The warm summer has passed, and with the arrival of autumn, the issue of excess weight becomes more pressing. Besides the fact that physical activity decreases in the colder season, there are also changes in the “hormonal background.” Melatonin production increases, while serotonin decreases. Among other things, serotonin affects the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue and stimulates lipolysis, preventing fat accumulation. With a decrease in its levels in the body, we become more prone to fat storage, which helps keep us warm in the cold and create “strategic calorie reserves” to survive winter.
Gaining weight is easy, but getting rid of the accumulated “goods” is much harder. If this is not achieved, the prospect of obesity becomes a reality. Obesity comes with numerous health problems, and in the long run, premature aging. There are many reasons to assert this. Not only does body weight increase, but the length of blood vessels also increases, which significantly complicates the heart’s work. Accumulated fat in the abdomen pushes the diaphragm upwards and changes the position of the heart, leading to shortness of breath, pressure, and pain in the chest area.
Obesity often leads to the development of diabetes, cholecystitis, osteochondrosis, memory impairment, and attention deficit. It contributes to imbalances in sex hormones, leading to changes in reproductive function, gynecological and urological disorders, and hormone-related cancers.
People with excess weight tend to lead a less active lifestyle, which might be one of the primary and most negative consequences of obesity for health.
Not only obesity but even seemingly minor excess weight still increases the risk of diseases, premature aging, and death.
There are two forms of excessive body weight. The first is not associated with any specific disease but is the result of overeating and low physical activity – “sedentary obesity,” affecting 70% of all overweight individuals.
The second form is less common and is related to endocrine disorders or a genetic predisposition to such body types. However, even in this form, excessive food intake and a balance between calorie intake and physical activity play a role.
With initial fullness, fat is deposited on the thighs, arms, and abdomen, forming a layer of subcutaneous fat. This is a natural process of nutrient storage developed through evolution. In the presence of adequate physical activity, such excess fat usually does not harm health, especially when it is periodic rather than constant.
In metabolic (abdominal) obesity, associated with metabolic and hormonal imbalances, fat is primarily deposited around the waist, surrounding internal organs such as the intestines, heart, liver, and others.
For example, fat can physically compress the kidneys, making it difficult for them to excrete sodium, leading to hypertension. Obesity and hypertension together can have catastrophic health consequences. Cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis. Insulin resistance increases, leading to diabetes.
Abdominal obesity can also occur in people without excess weight! In this case, the only sign of obesity is a larger-than-normal waist circumference, even if it’s small.
To move away from chaotic eating habits, shift to having meals four times a day, or even better, three times a day. Calorie distribution should decrease from breakfast to dinner because the body uses morning calories more efficiently, while evening ones are more likely to be stored as fat.
Ideally, have your last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime to increase the time interval during which no food enters your system, from dinner to breakfast. If you don’t eat from 7:00 PM until 6:00 AM, without any other lifestyle changes, it can lead to a weight loss of 0.5 kg per week, as seen in experiments. Restricting eating from 6:00 PM to 10:00 AM results in people unconsciously reducing their daily calorie intake by around 250 calories and losing weight.
To reduce appetite, you can try a corn silk infusion (fibrous strands resembling hair): 1 tablespoon of raw material per cup of boiling water, steep for a week to two months, and consume it four times a day before meals. Corn silk has diuretic and choleretic effects, which promote the normalization of the digestive system and improved digestion. It’s not recommended for use in cases of varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, high blood clotting, or large stones in the bile ducts and kidneys.
Beet fiber supplements (cellulose) are effective appetite suppressants too, and they are easier to consume with a bit of low-fat sour cream. Beetroot juice is also beneficial. You can drink a quarter cup of cranberry juice mixed in equal parts with beetroot juice three times a day.
The same effect as beet fiber supplements can be achieved with any type of fiber, so for those with excess weight or a large waistline, increasing the intake of fibrous foods, especially soluble fiber, is recommended. For instance, young dandelion leaves regulate digestion, normalize metabolism, and reduce winter fat deposits. Also, include cucumbers, eggplants, zucchinis, cabbage, and apples in your diet—they are rich in fiber and low in calories. Start each meal with these low-calorie foods, such as vegetable soups, and you’ll feel full earlier, leaving less room for higher-calorie foods.
Fiber effectively suppresses hunger, helps eliminate fats, and nourishes the gut microbiome. The composition of gut bacteria affects how we metabolize calories and which hormones (hunger or satiety) our body produces.
For the prevention and treatment of obesity, you can use the leaves of the wild olive tree, known as narrow-leaved oleaster (Elaeagnus angustifolia). It’s a perennial plant of the oleaster family, found throughout Ukraine but more commonly in southern regions.
Take a tablespoon of dried and crushed narrow-leaved oleaster leaves, steep them in a glass of water, and boil for five minutes on low heat. Consume a tablespoon of this infusion three times a day, 20 minutes before meals.
To boost metabolism and promote weight loss, celery can be helpful. Two tablespoons of chopped celery root should be soaked in a liter of warm water overnight (7-8 hours), then strain it. Drink half a cup three to four times a day before meals.
And don’t forget to avoid overeating and stay active!
P.S. Before using herbal remedies, consult with your family doctor!