Too many times during my clinical rotations I have been asked, “What is the one herb, or Acupuncture point, diet, or supplement that I can take that will make me lose weight?”
While I may not have the one answer to help you shed pounds I do know this…
You are the key to your weight loss success!!!
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic body of medicine that has been practiced for over 5000 years that includes the use of acupuncture, herbs, diet, movement activities and mediation. Traditional Chinese Medicine honors the whole individual by addressing the mind, body, spirit, and lifestyle when determining the most sound and effective plan for weight loss and weight management. While diets and detox protocols are helpful for immediate weight loss, it is when the whole individual is taken into consideration that keeping the weight off becomes easier and more permanent.
Chinese medicine is a way of life rather than a diet. It honors that each person is different. If you really stop and think about it, is there anyone in the world that is you (physical looks, lifestyle, dietary patterns, genetics, beliefs, behaviors, internal medicine patterns, lab work findings, etc)?
Before weight loss can be effectively maintained Chinese medicine addresses if there are patterns or blockages that are keeping the body from being in a balanced state. For example, if the body in unbalanced, then the body does not have enough “qi” or energy to make adequate weight loss changes. Chronic fatigue, “digestive issues” (bloating after meals, acid reflux, flatulence, tired after eating), insomnia, stress, physical trauma, and emotional traumas are significant indications that the body needs balancing before it can utilize its resource to burn calories more efficiently. By honoring your unique body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle, you expedite your weight loss goals tremendously, by honoring your bodies need to come into balance.
Here are 5 general tips for helping you to lose weight according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
- Eat at regular times and when your mind and body are relaxed. Taking time to really enjoy the flavors and sensations will help you feel satisfied without overeating, and it will support healthy digestion. Eating at regular times promotes healthy digestion and helps the body to metabolize foods more efficiently. Have you noticed that people who eat at irregular times feel more tired and gain weight? If you don’t believe me, just ask them! If you can’t break down food properly, your body will crave MORE in order to satisfy the basic energy requirements that you need in order to function on a day to day basis.
- Eat like a king in the morning and a pauper at dinner! Have a large breakfast, medium sized lunch, and small dinner. According the Chinese Medicine, this sort of schedule has you eating the most when the center of your digestive system is at its peak. That is when your stomach and spleen are working it’s hardest between 7-11 am. Their energy is weakest during it’s opposite time which is 7-11 pm. Have you noticed that over time, when people eat really late at night and at irregular hours that they gain weight?
- Ideally, eat local foods. Nature provides the best sources of foods locally where you live to help with seasonal changes and the nutrients that are necessary for eating . For example, during the summer time, eat cooling foods such as watermelon, cucumber, and salads; during winter time eating root vegetables, soups, and stews to help the body cope with the cold. Eat leafy greens especially during the spring to help nourish and cleanse the liver and promote over all body functioning. By eating seasonally and locally, you ensure that all of the bodies systems are being nourished and you are eating a wide range of nutrients from nature.
- Keep a journal of your food cravings, and notice what foods make you feel more energetic or lethargic. This can help you to decipher which systems are out of balance and what supplements, herbs, and or nutritional foods to incorporate more of in order to help you with your weight loss goals. For example, some people crave sugar and some crave salt—or both. Salt can have a direct correlation to energy levels, adrenal and thyroid functioning, sugar cravings have a correlation with blood glucose levels being too low or not being absorbed adequately. Generally, food cravings can be addressed through implementing nutritional foods, herbal therapeutics, and supplementation. I advocate working with your local Acupuncturist, and or medical practitioner who will help you determine if you have cravings and how to eliminate them to come back into balance.
- Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. to allow the liver and other organs to fully detoxify the body. The liver cleans the blood between 1 and 3 a.m., and you must already be in a deep sleep before 1 a.m. to get the full benefits. Sufficient rest is essential for healthy metabolism, and your kids, partner, and work buddies will appreciate your well rested smile!
- Try Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, and any other form of holistic approach to help you with with your weight loss. Many people who try acupuncture find that it can help reduce cravings, and compulsive eating, can help boost metabolism, and help tone abdominal tissue. After acupuncture, people notice that they’re naturally hungry at appropriate times of day, but not ravenously hungry.
Want to learn more? Dr. Oz, MD., of the Oprah Show and Magazine, recently posted this article on Acupuncture for Weight Loss: