Weight Loss Help
The following is a list of issues I think that are highly relevant to weight issues. I have been practicing Oriental Medicine and enjoy a busy practice for 14 years now. I hope some of my insights will be helpful and encourage you to look at your overall health and not just your scale.
When making changes it is important to approach this with an attitude of what you are benefiting from and achieving, not what you are being deprived of. Be honest with yourself about your habits and food choices. Be realistic in your goals and try to see the process as the building of long term beneficial lifestyle not just a temporary exercise in loosing a few pounds.
Do not go hungry-eat healthy snacks in between meals, if possible eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones, do not skip meals. When you don’t eat it changes you body’s metabolism. Your metabolism will slow, if you don’t eat or go hungry. It basically shuts down to preserve you through a starvation period.
Portion size- You are grown up now, you don’t HAVE to finish your plate. Better yet, use a small plate or bowl to moderate the amount of food you eat at each meal. When you are full, stop eating. If you pay for your meals you might be more likely to finish them even when you are full. Be mindful when you are full and stop.
Chew- eating regular meals and snacking in between is les likely to make you ravenous. Take your time when you eat. Don’t eat while you are dong something else. Chew your food thoroughly.
Much has been written about this but here are some things to think about:
Avoid foods that nature did not design for you to eat. Processed foods, synthetic foods, and chemicals are not good for you. Stop eating white flour and rice, refined sugar, soda, alcohol, foods made with trans- fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats should be used whenever possible. Try to eat a balanced diet with mostly vegetables and fruit. Grains, sweets, alcohol, coffee meat and dairy are all acidic in nature. The idea is to try to maintain a lower calorie more alkaline diet. You ideal PH should be around 7. If you become more acidic, especially lower than 6 your tendency for inflammation, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer all goes up. Blood type dieting is also a very valuable tool to improve digestion. I have found it a very useful resource for digestive problems.
Your food should be mostly warm and cooked most of the time. Salads, especially in the winter, may be lower in calories , but can actually slow your metabolism. In Oriental Medicine the calligraphy symbol for Chi ( life Force Energy) is derived from a steaming bowl of rice. This is analogous to the idea that the body should be warm, the digestion warm. Consider this , prior to the end of WWII, no one was eating refrigerated food. Avoid cold drinks, ice, ice cream etc. You can eat more salads and raw fruit in summer months, but if it is 20 degrees outside eat soup! A friend of mine ws recently in Hong Kong. With 96 degree tempertatures outside in JUly, he could not find a cold drink anywhere. The Chinese take avoiding cold drinks seriously!
Regular exercise is good for you in so many ways other than weight loss. Here are some considerations.
If you gain muscle mass you will burn more calories. Initially you may gain wieght from working out, especially with weights, but you will thin. Don’t over exercise,-injury, joint breakdown, and exhaustion are not want anyone wants. Obsessing over your health is no more balanced than neglecting it.
Duration and regularity should be your goal. It takes 45 minutes of continuous exercise to boost your metabolism. The best exercise for anyone is one which you enjoy. If you are unmotivated, pay for a class or find a workout partner and you will be more likely to stay on track. Energetic exercises such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Chi Gong help strengthen and balance your energy field. I would highly recommend incorporating at least one of these into your lifestyle.
Ok so you are eating better., exercising more and still no results. Here are some potential issues that can arise and what to do about them.
1. Gallbladder Problems- The GB secretes bile into the digestive tract, if you are back up with stones it will cease to function causing weight gain. Headaches , eye problems, shoulder tension, bloating, heartburn, pain on the right side of the ribcage, a bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty digesting greasy foods are all possible symptoms of GB issues. If you suspect you have GB problems I would highly recommend seeking out a naturopath or practitioner of Oriental Medicine first before going to a Western MD. The usual “modern” solution for GB issues is surgery. There are a wide variety of GB cleanses discussed on the internet. I also highly endorse a product called Royal Breakstone with a primary ingredient of a South American herb called Chanca Piedre www.wholeworldbotanicals.com
2. Thyroid- assuming you have already had your thyroid levels checked by your MD, many Doctors do not order a complete Thyroid panel which also measures T3 and T4 thyroid. My experience is simply this. If your T4 thyroid gets low, it can be helped by taking the amino acid L-arginine. 1000mg/day is enough for most people. For people who can tolerate it, soy milk is a good source of this protein, but be careful if you are on hormone replacement as soy is estrogenic. . Symptoms of T4 weakness would include weight gain, lethargy, dry skin and thin hair. Ask your Doctor to make sure a complete thyroid test is done.
3.Parasites-too numerous to mention, but parasites are more common than you think, even in the USA. There are numerous herbal products on the market to fight parasites. A regular parasite cleanse once a year in the spring is not a bad idea, especially if you have been out of the country, eat home grown vegetables, are on well water, or enjoy sushi.
4. B-12 deficiency- a common problem. Many people as we age, or inherently do not process enough vitamin B-12 for wellness. If you are anemic, get migraines frequently, or feel fatigued, have numbness or tingling in your body, you might be low in this hard to absorb vitamin. Simple solution; get some SUBLINGUAL B12 tablets and take regularly.
5. Intestinal Issues of absorption- simply put if your intestines are not absorbing food properly then you are going to gain weight, your metabolism is being told to slow down. Some common concerns are intestinal inflammation, diverticulitis, ulcers, colitis, food allergies and sensitivities, Omega 3 deficiency, intestinal plague, intestinal mold and mineral imbalances. If you suspect any of these issues seeking out professional alternative help would be advised.
6. Stomach Acid- you might have hypoacidity in your stomach. If you tend towards heartburn, it doesn’t necessarily mean your stomach is making MORE acid but less. The result is it causes GERD, stomach acid coming up into your esophagus. If you take antacids or supplement with calcium you might be making a bad situation worse. Instead try using some apple cider vinegar capsules which will improve your stomach acidity and help you digest better. Drugs that help heartburn do so, by making your digestive strength weak.
7.Digestive enzymes-As we age the pancreas can become less active causing deficiencies in enzyme production. Some nutritionists feel after the age of about 27 for most people this begins to occur. Regular enzyme supplementation is probably a good idea for most of us. I would get a multi-enzyme supplement that has a wide variety of enzymes in it for optimal absorption.
8.Water-Do be careful to drink enough water, and make sure the water you drink is safe. Tap water has too many chemicals in it such as chlorine. Do NOT assume spring water or well water is safe. Your best bet is to drink water that is filtered from city water, or distilled water. If you are a vegetarian, distilled may be too alkaline for you.
9.Kidneys- if you tend to have abnormal water weight or fluid retention you might have kidney stones. Not always painful until they move, kidney stones can back up the kidneys cause decline in energy, back pain and water retention. A western herb gravel root is effective for kidney stones, reducing coffee and soda, drinking good water, and especially for men ,sexual temperance can prevent stones. There is a Chinese Patent Herb Formula called “Passwan” that is very effective at eliminating stones.
10.Stress- goes without saying, that stress can effect our weight. Buddha is often portrayed with a large belly as this is a symbol of abundance; however this so-called “Boss Belly” is caused from the stress of worrying about one’s business. Thus the more successful you are the more worry? Something to think about. Nevertheless, from a western perspective, stress causes more release of Cortisol , the flight or fright hormone. If cortisol is not burned up by running from a saber-tooth tiger, then it stays in the system causing us to gain weight especially around the abdomen. Stress and caffeine in crease cortisol output. This is why exercise is so important to reducing stress and weight. There are supplements you can get at Health Food stores that sell products to reduce cortisol in your system. Making a concerted effort to reduce stress in your life would probably be a better idea.