With so many fad diets and new health claims, it gets so confusing sometimes. Most days, I am asked “Why am I not losing weight?”, “I am eating less but my weight is not bulging!”. Day after day, the frustrations make it difficult to have positive vibes all day. It is a fact that most people are eating too much unhealthy food and moving too little. In fact, Singapore risks hitting obesity rates of 15% in seven years!
As much as I don’t like using the D-word (yes, diet), let’s explore what it means to be at a healthy weight. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is not merely about Calorie-in-Calorie-out. It is about increasing, fortifying and channeling Qi in the right way. Just like the skin is the mirror of your internals, the excess fat is the mirror of a series of bodily events caused by Qi imbalance. TCM always addresses the root cause of the problem, otherwise weight loss will never be permanent and you will most probably end up gaining it all back.
Here’s the problem, if you have poor digestion, prolonged stress or sleep problems, the stress hormones called cortisol will cause the body to store fat especially about your belly. Plus, when one organ is stressed and there isn’t enough Qi, it cannot perform at its optimum such as getting rid of excess dampness and phlegm (aka fat). You may also experience headaches, bloating and emotional stress which usually lead to excess cravings. Don’t ignore those signs!
Hence, in other to solve the problem, you need to power up your Qi. Most importantly, the digestive system (Spleen and Stomach) Qi has to be strong. This way your body will be able to transform and transport the food into energy that you can use. TCM believes that when Qi is strong and balanced, weight will be lost naturally, food cravings will be diminished and the urge toward compulsive eating decreases.
Eating,drinking and weight gain is not just about food.
It encompasses around one big entity – the body, mind and spirit. For example, many of us are constantly checking our social feeds, watching drama, listening to music while we eat. Sure, those actions are calorie-free/sugar-free/ fat-free but it is part of what you are taking in. If you are constantly in the state of stress and engagement, it will stay “undigested” in your system and remain blocked in the organs and meridians, causing a Qi imbalance.
To regain this imbalance, you need to be aware of your habits and unlearn them. In conjunction, you can go for acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medications. Also, instead of cutting out a certain food group or forcing yourself to adhere to a restrictive menu, eat what your body “asks for”.
Stop eating just because it is time to eat.
Look and be aware of what is going on.
Listen to your body, enjoy mindful eating and leave the food as soon as your hunger has diminished.