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Home » Sexual Resources » Sex Articles » Holistic

Weight Loss
An Asian Approach

With so many Americans are overweight and the diet companies are making a bundle marketing to people eager to lose their unwanted cellulite. A major problem in America is the confusion around what diets are healthy and what diets may even be dangerous. That is what has prompted me to write this article, as I have found that Asian medicine, having been practiced for thousands of years provides an effective, individualized, and alternative approach than the multitude of western fad diets.

To begin, I will review some of the Asian principles behind excess weight, and then will provide practical tools and suggestions based on Asian traditions.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.

The basic premise to good health is energy (life force or chi). When the energy that is in the body is adequate, it is able to fuel the metabolism so that food is transformed into energy and blood. When there is a lack of energy (chi), digestion and elimination suffer, and we begin to retain water and accumulate phlegm, fat, and cysts.

The idea of just cutting back on calories to lose weight may be effective, but will prove to be a short lived weight loss if healthy nutrients aren't consumed. What may be startling to you to learn is that the majority of over weight people are starving for nutrients. I know that sounds contradictory, but it is true. Most people who feel hungry all the time, and eat more are hungry because their body is not getting the nutrients that it needs. The overweight body is sending messages to the brain to get more nutrients, not empty calories in junk food, in order to run properly. When we eat more healthy, we will find we do not eat as much and we will reduce our cravings.

Junk food only creates a void of nutrients in the body, and with all the empty calories the body begins to put on fat, without the energy it needs. That is how junk food can become addictive. The weaker our bodies are, the more we crave food, the more we give it junk food, the more we are hungry... and the vicious cycle continues.

In Asian medicine, an increase in one's clothing size is an indication of a decrease in energy within the body. Physical movements become an effort, we feel puffy, slow, heavy, and often have water retention.

The first step in Asian weight loss is to strengthen the body by providing it with proper nutrients, and possibly combining using Acupuncture to aide the energy (chi) in flowing through the body properly. The second step is to begin loosing weight.

An Asian approach to weight loss is individualized... and there is not one method that applies to everyone. I will provide a quick break down of the most common approaches later in this article.

Energy within the body varies from person to person, and even varies within the same person depending on the time. That is why there is no universal weight-loss diet that works for everyone. The best diet is the one that will strengthen your weak chi.

Asian medicine links digestion with other bodily processes such as breathing, circulation, and immune strength. It is a holistic approach, looking at the whole person, not just a part (like the excess weight itself.)

Excess weight is put on for many reasons... emotional stress or unfulfilled needs, physical ailments, environment, and many others. All of the reasons that someone puts on excess weight goes back to the principle that they have weakened chi. Thus, it will be important for anyone who wants to loose weight to examine those things in their life that contributes to weakening their energy (life force).


Emotional Factors During Weight Loss

Often emotions are trapped in the excess weight that we carry around. It is similar to how we can also store emotions within our muscles. If you have ever had a massage, then you may very well have felt emotional releases when you have had particular muscles worked on. Massage therapists are schooled to deal with their clients mental and emotional health for this very reason. While dieting to loose weight, you will most likely experience sensitive issues that you have not dealt with. Most people carry excess weight as a form of protection from their inner feelings. Often we can feel vulnerable when we begin to loose weight, and it is important to provide ourselves with emotional nurturing. This is a good time to journal, seek counseling, keep a dream journal, and use other tools to assist in cleansing not only your body, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.


The tastes that assist in weight loss:

Five Tastes -

In Asian medicine there are five tastes that are used to treat various health problems. The "tastes" include -

Taste:

  • Bitter
  • Sweet
  • Hot / Pungent
  • Salty
  • Sour

Examples:

  • Green Tea, Spinach
  • Pasta, Sugar, Cheese
  • Garlic, Chili Pepper, Clove
  • Salt, Olives, Seaweeds, Pickles
  • Lemon, Grapefruit, Vinegar

Bitter, sour and hot flavors all work to positively affect digestion for weight loss. Hot spices dissolve toxins, while bitter and sour flavors assist in eliminating them from the body.

An example of how this actually is experienced may be the difference between how you might feel after having a salad made with leafy greens, lemon juice, and radish (bitter, sour, hot), and eating something heavy and high in empty calories. After eating the salad, you may begin to feel more energized and refreshed. While eating something creamy, fat or sweet will sedate you and decrease the body's ability to cleanse itself.


