Weight Loss & Acupuncture

Weight loss has been one of the major concerns of the 21st century within the last 30 plus years. There have been fad diets from low fat diets, protein diets, paleo diets, vegan diets, and even breathatarianism! Things have gotten out of control and the problem with weight gain all starts with the big conglomerate food companies.

These companies such as kraft, general mills, and Gordon food center have been selling food devoid of any nutritional value and filled with filler that is harmful and actually exacerbates weight gain. Most of these companies use natural flavors (MSG) to make you addicted to the food and want to eat more.

If you buy more of these food corporations’ products because of an addiction then these companies make more money for their shareholders at the expense of the customer’s waistline and health. Food devoid of nutrients will make you sick sooner or later, we have to eat certain foods to get all the vitamins and mineral to have a fully functional body. If you eat packaged or fast food for your main source of nutrients, then not only will you see weight gain but your health is in serious risk as well.

In Chinese medicine we believe that eating healthy is very important we still look at weight loss in a much different way than western nutritionist or doctors. As Chinese medicine practitioner, we will ask many questions about you in general then check the tongue and pulses. This will give an overall diagnosis of the body. Usually the diagnosis for weight loss is considered “Spleen Qi” deficiency. This basically means that a person’s digestions is very weak and the body is not absorbing the nutrients from the food they eat.

Spleen qi deficiency diagnosis typically makes a person feel fatigued, gas or bloating, loose stools, the arms and legs may feel like they lack strength, the voice is weak, easily bruised skin, hemorrhoid issues, sugar craving, allergies, obesity, pale complexion, weak immunity, and possible irregular periods. These are general symptoms and you do not have to have all of these to have spleen qi deficiency.

I would say sugar cravings would be a big telltale sign that the spleen is weak. If the body is not receiving enough energy from food, sugar fixes will give a quick boost but is very harmful in the long run. If the spleen is functioning properly, the sugar craving will stop.

Another common pattern is called damp or phlegm blocking the spleen. This presents with reduced appetite, congested feeling in the chest, profuse saliva or mucous is the mouth, heavy feeling or sluggish body with diarrhea. When phlegm start to accumulate, it can be very difficult to expel from the body. These people typically crave greasy fatty foods along with sugary foods such as ice cream. Dairy products of all types is very detrimental to this pattern so the less you eat the better you will feel.

Not that we have looked at the major patterns for weight gain, no its time to set up a plan that is tailored towards the patients specific pattern. Instead of having the patient start a fad diet, I would have them get regular acupuncture and start taking an herbal formula to get the spleen strengthened to function properly. During the acupuncture sessions we will start going over a plan to start eliminating foods that have tendencies to cause weigh gain as well and add foods that will help get proper nutrients and help strengthen the spleen as well.

Some great foods that help strengthen the spleen is amaranth, millet, bitter green, cooked celery, turnips, asparagus, yams, pumpkin, garlic, cooked carrots and sunflower seeds. Some other good tips for weight loss is drinking water that is either warm or room temperature. Iced water hurts the spleen and makes digestion very sluggish so avoid eating raw vegetables for the same reason in the beginning while getting the spleen in shape. Raw foods are better to eat in the summer when the body is warm compared to the winter time. Cooked vegetable is much easier to digest because they’re half way broken down.

The last element of weight loss is exercise. One should be exercising in the beginning a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Walking is very low impact, so I recommend do this until you feel comfortable do more high impact activities. This is adding positives to your life and when your energy level is higher you will feel good and want to keep making strides toward your goal.

Remember, losing weight is a process. It may take you 6 months or 10 years to get to your goal weight but learning how to be healthy is a lifetime practice. The beginning is the hardest part but when you start things will get better and better.