EASTERN MEDICINE TREATING THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC: THE WEIGHT LOSS BASICS
Healthy Living Blog
The latest 2021 studies reveal that nearly 40% of adults in the United States over the age of twenty are considered medically obese. Even more startling is that over 70% of Americans are simply overweight including obesity. This specific study comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of Harvard School of Public Health. These findings show that at least 9 states have over 1/3 rate of its total population suffering with obesity. The critical reality facing these individuals is that many other diseases are directly linked to this epidemic. These linked diseases include cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, diabetes and many more. There is estimated to be over 300,000 people who die each year due to obesity related death. So let us take a look at what ancient texts and Traditional Chinese Medicine tell us about the underlying root causes of this epidemic regarding remedy without only exploring the more obvious choices of better food choices and more exercise.
Managing proper weight can be one of the most difficult tasks in the healthcare industry. The issue can consist of not only physical but psychosocial influences as well that are brought on by habits formed in early development or may even have a genetic component. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recognizes the BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) in relation to height in three categories of class 1 defined as 30-34.9, class 2 35-39.9, and class 3 greater than 40. A desired body weight is considered 18.5-24.9 and overweight is 25-29.9. The problem with BMI measurement is that though it makes a good reference, it does not account for muscle or body type. Many biological factors today play a big role in body weight such as endocrinal disorders, metabolism, and certain pharmaceuticals as well.
In ancient text, obesity is related to phlegm and dampness and can be referred to upon both differentiation and treatment of congested fluids. The Nei Jing clearly states that obesity occurs based on both constitutional status and traits that are generational in nature. Other causes stated are lack of poor circulation of qi and blood from lack of physical exercise, improper diet due to overindulgence in greasy, rich and sugary foods which damage the middle jiao. Lastly, insufficient righteous qi can play a part in obesity due to aging, chronic illness, or a constitutional deficiency. The basic patterns for obesity which are seen and treated by Eastern Medicine include spleen deficiency with dampness accumulation, spleen and kidney yang deficiency, qi stagnation and blood stasis, phlegm-dampness obstruction middle burner, and hyperactive stomach with hypoactive spleen.
Both acupuncture points and herbal formulas are customized based on the diagnosis of individual to strengthen the spleen and transform dampness, clear heat and unblock bowel, harmonize the stomach and transform phlegm, facilitate qi flow and move the blood, and/or warm the yang and transform dampness. Research driven protocols of 6 to 8 weeks are in place to optimize digestion and nourish the spleen for best results. Acupuncture points are typically selected on Ren, Stomach, Spleen meridians and also may include auricular (ear) points. Eastern medicine helps balance the body and can help regulate the endocrine system. Acupuncture can help restore hormonal balance and help regulate energy levels. By strengthening the kidney essence, this helps restore nourishment to the endocrine glands.
With selecting the best foods for weight loss, remember that our bodies need healthy fats so we don’t crave the unhealthy ones. These include a variety of nuts like almonds, walnuts, macadamia, and Brazilian nuts. Other good fats are the seeds like ground psyllium, sunflower, flaxseed oil or ground, and chia (soak overnite in favorite nut milk). Choose good quality lean protein like wild caught fish, veal, eggs (especially extra omega-3 fortified), cottage cheese, and lean beef. For carbohydrates choose whole grain or high quality complex ones. These include whole grain healthy cereals with preferably over 6 grams of fiber, a variety of vegetables, brown rice, squash, and a large variety of beans. These may include lima, black, kidney, navy, lentils, pinto, or garbanzo beans. Remember striving for 25-30 grams of fiber a day through fruits and vegetables and simple proper hydration goes a long way in improving overall metabolism and satiating the stomach.
Some added tips for weight loss are to keep your mouth busy with a heathy sugarless gum so it doesn’t stimulate your appetite. Slowing your meals and savoring each bite and do mindful eating for the best chewing and beneficial digestion. Have healthy snacks on hand and do meal planning and pantry renovation with healthy flours, canned beans, and nourishing foods. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with clean water and you will find your body is usually thirsty, not always hungry. Get proper sleep so hormones stay more balanced and you will be naturally rejuvenated. Be patient and realize that each good small step leads to an amazing journey. Allow yourself a cheat day if needed. Remember to nourish your body not simply just to feed it. Move and get your blood circulating. Even if it is just stretching, dance, or light yoga, it all helps! The body is meant to move. Also, self- love is mandatory to appreciate your individualism and show it by making healthy choices daily for both the mind and body. Call today for your appointment and let me guide you on your journey to optimal health! 772-626-6419