After days of sitting in front of the TV watching mind numbing shows for hours on end and eating and drinking lots of pizza and beer, you might be worried about gaining a bit of flab around your waist and stomach. You may consider embarking on those delectable food-diet prepackaged programs or ordering the latest diet book online. You may also want to try another option: Chinese medicine.
If you are interested in restoring balance in your body and enable the various systems in your body to work in harmony, the ancient system of Chinese medicine can help you achieve this. For weight loss, this Chinese medicine strives to understand and then address the imbalance that underlies an individual’s specific weight issue instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach. This type of medicinal system can provide a lot more than merely help people fit back in their skinny jeans; it can help one become a more balanced, healthier, and a less overweight individual. Being overweight is actually a sign of a health imbalance and not a disease per se. This is especially true in people who have to deal with weight problems on a regular basis. Certain highly touted diet programs deal with cutting down on one or more food categories (oftentimes fats or carbohydrates) to promote rapid loss of weight. Some of these programs heavily depend on prepackaged foods that, despite being low calorie, are portion-controlled that possess very low nutritional value. Both these latest weight loss options very seldom generate long lasting outcomes. Almost all people (95 percent) who use these programs to lose weight gain it back within a year or so. The reason for this is that these programs rarely address the underlying physiological, psychological, and lifestyle factors that contribute to weight gain. Weight always returns if the root problem of excess weight is not addressed. If you are really serious in losing weight permanently or at least in the long-term, you need to look a little deeper.
How Chinese Medicine Can Help One Lose Weight
In Chinese medicine, the first important reason for eating is to provide the body with qi or energy. Certain foods, especially ones that are not overly processed and are fresh, can give you more energy-giving potential. One reason why conventional diet programs often fail is that they give primacy to quantity over quality. While allocating the proper portion size is an essential part of any healthy weight loss program, counting calories without considering nutrient quality of a certain food is a bit like saying that a water toy gun has the same deadly characteristic as a real hand pistol. One needs to understand that consuming 250 calories of cookies would not give you the same nutritional value as eating 250 calories of spinach, but unfortunately, this is almost all weight loss programs believe. Simply reducing the amount of calories will not give you the means by which to maintain a healthy weight.
Food has inherent energetic qualities that can either inhibit or promote a person’s health is one other Chinese concept associated with food. In China, medicine and food are often the same. A lot of the herbs included in a customized and prescribed herbal remedy may be also found in both Chinese banquet and home-cooked dishes. By simply excluding or adding certain foods from a diet, the Chinese have been able to resolve dozens of commonly-occurring health problems. When it comes to losing weight, digestion-promoting pungent spices such as black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon can be used. To weaken appetite one can eat fennel; radish seeds and barley sprouts can both address food stagnation caused by overeating, to speed up the digestion of meats and fats, one can try eating hawthorn fruit; cardamom and Chinese pearl barley can treat diarrhea and decrease water weight. Foods like refined sugar, fried foods, alcohol, and dairy that raise body dampness (the pattern of imbalance that typically results in excess fat or adipose tissue) need to be avoided by people who want to lose weight.
Eat locally Produced, Fresh, and Simple foods
In the field of macrobiotics, (a dietary philosophy based on eating foods attuned to geography, seasonality, climate, and a person’s health status, age and gender) eating simple and fresh foods grown locally is the best way to maintain health and keep one’s weight at a normal level. America over the past four decades, has seen the over industrialization of food and consequently has made its people the most overfed but severely undernourished in the whole world. Some of what they call food such as hydrogenated fats, for example, can actually be categorized more as chemicals and plastics by our digestive system than as real foods. Instead of natural sugars, we use artificial sweeteners that are magnitudes sweeter and thus produce more intense cravings for other sweet products. Proof can be produced that show sodas (diet and regular) as the biggest single contributor to children’s diabetes. We now have little idea of how to truly nourish ourselves as the skills of preparing and growing our food are slowly being lost or forgotten. The environment is being wrecked by the transport of exotic food products all over the planet. In most cities it is now the norm to eat various international cuisines each night of the week. Few are aware that this can actually wreak havoc on the GI systems of people. Our ancestors stuck to a regular pattern of cuisine and only on special occasions did they deviate from this. For the sake of our overall well-being, we might need to do the same.
