I'm eating less and exercising more - Why am I not losing weight?
Cutting carbohydrates, avoiding fatty and processed food, increasing protein intake, reducing calorie intake while exercising rigorously to burn calories; You may be doing your best to apply all the things in your life style known to support weight loss but sometimes, losing weight can be seemingly impossible and extremely frustrating.
This is a fairly common problem I see in female patients, especially if you are in your 40s and over. I am writing this article in hopes to help ease your weight loss frustration by providing understanding and practical tips & guidance that could help you to reach your weight loss goals.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I am not sure who said it but you would agree that if something doesn’t seem to work anymore, you have to try another way. When it comes to weight loss, it might be difficult to get yourself out of this thinking pattern since from childhood, you were taught that obesity is primarily caused by excessive consumption of food without a corresponding amount of exercise. If you are eating a well balanced diet and exercising regularly but there seems to be no shift in your weight, it is time to stop blaming yourself and instead address the underlying cause of the weight gain.
Is there a magical pill or a miraculous acupuncture point for weight loss?
Contrary to what some advertisements promote, Eastern Medicine does not treat excess weight but rather looks at excess weight as a symptom of a greater health problem. There are no magical fat burning herbal pills or acupuncture points. However, TCM addresses the underlying condition, the root cause that led to the excess weight gain in the first place. With any condition, if the root cause of the disease is not treated, it’ll be difficult to reach your weight loss goal and even if you are able to shed some pounds, weight loss will not be permanent.
When any of the organs involved in the digestive process cannot perform their innate tasks, your body’s ability to metabolize food and eliminate waste and toxins is also affected, resulting in weight gain.
What’s the theory behind TCM treatments?
According to the theories of TCM, the Spleen (working in harmony with Liver and Gallbladder) is the main organ in charge of transforming food into nutritive essence and sending it upwards to the heart and lungs where it is transformed into Qi and blood for nourishment of the whole body. This is why, what you put into your body is extremely important but the spleen’s ability to breakdown the molecules to obtain energy and synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells is even more important. No matter how nutritious your meals may be, how efficiently your body can absorb and use the nutrient depends on the organs responsible for the digestion. This is why your hunger signals do not turn off and you may experience constant cravings even after a full meal. When you are unable to properly metabolize food, the organs continue to signal the need for additional Qi by inducing cravings and increasing appetite.
How does Acupuncture and herbal treatments help with weight loss?
- Ensure proper functioning of liver and gall bladder to improve Qi & Blood circulation and promote secretion of digestive fluids to assist the break down of fatty materials and enhance digestive process.2. Restore fluid metabolism by ensuring proper distribution and excretion of body fluid by inducing diuresis3. Remove blood stasis to promote blood flow and lower the lipid content in the blood to decelerate the sclerosis of blood vessels4. Resolve excessive phlegm that impairs respiratory function by inducing shortness of breath, chest oppression and dizziness5. Reinforce excretion and elimination of body waste by restoring large intestinal function and promoting regular, well formed bowel movements
What are some practical tips to improve the digestive function?
- Chew your food slowly and give you brain a chance to catch up with your stomach to know when enough is enough
- Start your day with few cups of hot water to enhance blood flow into your respiratory and digestive track
- Include stomach vacuuming/breathing exercise. Every breath results in breaking down of calories.
- Choose warm meals over cold dishes to improve the digestive process
- Set up regular eating times and make your first meal the most nutritious
- Choose healthy sugars over processed desserts
- Eat meals away from work and study and relax at your dinner table
- Change your preference from cold/frozen drinks to room temperature and hot drinks
- Avoid dairy, refined sugar and wheat
- Avoid late night eating
- Avoid overeating
- Avoid eating when you are tired, stressed and angry.
- Eat according to your constitution. Speak with a Holistic Nutritionist or a TCM doctor to find out what your body type is and what type of food is best to enhance metabolism.
- Always include one detox meal a day to bring down inflammation from your digestive organs
- Eat less often and avoid snacking between meals
If you feel like you are doing everything right and still battling with weight gain, it is important to have a thorough physical examination by a TCM Practitioner to address the underlying cause of excess weight. Acupuncture and herbal medicine combined with a well balanced diet and exercise can greatly enhance the treatment of obesity and help individuals struggling to lose weight meet their weight loss goal.
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