With obesity on the rise, we are spending more money on diet and exercise programs than ever before. Unfortunately the results are usually short lived, prompting us into a never ending cycle of spending for our weight loss goals. Most of us struggle with weight regulation because we only focus on the amount of calories consumed and burned as if those are the only factors to consider for weight loss. However, we are forgetting a crucial piece that Traditional Chinese Medicine promotes, which is the element of how our bodies are functioning. The missing piece of the weight-loss equation is all about energy, the energy that is responsible for our vitality and controls our body’s function and well-being. If that energy is strong and well-balanced, our ability to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight is greatly enhanced.
Traditional Chinese Medicine incorporates use of acupuncture, herbs, diet, movement activities, and meditation. It views health as a matter of building up and conserving energy, or qi. When we have an abundant supply of qi flowing through our body, our internal organs and systems can function properly to keep us healthy.
The major factors that weaken qi are excessive stress, emotional imbalances, inadequate sleep quality/quantity, and poor diet. When the body is depleted, we tend to have a difficult time letting go of weight, have lowered energy, and increased food cravings.
How does Qi help with weight loss?
In TCM, weight regulation is not solely about calorie intake and expenditure like previously mention. It really focuses on nourishing, fortifying, channeling and sustaining qi. All these actions of qi are what is responsible for raising your metabolism and helping you feel great!
Here are some key ways to enhance your Qi and increase weight loss.
- Eat qi food, food that is full of natural life energy.
That means foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and organic meat. Try to avoid foods that are packaged, refined, and filled with artificial chemicals—especially artificial sweeteners and gimmicky “diet foods,” which often are low not only in calories but in nutrition.
- Eat slowly and mindfully
Set aside sufficient time to eat, and avoid distractions during meals such as computers and television. Taking time to really enjoy the flavors and sensations will help you feel satisfied without overeating, and it will support healthy digestion.
- Follow a cycle
Live in accordance with your body’s natural rhythms. Eat a hearty breakfast. In TCM, 7 to 9 a.m. is the best time for digestion. Have a nutritious lunch and eat an early, light dinner. People in China eat a 5pm.
- Sleep well and early
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.
- Practice qi-enhancing activities
Examples include chi gong, tai chi, restorative yoga, nature walks, gardening, or something you enjoy that gets the blood flowing. These types of exercise are especially important for those feeling low energy and helps restore their energy back into balance.
- Acupuncture – Many people who try acupuncture find that ear needles work quickly to help reduce cravings and compulsive eating. After acupuncture, people notice that they’re naturally hungry at appropriate times of day, but not ravenously hungry. They are less stressed and less prone to engage in emotional eating.
Chinese medicine can certainly be a powerful tool in helping people to achieve weight loss. However it will take will power and dedication of the individual to keep consistent with the practices in order to see true lasting results.