by Maureen Cromey
An Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Expert
In clinic I always discuss diet with my patients; Chinese medicine considers diet to be the most fundamental basis of health and being overweight is an indication of an imbalance. Children may be born with a propensity to fatness or it can develop as a result of illness or unhealthy lifestyle. In Chinese Medicine fat is seen as a type of damp in the body caused by a weakness in the spleen and stomach energy. It manifests as soft flabby flesh which seems to cover the whole body. The tongue is often pale in colour and a looks slightly flabby with teeth marks around the sides. This person may feel sluggish and tired and have great difficulty losing weight even on strict diets and can easily gain weight 'just looking at food'. Of all body types these people need the most support to balance their weight and restore energy levels. Chinese Medicine is very effective for this body type.
Another type of fat is the belly or midriff with normal or even thin limbs. In contrast to the damp fat this maybe firmer to touch and is attributed to stagnation of qi or energy which is blocked by emotions such as frustration, anger and stress. Here the tongue may look normal although often the coating is a little yellow and the sides of the tongue quite red. This person may be irritable and angry and often prone to belching! With stress reduction, exercise and appropriate foods, weight loss is easily managed.
There is also a condition known as stomach fire, you can see it on a person’s tongue, the central area relating to the stomach has very little coating and is often quite red. This is characterised by a gnawing hunger which can never be satisfied.
Chinese medicine seeks to balance out these disharmonies by diagnosing and treating on an individual basis. When you visit your practitioner they will ask you many different questions and check your tongue and pulse. By using acupuncture and herbs they will treat you to restore your metabolism. The food you eat will also be considered as medicine and you will be advised on what to eat and how to prepare it. Food preparation is important as it changes the energy of the food and raw food increases damp, and it also cools stomach fire. Food can help one condition but worsen another. They will also suggest an exercise regime and other lifestyle changes such as stress management.
The best and most effective weight loss tip is to balance your body and eat in harmony with it. Go and see your TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner and ask them for advice and have treatments if you need them. Only ever eat to feel 70% full and always eat good quality, fresh simple foods. Avoid sugars and additives, excessive alcohol and stimulants, eat slowly and sit down when eating. Exercise every day, walking for at least 30 minutes and get plenty of sleep.
Your weight will gradually even out to a comfortable healthy level and you will live a healthy life, with a significantly reduced risk of disease onset.