Let’s face it, weight loss is not easy. In fact, the human body was not designed to shed pounds; it was designed to store them during times of plentiful food supply so that you could survive lean harsh winters when food supplies were scarce. It goes against your very nature to lose weight. That’s why your body fights you when you try to deprive it of food. It’s not will power, its biology!
When you add to this an automated lifestyle that includes driving instead of walking and browsing the grocery aisle instead of hunting and gathering, you’ve got the perfect recipe for weight gain. In the age of full refrigerators and all night drive-thru is it any wonder that obesity is a national epidemic?
We were designed to move all day and to eat according to cycles of plenty and scarcity. Now we sit at computers, eat three meals a day year round. Additionally stress and emotional issues from living out of balance trigger food cravings causing us to reach for comfort foods.
An imbalanced lifestyle of stress, overwork, lack of exercise, and poor food choices, leads to an imbalanced body and energy system. How do you balance yourself in an out-of-balance world? Acupuncture is a powerful tool that creates a balanced energy flow to correct dysfunctions in metabolism that lead to weight gain.
A Balancing Act
According to TCM, the root cause of weight gain is an imbalance in the Chinese organ systems of the Liver and Spleen. These are not the same as the organs of western medicine that go by the same names. The Spleen in Chinese Medicine is responsible for transforming food into energy. When it doesn’t perform properly, food accumulates in the form of fat. You also experience fatigue because sufficient energy isn’t being extracted from the food. This is similar to a toxic digestive system that isn’t absorbing nutrients.
The TCM Liver energy is responsible for moving your energy smoothly through the body. When the Liver is not functioning properly, your energy becomes stagnant, pent-up, or depressed. You may experience bowel dysfunction – constipation or loose stools. Food doesn’t move properly through the digestive tract. Stagnant Liver energy leads to emotional eating, digestive disturbances, and feelings of frustration and depression.
The Spleen and Liver are affected by diet and stress and must be balanced to avoid weight gain and poor digestion. Harmonious functioning of these two organ systems leads to good digestion and increased metabolism so you burn your fuel efficiently, with energy to spare.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine create balance in the energetic organ systems responsible for metabolism. When you come in for acupuncture, I analyze your overall health picture to determine your particular imbalances. Your weight gain is due to variations in your energetic organ systems that are unique to you, so treatment must be individually designed to meet your specific needs.
How Can Acupuncture Help Me Achieve My Weight Loss Goals?
In TCM, the digestive energies are at the center of all imbalances. Western medicine focuses on the macro-nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein and fat, and micronutrients such as vitamins, and minerals when determining good dietary choices. Chinese medicine places more emphasis on the energy component of therapy and foods. In TCM, foods have cold properties, hot properties, and can create dampness or dryness. Depending on your unique constitution, I will recommend the appropriate foods to support you.
For instance, if you are overweight and have a cold constitution, as a practitioner, I will recommend foods that have warm energy such as yams and other root veggies. Cold foods raw foods like salads would increase the coldness and dampness in your body and therefore work against your weight loss goals in the long term because these foods deplete the Spleen energy. If you are running very hot, I will drain heat with acupuncture and guide you towards cold food like cucumber while still maintaining some warming foods to keep the Spleen functioning properly.
There is a delicate balance of hot, cool, damp, and dry energies in the body. As an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner I am trained to recognize which of these imbalances are creating your weight gain. Once these are identified, I can design a specific program of acupuncture and dietary therapy to help balance your energies so that you lose weight.
A balanced energy system creates a balanced body. Balance in the body begins with proper digestion, assimilation, and metabolism. Once these are normalized, you are better able to manage stress and a busy lifestyle. to discuss how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you achieve your weight loss goals today!
Article by Margaret Celli. May be reprinted with the written permission of the author. ©2015