Lose Weight in 10 Easy Steps with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Every few years another weight loss drug gets thrown out because of their proven health risks. It used to be Redux and Fen-Phen. Yet, the FDA still approves new diet drugs, despite potential side effects that may be damaging to the heart. Is there another, safer way to lose weight?
The majority of people who resort to drugs to help them lose weight have previously tried dieting. Unfortunately, many studies indicate that as many as 95% of these people regain all their weight within a year?
The problem with many diets and diet drugs is that both approaches attempt to eliminate excess weight quickly by treating only the symptom. Because they don't reach the root of the problem, the results are not long lasting and may even be damaging.
It seems to be time to begin looking at the weight issue in a more holistic fashion. Let's look at weight loss through the eyes of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
For thousands of years, TCM has compared digestion to a pot on a flame. In order for proper digestion to take place, it is essential to keep the flame burning. Digestion is a warming process and cold tends to freeze, constrict, and slow down the normal digestive functions. Anything that might smother or put out the flame can cause digestive disturbances, which can lead to sluggishness in the digestive process. Improper digestion impairs the body's ability to transport and transform food and fluids, leading to a build-up of dampness and phlegm, or what we know as excess body fat.
TCM offers ten simple guidelines to support proper digestion, which will ultimately lead to a reduction of body fat.
1. Avoid very cold foods. Ice water and drinks will shut down your digestive fires. Don't eat food directly from the refrigerator. WARM it up!
2. Reduce intake of sugars and sweets, fried, greasy foods, and milk and dairy products. Sugars and sweets cause an increase of fluids in the body, creating excess phlegm, dampness, and digestive problems. Fried, greasy foods do the same. Milk and dairy products are considered both cold and sweet and create much phlegm.
3. Eat more cooked and less raw food. Although many people think they receive more nutrients by eating some foods raw (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and salads), according to TCM, raw foods are too cold and difficult to digest, thereby not allowing the body to actually absorb all those nutrients. Lightly cooked foods make digestion easier and allow a higher net gain of nutrients through better absorption. (Some raw foods are okay to eat during the hot summer months to create balance.)
4. Chew food very well. Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing warms the food and breaks it down, making it easier on the stomach.
5. Avoid constant nibbling. Nibbling all day can cause food retention and digestive stagnation.
6. Don't eat late at night. Metabolism is slower at this time of day and food tends to just sit there causing stagnation and weight gain.
7. Avoid overeating. Overeating can smother the digestive fires and cause food retention.
8. Avoid eating when under emotional stress. According to TCM, stress upsets the liver's energetic functions which then hinders normal digestive functions.
9. Reduce salt intake. Salt retains fluids in the body and too much of it will make it more difficult to eliminate excess fluid.
10. Exercise! Exercise is a must for a successful weight loss program.
Some people may do all of the above and still not lose weight. They may give up on the more natural, effective weight loss program and try drugs or fad diets. Too often this is counter-productive. The problem may well be that after years of impaired digestion, their metabolism may simply not be functioning as well as it should. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may be used to stimulate the metabolism, dissolve fatty accumulations, regulate the appetite and strengthen the digestive system. By "reinforcing the flame under the pot," TCM gets to the root of the problem, brings the body back into balance and allows the body to heal itself.
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