In some cultures, being fat is taken as a a sign of health and beauty but obesity is fast becoming a major problem in Britain.

Ayurveda recommends each individual should maintain his or her own healthy weight balance according to his or her body type.

On a positive note, putting on weight suggests a predominance of the water and earth elements, which make the individual very graceful, loving, patient and, of course, soft and cuddly.

While beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, being fat or overweight can cause a number of health problems.

In addition to the psychological stigma of being fat and the hindrance it causes in pursuing life's activities, there is the increased risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

For many people, it can lead to a lack of self confidence, low self-esteem and depression.

In my practice, I have noticed depression and low self-esteem are often the cause of obesity.

It can be especially worrying when it occurs in younger people, particularly in young women who can often go on strict, fad diets at the risk of suffering from malnutrition.

This cycle of gaining weight followed by a period of starvation dieting is a vicious cycle from which people can find it difficult to break out.

It is often the result of powerful, unresolved emotional issues and false beliefs about oneself.

These can arise from suffering bereavement, a lack of pride in one's achievements in life or from being bullied:

Taking on board the suggestion by another that one is a lesser being can have disastrous effects on the individual.

Constant conflict and quarrelling can also vex the spirit of sensitive people and lead them to over eat, lose motivation and gain weight through comfort eating and lack of exercise.

While some people are genetically predisposed to obesity, it is worth remembering it is difficult for anyone to lose weight and keep it off.

People do manage it but only by sheer determination.

The love, affection and motivation of friends and family plays an important role in helping people lose weight.

Rational Emotive Behaviour and Cognitive Therapy address the underlying psychological issues of low self-esteem and change our outlook on life to a more positive one so we feel more confident and happy.

It is this sense of enjoyment and happiness that helps maintain one's own healthy balance of weight as nature intended.

A sense of self-satisfaction prevents the individual from turning to over eating or eating the wrong foods to fill the void.

We all know we would rather watch television than go jogging or to the gym. I believe the effective way to manage your weight is to adopt a holistic combined programme in your daily living and make it your lifestyle.

I will tell you how in my column next week.