Emaciation (Thinness)

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Emaciation (Thinness)

Someone has rightly said, “Life is full of extremes and contrasts”. Two of mankind’s most pressing problems seem to be how to keep half the population form starving and the other half from being overweight.

If obesity is disliked by all those who are figure conscious, then the extremely thin people equally dislike being thin. Such people wish to put on weight. It is a fact that anything that is either in excess or deficient, causes disease if left uncontrolled. While obesity causes diseases of the vital organs of the body which are degenerative and crippling in origin, emaciation also cause infectious and febral disease.

A baby should normally weight at least 2.5 kgs at birth, unless the baby is prematurely born, in which case the weight will be less than that. Form childhood to the age of 30 to 35, the weight of a person can be a little above the desired level. All the same this should be in proportion to the body structure and the frame of the individual. If a person has normal weight at birth and steadily increases his weight in proportion to his age and growth, he will stay healthy.

Emaciation is the condition when there is weight loss, either gradually or suddenly. Active illness, as in any fever like typhoid, measles and other diseases, causes a person to lose weight and become thinner. In such cases, once complete cure of the disease takes place and if there is return to normal eating habits and activities, the lost weight is usually regained.

There are three types of people who are extremely thin.

  1. Those who eat well and stay thin.
  2. Those who cannot digest whatever they eat and inspite of a good living and because of illness or deficiencies remain thin.
  3. Those who are undernourished and overworked.

Eat well but stay thin – the first type

Some children are born thin inheriting their parents physical built. This can, however, not be taken as a rule as some times, we can even see very thin children born to stout parents. If the child has a good appetite and is also quite active, he/she may remain lean and healthy in spite of being overfed. Some children eat all the time but they never sit still for a minute. They mostly play outdoor games like cricket, badminton and other games that involve constant running. Even at home they are never seen sitting idle. In such cases whatever the child consumes, gets converted into energy because of his over activeness. This type of children remain thin but stay fit and healthy. This type of thinness, therefore, need not be cause for worry at all.

It is quite common to see boys and girls maintain their weight at a constant level for three to four years at a stretch.

Illnesses and thinness – the second type

In every young children, sometimes there is severe deficiencies like Vitamin D and B-Complex deficiencies. Some times they fall sick very often or suffer from some progressive illness, physical or mental, and keep on losing weight steadily. No amount of tonics or special food can make them gain weight. The resultant low resistance of the body invites diseases leading to emaciation.
Some people suffering from progressive illness or chronic disorders, fail to gain weight inspite of rest and good food. In adults when there is severe anemia caused by worms, especially hook worms, emaciation is inevitable. Any attempt to make them gain weight will not be successful with out expelling the worms. The same can be said for children having worms. A diet reform through natural methods can bring almost a complete cure and general improvement in the condition of the sufferer achieved where after slow weight gain can be observed.

Abnormal eating and weight loss

In some young children great appetite is seen wherein they eat like grown ups, which may seem to be abnormal. The quantity of the stools they pass, will also be found to be above normal in such cases. But inspite of this, they keep losing weight and remain extremely thin. In such children, the main cause for emaciation and fatigue is that their intestines are infested with worms. Unless the worms are eliminated, such children will remain weak and thin.
Some young boys and girls do remain thin due to their aversion to taking nutritious food but having a craving for synthetic or fast food and junk food. Their digestion becomes sluggish and they suffer loss of energy.

Undernourished, overworked body – the third type

Poor eating habits or eating food that lack nutrition combined with hard work beyond the enduring capacity of the body results in emaciation. This type of thinness can be seen in poverty stricken people and labourers who are engaged in strenuous work for long periods. These people normally have a very big family to look after but a meager income for expenditure.

When thin people lack good health or suffer from diseases which makes them lose weight, they experience exhaustion, weakness in their limbs, lack of appetite [in some cases due to poor digestion], desire to lie down or sleep all the time or the other extreme of wakefulness and insomnia, headache, giddiness, etc. The physical and mental fatigue which they feel causes them to have lack of interest in any activity. They tire out very soon. Walking and ascending stairs induces violent palpitation of their heart.

“If you are obese, exercise; if you are thin, then also exercise”. This is equally true in so far as the other remedies such as dancing and diet are concerned. When a person is obese, he is advised to take up dancing to reduce. Likewise, if a person is painfully thin, then also the advice is to dance because the same type of exercise and movement help reduce excess fat in the former and activate the organs to assimilate fat in the tissues in the latter.

The same rule applies for diet also, with a slight difference. The type of food and the method of intake differs slightly in some cases and greatly in other cases from that prescribed for obesity.
As in weight loss, weight gain should also be gradual and steady in order not to upset the general health.

First and foremost, children and adults alike, who are troubled by worms, must get rid of them and only then start the diet. Aniseeds {saunf} and Licorice {Meethi Lakdi} can be used to eliminate worms. For this take some aniseeds, roast lightly and powder it.

Powder licorice and mix equal quantity of the powders. Take a cup of warm water and mix the powders {One teaspoonful for children and two teaspoonful for adults}. This should be taken before going to bed for at least 2 or 3 consecutive days.

All type of artificial or processed food must be completely eliminated from the diet. Foods rich in vitamins, proteins, calcium and fat must be included. Instead of two large meals, 4 to 5 small meals are advised. Fresh fruits and vegetables must comprise almost half the diet.

A regulated diet for a period of at least two months can keep the person free from his disease or problem forever. This will also help him to choose only the right type of food and develop good eating habits to remain healthy permanently. Diet for the specific period in gaining weight is best achieved during winter. Whereas a diet for losing weight is best undertaken in summer.
The following diet chart can help those who wish to gain weight through diet.

5.30 a.m : Two-three glasses plain water.
7.00 a.m : A big glass of any citrus fruit juice like grapes, orange and tomato.
9.00 a.m : A big bowl of Dalia {porridge} or a glass of milk with nuts or dates. ` Mangoes.
11.00 a.m : A small glass of vegetable juice or green leafy juice.
12.30 p.m : 2 small whole wheat bread, butter, boiled vegetables as potatoes, or
beans and other green vegetables, 1 cup vegetable salad.
3.00 p.m : Milk shake made of fresh fruits like mangoes or bananas.
6.00 p.m : A bowl of hot vegetable soup or carrot juice
7.30 p.m : 2 small rotis, boiled vegetables, sprouts, paneer {cottage cheese} and
a cup of curd

If hungry during bed time, either a banana or an apple can be taken. During the day at
least five to six glasses of water must be taken.

The suggested diet can be taken for a month or so. But as the weight increases and the general health improves, exercise and other activities must be undertaken or else it may once again affect the health. Becoming obese is another possibility.

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  • About The Author


    Gopakumar Nair belongs to a Hereditary Ayurvedic family of Kerala who were Practising Ayurveda and traditional Medicine for 200 Years . They can be traced back to over six generations. His experience under the guidance of his guru Valiya thampuraan has earned lot of trust and popularity.

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