Q: I'd be most interested in some weight loss advice.
A: Here are 10 weight loss strategies using a combination of TCM and Western Medicine thinking. Enjoy :)
Be Nice to Your Kidneys!
Strategy 1: Sleep 7-8 hours, Be in Bed Between 9pm-12 am.
It's a common fact that people with excess cortisol have more inflammation in their bodies, have belly fat and have more trouble losing weight. Getting enough sleep is central to weight loss as it allows the body to repair and rejuvenate. According to Chinese medicine, we should be in bed between 9pm-12am at the latest.
Be Nice to Your Liver!
The liver does over 500 jobs in the body and in TCM the organ that is most affected by stress is the liver. An imbalanced liver results in anger, irritation and frustration and as Wo points out, who isn't walking around with "them things?" The liver is also responsible for the "free flow of qi," which means that ALL negative emotions affect the liver adversely.
Strategy 2: Eat Clean, Real Food.
Cook your own food with real ingredients Make each meal consist of 70-80% veggies (or 1 lb of veggies a day).<- Here's an article by Cat to help you out with that. Sit down, chew and enjoy your meal. Be thankful to the farmers and people who grew the food you are eating now.
Strategy 3: Minimize Toxins in Your Environment.
The liver is an organ most affected by toxic chemicals in the environment, so eat organic food (or grow your own in mineral-rich soil) and choose natural and chemical-free products for your home and beauty needs. On the EWG's Skindeep Cosmetic Database you can rate the toxicity of the products you are using and on the EWG's Food Scores you can assess the toxicity in the foods you are eating.
Strategy 4: Don't Eat After 7pm.
In TCM, eating late at night puts a stress on the liver. Since the liver is an organ which plays a major role in digestion (especially fat digestion), having undigested food in your belly while you sleep will impede weight loss. I've seen some people implementing just this one strategy of not eating late at night and have noticed weight loss results. A strategy to try for sure!
Be Nice to Your Spleen!
Strategy 5: Minimize Damp Foods-> Minimize Sugars and Carbs
In TCM, the spleen (which is associated with the earth element) is in the center of 5-elements theory and it rules over all matters of digestion. It's not a hard concept to understand compared to Western medicine, where the microbiome figures most prominently as a central aspect of health. In fact, many health practitioners have noted that issues with the digestive system lead to and occur concurrently with many other chronic health issues in the body.
Since many people have parasites, candida, imbalanced gut floras, problems digesting carbs and problems with blood sugar regulation (not to mention constipation), eating low glycemic veggies and fruits is an excellent strategy to follow. This is a good resource to see which foods are low glycemic. For some carb-free recipes, check out this article by Cat :)
Strategy 6: Create a Healthy Microbiome with Probiotics.
Having good gut flora is the key to having a proper functioning digestive system, one that can digest and assimilate the nutrition from food for your body.
Instead of spending money on pricey probiotics, you can easily rebuild your gut flora by making your own cheaply and easily. Check out this article by Cat where you can find recipes on water kefir, dairy kefir, sauerkraut, fermented veggies and more.
A couple of probiotics in capsule worth mentioning: S. Boulardi helps with candida infections while L. Plantarum is a good choice for everyone including those with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. HealthForce contains L. Plantarum as well as the prebiotics burdock and yacon.
Be Nice to Your Lymphatic System!
Strategy 7:Get That Lymph Moving!
Rebounding is an excellent way to move lymph and remove toxins from the body. It creates circulation in the body while being beneficial in reducing cellulite. It's an excellent way to increase bone density while being gentle on the joints. Those with reduced mobility can purchase a support on some models. Cheap models can be purchased at big box stores for less than $50 (you can check out this midrange-priced one HERE).
Strategy 8: Do Weight Bearing Exercises, Burst Training or High Intensity Interval Training->Burn Calories Even While not Working Out
When you do weight bearing exercises, whether using body weight only or with actual weights, you continue to burn calories long after you've finished working out. There are a number of ways you can lift weights, including supersetting, pyramiding up or down, and doing exercises in a circuit. "Circuit training" has become popularized as high intensity interval training (HIIT), where one exercise is done for so many seconds followed by a very short rest period (commonly 50 seconds on and 10 seconds rest) and then the sequence is repeated for x number of minutes (20, 30, 45 and 60 minutes are common). HIIT routines are intense as they involve using large muscle groups, often with additional weight (or body weight only or with plyometric movements). Another method is burst training where you are pushing yourself hard for 20-30 seconds, then cooling down for 60-90 seconds, then repeating this sequence for x minutes. As an example, you could run as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds. Both HIIT and burst training stimulate type II twitch fibers as well as growth hormone (also known as the youthing hormone). You can read more HERE.
Strategy 9: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be an excellent strategy to help you with your weight loss goals as it:
1- Stimulates growth hormone
2-Normalizes insulin sensitivity (in TCM lingo that would be helping to tonify your spleen)
3- Normalizes ghrelin (also known as the hunger hormone).
When used with strategy #4 above, intermittent fasting can then look like this: don't eat after 7pm and then delay eating breakfast by a few hours, or perhaps go for brunch or just do lunch. Feel free to incorporate a morning workout and then choose a protein-rich meal after training. Read more: HGH and intermittent fasting by Dr. Mercola
Strategy 10: Get in Your Minerals
Wo recommends getting in herbal infusions to help with weight loss. Herbs in this category include diuretics and lymphatic stimulants such as Self-heal, Nettle and Cleavers, and herbs that work on the liver (in terms of fat loss and detox) such as Dandelion root, Burdock root, Chicory root, Milk Thistle and Red Clover. These herbs are gentle and can be taken daily or 2-3x a week.
is a Health Practitioner with a Background in Chinese Medicine. Get in Some of her Savvy Adivce When She Answers Your Health Question.
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