated and added to dhal soups for a mildly spicy flavor. Include sweet vegetables for lunch and dinner, such as squashes that are white inside (zucchini, pumpkin, loki or yellow squash). Steam them well and then sauté them in ghee with mild spices like powdered fennel, small amounts of cumin and turmeric.
Ayurvedic Dietary Guidelines
Ayurveda suggests that the biggest meal should be eaten at midday when the digestion is strongest.
A healthy diet is the one which is high in nutrients, low in fat and moderate in calories:
- Fiber should be at least 1.4 oz a day.
- Maintain 3 main meals a day and avoid repeated snacking or munching. Leave at least 4-5 hours time gap in between meals.
- Bakery products and fast foods should be replaced by simple whole cooked cereals.
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, so you can cut down on rice and other carbs.
- Dinner should be lightest and should be taken 2 hours before going to bed.
- Drink hot or lukewarm water. Avoid drinking large quantity of water just before and after meals.
- Replace normal rice with brown rice. Include barley, bran, oats, wheat, flax seeds and olive oil in your diet.
- Avoid curds and replace freshly prepared and well churned butter milk spiced with jeera, mustard, ginger and curry leaves.
Foods to be Avoided:
- Sugar intake should be reduced.
- Avoid white flour and its products, fruit juices made of sugar syrup or corn syrup, aerated drinks. White flour and its products should be replaced with whole grains, whole wheat or soya products and unpolished rice.
- Avoid alcohol and minimise tea/coffee intake.
- Avoid rice, potatoes, carrots, breads and banana – they increase the calorie levels.
Exercise and Yoga
- Regular exercise, aerobic fitness and increasing daily physical activity, such as walking and using stairs, is also effective.
- Day sleep is generally to be avoided. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Undergoing yoga and pranayama procedures are highly recommended.
- Brisk Walk for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Practise Deep breathing and meditation 10-15 minutes every day.
If you follow all of the above, you should start losing around 2 kgs every month. If you are unable to lose weight, test for your thyroid hormone levels.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Weight Loss
Following are a few Ayurvedic therapies and medicines, which can help you lose weight:
- Vamana, virechana, basti and udwartana.
- Triphala guggulu, navaka guggulu, Triphala capsules, Medohar active capsules.
- Pathyadi churna and triphala churna.