Today's blog is the 3rd in the series Acupuncture and Weight Loss. If you've just started reading catch up by first taking a look at Acupuncture and Weight Loss to understand how Chinese Medicine works. Look over Acupuncture and Weight Loss II to get a grasp on eating smarter.
Today's focus is, What is the emotional component of your extra weight?
Acupuncture can help build new pathways in your body to maintain harmony. Its important to remember that acupuncture is subtle and it can be easy for your mind to override your new found health.
Sometimes weight troubles can be linked back to a personal experience. Or you might feel, even subconsciously that if you stay heavier that you're off the radar and people won't expect much from you.
Your "Chinese" emotions play a role in your weight loss goals.
Anger: bottling up anger or resentment causes the liver qi to stagnate. The longer this stagnation continues the more phlegm can build up in the body. Excess weight in Chinese Medicine is considered dampness or damp-phlegm. Its important to remember that each emotion is necessary, its the expression that counts. If you find yourself easily irritated try exercises to let your anger go. Here are three of my favorite.
>> The wood chopper: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance with a soft knees. Clasp your hands together. Take a deep inhale through your nose and raise your clasped hands over your head. Exhale powerfully out through your mouth and "chop the wood" bringing your clasped hands through your legs. (Keeping a soft bend in your knees as you do this will protect your back) Do this yoga posture mindfully letting your breathe move you slowly. Try 5-10 reps and then slowly stand for a moment and notice how you feel.
>> Try yelling at the top of your lungs. No, not at someone. If you've had a stressful day take a minute when you're in your car and let out a good scream. (make sure no one is around you) Think about the last time you screamed out loud, it might not has been since childhood. Let it go.
>> Go for a skip or a gallop. Its hard to stay angry and skip at the same time. Not only that but movement increases the circulation which will keep liver qi stagnation at bay.
Fear: If fear is a part of your excess weight (fear of acceptance, rejection, not being good enough) this can tax your kidneys. The kidneys regulate the water passage ways in your body and control your low back and libido. If you hold onto fear you may also hold on to extra weight for a false sense of security. Acupuncture can help release these fears and boost your confidence.
>> Try positive affirmations like, "I love myself just the way I am." Say it as many times as you can through out the day.
Worry/Overthinking: If you're always concerned with what other people think of you or are an incessant worrier this can cause your spleen to work overtime and your body to produce dampness in the body which will in turn increase your sweet tooth and decrease your digestive function. Focus on getting healthy for you and only you.
>> A spleen diet is one full of simple foods that are not overly seasoned. Quinoa, barley, and rice help to nourish the digestive system and drain dampness out of the body. Look for full sweet flavored foods to combat your sweet tooth with foods like sweet potatoes and other yellow root vegetables and grains.
>> Remember the phrase, "clean house, clean mind." If your thoughts are on overdrive take a look around your living or work space. If its full of clutter take some time to clean it up and get rid of things that are broken or you are no longer using. Donate items that might be beneficial to others. You might just notice feeling lighter or cleaner in your body or mind after your environment goes through a cleaning transformation.
Ultimately you have to love yourself where you are at in this present moment. If you aren't happy with who you are right now losing weight won't change that. There will always be 5 more pounds to go or a firmer this or that. You don't love the people in your life less or more based on their weight or appearance. Use the same compassion for yourself as you would for those you love.
Sarah Zender LAc
Whole Health Acupuncture 50 Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929