Chinese Medicine for Weight Loss

The United States has the highest rate of obesity of all the large GDP countries.  According to the CDC around 39% of adults in this country are obese and the number is rising.  (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db288.pdf).  This number has steadily risen since around 1962 according to the CDC data and puts people at risk for disease such as type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and certain types of cancer.  So what can be done?  Does Chinese Medicine have a little something special up its sleeve to aid in weight loss? 

I have seen many acupuncturists claim that one can lose weight by getting regular acupuncture.  This is just marketing hype just as are most of the millions of diet fads that are pushed on the public.  The main key to losing weight is....discipline.  This means setting and following a routine.  But so many people set new year's resolutions to go to exercise and eat better every year yet few follow through.  The problem is that people bite off more than they can chew.  To start a new habit one must begin with the smallest increment that one is able to do easily everyday.  For instance if a person decided to start walking everyday, instead of trying to walk 5 miles, they might just walk to the end of the block and back but do it everyday without fail.  This begins to ingrain the discipline into one's life.  Once the pattern is set one can easily increase the distance when they are ready.  The same goes with eating.  Forget about trying to find a diet that will work.  More than likely you will fail if you rush after the "perfect" diet for you.  The only diet I think is worth mentioning is the "No S Diet."  It is very simple and effective.  Here it is:

1. No Sugar,

2. No Seconds,

3. No Snacking

Except on days that start with S (Saturday and Sunday) and special occasions. 

This means that you must abstain from sugar and snacking during the weekdays and only have one plate of food (pile it high if you want but only one) per meal.  This creates the framework to consume less calories.  Here is the website of the gentleman who designed the No S Diet: http://nosdiet.com/  Besides the eating habits of the No S Diet the author recommends to walk for exercise.  Walking is probably the best exercise possible for humans.  As the author stated, "humans are designed to move slowly over long distances." 

Self awareness is also key.  Many people eat to ameliorate emotional problems.  It makes sense because the feeling of a belly full of food at a primal level means you are not going to starve to death.  Time and time again I run into people who are "trying to lose weight" but they are drinking sodas, having full meals for snacks and first in line for Melinda's birthday cake at work.  Often I find people don't even remember eating food.  Case in point...A friend accompanied a woman to go shopping.  The woman stopped at Whataburger between meals and ordered enough to feed 2 people.  Later in the evening the woman complained about not being able to lose weight despite dieting and exercising.  My friend asked about the Whataburger "snack" and the woman couldn't recall it.  My friend thought it was really odd but it is pretty common. 

So with the framework of discipline, exercise and self awareness outlined above we can now discuss Chinese Medicine.  If one is following the aforementioned disciple, acupuncture can aid in bringing the metabolism back to a homeostatic state but the real key is using a proper herbal formula.  Many years ago I had a client come in for weight loss.  She had trouble losing weight after a pregnancy.  It was a relatively straight forward case of Spleen Qi Deficiency with some Dampness and thus gave her a modified 6 Gentleman formula.  After a week she was surprised to have lost so much weight.  Much of it was just water weight so the herbs aided this being done quickly.  So Chinese herbal formulas can be crucial in aiding the body's metabolism. 

In summary, if you expect to lose weight by getting acupuncture without personal discipline you will fail.  If you discipline yourself you will succeed.  If you would like to augment your discipline with the aid of Chinese Medicine, set an appointment with me.