Friday - - Beauty -

Q I’m a 30-year old woman, weigh 70kg and am 1.56m tall. I have a lot of fat around my stom­ach. I ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and have gone on di­ets, but in vain. I also have stretch marks. Can Ayurveda help? A I wish there was a quick-fix rem­edy, but let’s get this clear: there is no ex­er­cise to spot-re­duce fat from the body.

Fatty tis­sue around the ab­domen car­ries a greater health risk than fat lo­cated around the hips and thighs. Where we store fat is largely a com­bi­na­tion of gen­der, age and genes. Stress, too, could lead to ab­dom­i­nal fat, ac­cord­ing to some stud­ies.

Los­ing 10kg would bring you into the healthy weight range and los­ing a kilo a week is a sen­si­ble goal.

For that you’ll need to in­crease phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity or de­crease food in­take or both. An hour’s walk can burn around 130kcal, which is just equiv­a­lent to the calo­rie value of a crois­sant. So what you eat is more im­por­tant in a weight-loss pro­gramme. The Ayurvedic ap­proach to weight re­duc­tion is per­son-spe­cific rather than one-size-fits-all. Dur­ing an Ayurveda con­sul­ta­tion, your body type will be de­ter­mined and the right kinds of food for each body type – vata, kapha or pitta – will be pre­scribed.

The hor­mone mela­tonin is pro­duced from 7-8pm, which helps pre­pare our body for rest and sleep. How­ever, many of us start ex­er­cis­ing af­ter 7pm and have din­ner much later – a ma­jor life­style mis­take. Ex­er­cise in the morn­ing or day­time is health­ier.

You need to con­sult a doc­tor to rule out any gas­troin­testi­nal dis­or­ders such as IBS, which can re­sult in bloat­ing of the stom­ach or thy­roid con­di­tions that could be caus­ing weight gain.

Mon­i­tor and re­vise your food habits. In­crease non-calorific items like green leafy veg­eta­bles and fruits (ex­cept ba­nanas). Re­duce un­cooked foods. Fol­low a healthy weight-loss diet pro­gramme, com­bined with fit­ness ex­er­cises and a stom­ach­ton­ing ex­er­cise to tighten and strengthen ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles. Re­duc­ing stom­ach fat takes time – es­pe­cially if you are an ap­ple shape. Please be pa­tient. Here are a few more tips:

Eat healthy foods ac­cord­ing to your body type. Have smaller por­tions, and aim for slightly more pro­tein and slightly less pro­cessed carbs and oils.

Drink as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble; it aids di­ges­tion and fat burn­ing.

Re­main ac­tive, be it at home or in the of­fice.

Elim­i­nate fizzy drinks from your diet.

For stretch marks, ap­ply Kumku­madi lepam or vi­ta­min E oil or but­ter.

There are sev­eral Ayurveda med­i­ca­tions and ther­a­pies that can im­prove me­tab­o­lism and de­plete fat. You may take a de­coc­tion of five grams of Venga (Pte­ro­car­pus mar­supium) pow­der boiled in wa­ter once daily. Triphala choor­nam (five grams) can also be used in the same way.

DR VL SHYAM is a Dubai-based Ayurveda prac­ti­tioner

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