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:

food allergies
• glandular malfunction
• eating out of boredom

• stress-related binging
• habitual overeating
• improper digestion

What Herbs Or Herbal Combination May Be Helpful With The Challenges Of Obesity?

Herbs are not a standalone solution for obesity, but some herbs may offer support as part of a broader weight management plan. They can help by boosting metabolism, reducing appetite, or promoting overall well-being. It's important to note that the effectiveness of these herbs can vary from person to person, and they should be used in combination with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using herbs for weight management.
Here are some herbs that are sometimes considered:

  1. 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.

  2. Green Tea (Camellia sinensis): Green tea contains antioxidants known as catechins, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may boost metabolism and aid in fat burning.

  3. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum): Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for sweet foods, potentially aiding in weight management.

  4. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger has thermogenic properties, meaning it can increase your body's temperature and metabolism, potentially assisting in calorie burning.

  5. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber, which can promote a feeling of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.

  6. 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.

  7. Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium): Bitter orange contains synephrine, which is believed to have thermogenic effects and can increase metabolism.

  8. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion leaf and root can act as a mild diuretic, aiding in water weight loss.

  9. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Licorice root may help regulate cortisol levels and reduce stress-related weight gain.

  10. Coleus Forskohlii: This herb contains forskolin, which is thought to increase the release of stored fat from fat cells, potentially aiding in weight loss.
It's essential to understand that herbs alone will not provide significant weight loss results. Weight management involves a combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and, if necessary, guidance from a healthcare professional. Also, individual responses to herbs can vary, and potential side effects or interactions with medications should be considered. Always consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating herbs into your weight management plan. 
What Does Sleep And Obesity Have To Do With Each Other? 

Sleep plays a crucial role in obesity because it influences several physiological and behavioral factors that can directly or indirectly contribute to weight gain and obesity. Here are some key reasons why sleep is closely linked to obesity:

  1. Hormonal Regulation: Sleep has a significant impact on the regulation of hormones that control appetite and metabolism. When you don't get enough sleep, your body's production of hormones like leptin (which suppresses appetite) decreases, while ghrelin (which stimulates appetite) increases. This hormonal imbalance can lead to increased food intake and cravings for high-calorie, sugary, and fatty foods.

  2. Metabolic Function: Sleep deprivation can disrupt the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can promote fat storage and weight gain.

  3. Energy Expenditure: Inadequate sleep can reduce the number of calories your body burns at rest. It may lead to a decrease in overall physical activity and lower energy expenditure, making it easier to gain weight.

  4. Stress and Emotional Eating: Poor sleep quality can increase stress levels and negatively affect mood. In response to stress and fatigue, individuals may turn to comfort foods, which are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. This emotional eating can contribute to weight gain.

  5. Disrupted Sleep-Wake Cycles: Irregular sleep patterns or shift work can disrupt the body's circadian rhythms, affecting the timing of meals and hormone secretion. This disruption can lead to eating at inappropriate times and may promote weight gain.

  6. Sleep and Physical Activity: Inadequate sleep can lead to fatigue, making it less likely that individuals engage in physical activity or exercise. Lack of exercise can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

  7. Increased Time for Snacking: Longer wakeful hours can provide more opportunities for eating, especially late at night, which can lead to overconsumption of calories.

  8. Sleep Deprivation and Appetite Control: Sleep-deprived individuals may experience reduced self-control and decision-making abilities, which can lead to impulsive and unhealthy eating behaviors.

  9. Nutrient Absorption and Digestion: Poor sleep quality may negatively affect the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food and can disrupt normal digestion.

  10. Overall Well-Being: Lack of adequate sleep can result in fatigue, irritability, and poor mental health, which can negatively impact a person's ability to make healthy lifestyle choices.

It's important to recognize that while sleep is a significant factor in obesity, it is just one piece of the puzzle. Obesity is a complex condition influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Improving sleep habits, along with adopting a balanced diet and regular physical activity, is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and overall well-being. If you have concerns about your weight or sleep patterns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations. 

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