A Calm Mind and a Well-Performing Digestion
A calm mindset and healthy digestion are also important in attaining a health weight besides the eating of high quality foods. When a stressed or upset individual eats, he or she actually also devours these emotions deep into the body. Thus, it is always advised to pause for a few moments and perform a bit of deep breathing, do some reflection to appreciate the food being served for his/her health, or do whatever it takes to help him/her feel more positive and calmer before eating and then to eat slowly, once the tense feeling has decreased. On needs to also fully appreciate and taste the food and digest it without being distracted by other things. In India, during mealtime, the Ayurvedic method scowls on casual conversation as it is thought to disrupt digestion. In Western societies, people’s digestion is usually severely affected because they often have so much going on while they eat. In the US, a fifth of meals are eaten in a car and a larger percentage of meals are eaten in front of the TV at home. From the viewpoint of Chinese medicine, these unhealthy habits spell real disaster for the abdomen and spleen. Eating a meal requires the full attention of both the mind and body in order to properly break down and absorb drink and food. When you’re watching TV, a video show, or doing something else while eating, the mind becomes too distracted to notice the person’s stomach is full and thus may fail to remind the person to stop eating. These are the reasons why eating while distracted can play a huge role in the rise of digestive problems such as gas, bloating, irritable bowel, and reflux. Therefore, our eating habits are as equally important as the kinds of food we eat.
Acupuncture to the Rescue
If you find yourself eating because of your emotions or tend to reach for junk food more often than you like you may find acupuncture useful for these specific problems. There are acupuncture points located on the outer ear that when used together during treatment, can help lessen all sorts of compulsive behavior, including the desire to overeat. People usually experience a significant reduction in the urge to overeat even with just three or four acupuncture sessions, although more often than not, a person’s weight problem can be fully resolved after two to three months of treatments. Moreover, instead of cookies or chips, these people may now go hungry for whole grains or vegetables. And though they may try eating a cookie or two they may find themselves surprised being completely full and would not even dare attempt eating an entire batch. This is how acupuncture can help you overcome excess weight – it removes stress from both your mind and body so that what is allowed to surface is your physiological urge to eat qi-filled, healthy, foods. Acupuncture overrides your body’s desire to eat unhealthy foods by delivering much-needed calmness to your nervous system so that your body becomes unaffected by stress. In addition, the Chinese have devised another form of acupuncture that has been widely used for losing weight for the past decade. This type of acupuncture utilizes electric stimulation of important abdomen and spleen meridian channels and over time, has been proven to help soften and break up fat deposits in lots of people. With the additional use of Chinese herbs, deeper imbalances in the person’s constitution that lead to craving for salt and sugar can be addressed. It also can be an efficient way of treating digestive stagnation symptoms such as bloating, gas, and constipation. Lastly, your acupuncturist can also recommend qi gong exercises that can mobilize qi in much the same way as acupuncture to reinforce the energy needed by the body to reduce weight. According to Chinese medicine, if the an individual’s body is functioning on an energy deficiency (such as when he or she suffers from a chronic health problem or eats too little), it is impossible to achieve sustained loss of weight due to the fact that instead of using up energy today as it normally does in a healthy body, the body will need to house energy in fat or adipose cells to save for later. When practiced on a daily basis, qi gong can provide the body with the natural energy it needs to maintain health so that it can commence with the process of shedding unwanted weight.
To sum it up, it is believed in Chinese medicine that an individual with weight problems needs to be individually treated based on his/her unique root constitutional imbalances. By getting acupuncture treatment to control compulsive eating and by learning to harness the energy of the body through restorative exercise such as qi gong or yoga, utilizing stress management techniques, and promoting health digestion though the use of herbs, a person will become a lot slimmer, energetic, and healthier than ever before. What’s more these results tend to last because the underlying problems to weight gain are addressed.
Practically all acupuncturists in Miami are trained in treating weight loss issues. And besides qigong, herbs, and acupuncture, these practitioners help their patients explore underlying dietary and lifestyle habits and stresses that can bring about imbalances. In this way, patients can be fully involved in their own path to healing.