This blog will piggyback on a previous blog post about weight loss and acupuncture.
When doing acupuncture for weight loss it is important to remember that this is a process. Your chance of lasting success depends on a slower transition. In this way your new habits will become second nature, rather than an overnight deprivation of everything you are used to. In Chinese Medicine we would call this bringing the body into harmony, rather than creating an imbalance in the opposite direction.
In this blog we will talk about food as medicine and your role in your health.
When I was at The Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine their research of acupuncture for weight loss showed that for some people weight loss happened right away and for others first their body had to get healthier and then the weight loss happened. In a world full of processed and artificial foods and stress I would argue that the latter is more true for most Americans who want to achieve lasting weight loss results.
In the 8 branches of Chinese Medicine food is seen as the first medicine and every tool after this should be seen as a supplement. Please don't be fooled. Acupuncture can help you lose weight but if you are not willing to make changes in the lifestyle that allowed you to gain weight don't expect optimal results.
If you are using Splenda or any other artificial sweetener please stop now. This could be part of what is keeping your weight on. First off, did you know splenda was a pesticide before it was a no cal sweetener? Or how about that it turns to formaldehyde when its heated to your body temperature? You can get more information on splenda and sugar substitutes here. When you use artificial foods your body doesn't feel satisfied and this will cause you to overeat and contribute to more sugar cravings. Also, splenda is toxic to your body and when your body doesn't know how to process something, especially something toxic it stores it in your body's fat. The more toxic foods you eat the more your body will hold onto fat so it has somewhere to store all that junk.
Ditch the Splenda and try Stevia, Agave nectar, honey, or natural cane sugar instead. These alternatives are natural and are super sweet so you'll use less and feel more satisfied. Trader Joe's or Whole Foods will have any of these. More and more regular grocery stores are carrying them now too.
The best way to stop eating junk food is to stop buying it! When you do have a craving for something sweet or salty go out and buy a one portion size of whatever it is that you have a hankering for. Don't be swayed by the buy one get one free cartons of ice cream. Its not a deal when you think of how much money you'll ultimately spend in trying to loose the weight you gained from the ice cream. An occasional treat should be just that, a treat. So when you indulge ENJOY it. Savor every bite so that you're satisfied instead of wanting more and under no circumstances feel bad about it.
Fat free and low fat is as big an enemy as Splenda for the same reasons mentioned above. You might not be aware that your body needs fat in order to lose weight. If you deprive your body of fats, especially healthy fats it will hold on to whatever fat it has even harder. Avocados, coconuts, olive oil, and fish are all great sources of healthy fats.
Find a balance between eating for energy and eating for enjoyment. You can have both but you might have to re-frame what kinds of foods you enjoy. For example, if every time you eat ice cream you have diarrhea maybe that's not bringing much enjoyment to your life. Again we refer back to all of this as a process. You might not enjoy so called "healthy" foods at first as you get all that toxic crap out of your system. The beginning of this transition might be a challenge and that's ok. Find enjoyment even in this part of the process. If this feels like punishment it will never be something you stick to.
I do google searches for recipes each week. Sometimes I look for ideas to try something I've never eaten before (i love all sorts of ethnic dishes), other times its because the picture looks yummy. One thing that all the recipes I look for that have in common is that they do not contain dairy or fake foods like splenda and they are full of veggies and yes, meat but in moderation. (if you think you don't like veggies start first with veggies you do like and go from there, over time this will change) I only shop for what I need for each of my recipes and whatever is cooked for dinner is the next day's lunch. What I've found is that the food I make at home tastes more delicious than eating out and I actually spend way less on food and throw away less rotten food that was lost in the fridge. Its completely taken away the question "what's for dinner" that usually comes up when I'm starving and don't feel like cooking. And cooking something at home that you have all the ingredients for is just as fast as pulling through a drive-thru window.
And yes, its ok to still eat out every once in a while. Its ok to indulge. When I really want a hot fudge sundae I eat it. The difference now is that I don't want one every day or even every week acupuncture and herbs really helped me get over that hump. In fact now I am more in tune to what my body needs. I'll crave real food more then I will the sweet stuff. I don't count calories or mark off how many times I've exercised this week. I eat foods I enjoy eating that taste good and are good for me and I move my body in ways I enjoy doing rather then worrying about sweating enough at the gym.
Sarah Zender LAc
Whole Health Acupuncture 50 Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929