What is Obesity?
Obesity is an excess of body fat. If your body mass index (BMI) is more than 30%, you are medically considered to be obese while overweight is considered 25-29.9%. You can find out your BMI here. Although BMI is not accurate in all people, it tends to be pretty accurate for the general population (within a percentage point or two). It tends to be inaccurate for extremely muscular or well-built people (like professional athletes or body builders).
What causes obesity?
Simply put, obesity is caused by eating more calories than you are burning. This is very easy to do with the standard American diet. Did you know that the average American consumes 3,770 calories per day (as of 2013)?* That is nearly double the daily recommended intake of calories. There are, of course, many illness-related reasons why people gain weight. For the vast majority of people, however, obesity is caused by eating too much. Some other reasons people might be obese include:
What Herbs Or Herbal Combination May Be Helpful With The Challenges Of Obesity?
Here are some herbs that are sometimes considered:
- Garcinia Cambogia: This tropical fruit extract is thought to help control appetite and inhibit the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. It contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is believed to have potential weight loss benefits.
- Green Tea (Camellia sinensis): Green tea contains antioxidants known as catechins, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may boost metabolism and aid in fat burning.
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum): Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sweet foods, potentially aiding in weight management.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger has thermogenic properties, meaning it can increase your body's temperature and metabolism, potentially assisting in calorie burning.
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber, which can promote a feeling of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, may help reduce inflammation and potentially aid in weight management. It is also thought to improve insulin sensitivity.
- Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium): Bitter orange contains synephrine, which is believed to have thermogenic effects and can increase metabolism.
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion leaf and root can act as a mild diuretic, aiding in water weight loss.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Licorice root may help regulate cortisol levels and reduce stress-related weight gain.
- Coleus Forskohlii: This herb contains forskolin, which is thought to increase the release of stored fat from fat cells, potentially aiding in weight loss.
What can I do to help with my obesity?
There are some things you can do to help you lose weight. Remember that weight loss is a slow process and requires a lifestyle change rather than just a temporary diet.
• Track your food intake and calorie expenditure. If you are not losing weight and you do not have a relevant medical condition, you are simply consuming more calories than you are burning daily. People tend to severely underestimate their daily caloric intake. The only way to be sure that you are consuming less than you are burning is to track your intake. This is easy to do with many food-tracking phone apps or even something as simple as a hand-written food journal.
• Exercise more. Exercise helps you burn calories which can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, exercise helps to reduce stress levels and elevate moods.
• Avoid sugary drinks. Many people don't realize that you can end up drinking most of your daily calories if you aren't careful. Drinks like non-diet sodas, alcoholic beverages, and sugary blended coffee or teas can have as many calories as a small meal.
• Take weight loss at your own pace. Some people can lose weight very easily. Some people can't. For example, men tend to lose weight more easily than women. Additionally, excess fat that you have had for a while tends to take longer to come off than newly put-on fat. Try not to compare yourself to others; as long as you are working hard every day, changes will come. Note that safe weight loss is considered 1-2 pounds per week, so if you have 15 pounds to lose, that could take 15 weeks!
Bland, Jeffrey. Your Health under Siege: Using Nutrition to Fight Back. Brattleboro, VT: S. Greene, 1981. Print.
Buist, Robert. Food Intolerance: What It Is & How to Cope with It. Sherbourne: Prism Alpha, 1984. Print.
* "Infographic Of The Day: America's Strange Attitudes Toward Food." Infographic of the Day. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665769/infographic-of-the-day-americas-strange-attitudes-toward-food>.
Pfeiffer, Carl Curt. Nutrition and Mental Illness: An Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 1987. Print.
Sohn, Emily, and Diane Bair. Food and Nutrition: Eating to Win. Chicago, IL: Norwood House, 2011