There is so much information out there regarding weight loss, some helpful, some not, so I thought it would be a good time to explore weight loss according to Traditional Oriental Medicine principles.
Firstly, there is really only 3 ways to lose weight and 2 out of those 3 are actually harmful and not recommended according to Traditional Oriental and Chinese Medicine (TCM). The third option I will discuss later is the most balanced and healthiest approach to weight loss.
Obesity is basically caused by an overload of cold, damp producing foods and liquids that dulls the digestive fire needed to process foods efficiently. When the digestive fire is weakened the foods and fluids accumulate in the body and eventually turn into a thick phlegm that clogs up the whole system. The digestive fire can also be dampened from ongoing internal psychological and emotional turbulence. Excess worry and excess thinking for extended periods actually harms your digestive fire also. If you are not having a bowel motion every single day then this is a sure sign that your digestion is not up to proper function and may be sluggish and stagnant which is a precursor to unhealthy weight gain.
Ok, so what are the 3 methods to loose weight?
1. The first one is described as a cold purge.
It involves purging the body by the use of cold foods and diuretics. It essentially damages the spleen and stomach and can leave the person looking very pale and fatigued or sometimes wired and ungrounded and totally mentally unstable. The stomach and spleen are important in the overall function of the immune system and its also involved in mental cognition and processing. Therefore this method of weight loss, though may be rapid, is potentially very harmful and can lead to long term weakness of the stomach and spleen function and threaten mental stability. Anorexia and other eating disorders tend to fit under this method.
2. The second method is using stimulants to invigorate the qi and blood to send it upwards and outwards.
It’s like burning a fire so the heat and energy rush upwards and outwards. It’s equivalent to taking speed, pharmaceutical “uppers”, energy drinks and excess amounts of coffee. It depletes the kidney energy stores and often leads to insomnia, fertility problems, mental instability and can often lead towards increased feelings of frustration, anger and rage. It can also easily lead to an addiction to stimulants. Essential fluids are lost in the forms of excessive perspiration and urination. In some cases of obesity, a little stimulant can be helpful, like green tea just to kick over the metabolism. Things like burn out, chronic fatigue and addiction to stimulants are a regular occurrence if this method is employed and supported on-goingly.
3. The third and healthiest way to lose weight effectively is to support the stomach and spleen.
You can do this through only taking in warming and wholesome foods that keep the fire of digestion burning strong therefore allowing digestion to be efficient. Ginger and a little bit of spice in most foods will assist greatly. Avoid cold drinks, ice water, cold raw foods and phlegm producing foods like milk and diary. Bread, especially white bread tends to clogs up the digestion and therefore should be minimized. Green tea supports the spleen and stomach while also stimulates the digestion via the small caffeine content. Weight training tonifys muscles and this stimulates the stomach and spleen to send nutrients, “food energy”, around the body to the muscles. To burn fat, regular walks where the heart rate is elevated slightly will stimulate digestion and burn fat cells. I would advise to avoid the super intense forms of exercise like sprinting, or running up hills as fast as you can because it simply trains your body to burn glucose rather than fat cells. A slightly elevated heart rate sustained over a long period of time is much more effective in burning up fat cell stores. And you want to get to the point where you have a good and healthy bowel motion every single day. Your bowel movements are one of the best ways to assess your bodies health but that’s a another story that deserves more explanation (maybe I’ll write about bowel movement as my next blog entry). This method may take longer to see results yet it is a more balanced and healthy approach to go about it according to TCM principles mixed with my own understanding.
I hope this info helps you in some way.
For any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.
If you want more information about this, I have expanded upon these ideas in one of my books.