General Asian Dieting Tips

  • Drink Green Tea every day, not only does it contain antioxidants to assist in detoxifying the body, but it can be a nice way to start the morning.

  • Make sure not to starve yourself. The body will naturally respond by slowing your metabolism down, thus making it harder for you to lose weight.

  • Consume bitter tasting cleansing herbs to reduce your cravings for sweets. Eat or juice dandelion and other dark leafy greens. Also try using bee pollen or royal jelly.

  • If your tongue is whitish in color, you should eat a raw or cooked radish daily. If it is reddish in color, you should chew fennel seeds or licorice sticks (not the candy, the actual natural sticks). If your tongue is pale pink, then you should chew cloves, or use them in teas.

  • Never start the day with cold raw foods or drinks. These weaken digestion and can cause headaches and nausea.

  • Exercise before you eat. Sweating speeds the metabolism. Try to eat no later than one half hour after your workout. Also drinking cinnamon tea increases sweating.

In Asian medicine, there are what are termed as "constitutional types." These categories cover the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a persons nature. The five elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood are used to categorize tendencies for someone's constitutional type. The most common constitutional types that people with weight problems fall into are weakness in the Earth and Water Elements.

Water Element Types

If you have weakness in the area of the Water element you may be one of those people that can put on extra weight when eating nothing in excess at all. You tend to have water retention, and often feel tired. You will experience some or all of the following symptoms- poor digestion, allergies, hormone imbalances, or mood swings. Chronic problems with a water element deficiency show up as hormonal imbalances, depression, sexual dysfunction, and addictions.

Earth Element Types

If you have weakness in the area of the Earth element you may be especially prone to gaining weight around the mid section and hips. You crave sweets, and heavy foods. You suffer from excess phlegm that congests the sinuses or results in headaches, abdominal bloating or even stomachaches. You most likely experience blood sugar problems that will make you feel tired or spacey. You may feel unhappy, ungrounded, or unsettled.

Chronic problems with a earth element deficiency show up in parasites, tumors, cysts, mental disorders, poor memory, and impaired concentration.


Chronic Obesity

If you have struggled with excess weight over a long time, then all of the five elements are involved and will need to be treated. If this is your situation, you probably related to both the weaknesses in the Water and Earth element types. When reading about the different approaches to weight loss, you may want to alternate between the Water and Earth approaches as you will need to gain strength in both areas to successfully lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

A beautiful, overweight woman sat waiting for a consultation with an Asian practitioner. She badly needed to lose 80 pounds. She was working hard hours, coupled with big responsibilities. She often described herself as "wired and tired." She had a "superwoman" mentality, trying to do all things for all people. Yet, she was too tired to make an effort to lose weight.

Often this type of person has tremendous drive, and works under intense conditions. By the time of middle age, these types often have driven themselves into their careers, marriages, children, with no energy left for themselves. These types of people are unable to lose weight because they do not have the energy to do it. In order to lose weight and keep it off, you have to gain strength within.


Constitutional Types

These categories cover the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a persons nature. The five elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood are used to categorize tendencies for someone's constitutional type. The most common constitutional types that people with weight problems fall into are weakness in the Earth and Water Elements.

If you have struggled with excess weight over a long time, then all of the five elements are involved and will need to be treated. If this is your situation, you probably related to both the weaknesses in the Water and Earth element types. When reading about the different approaches to weight loss, you may want to alternate between the Water and Earth approaches as you will need to gain strength in both areas to successfully lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight.


Are you weak in the element of Water, Earth or Both?

Weak Water Symptoms

  • Tongue- Large, scalloped, pale or red

  • Figure- global water retention and fat throughout the body

  • Early Warning Signs- puffy under the eyes or at ankles

  • Energy- Low or irregular emotions- depression, anxiety, unrealistic confidence


Weak Water Element Check List

___ I often crave salty, rich foods, or chocolate
___ When tired, I eat a lot of whatever is around
___ I get very tired in late afternoon or all day
___ I have a swollen tongue
___ My whole body feels bloated
___ I can gain weight with no effort
___ Healthy cooking bores me
___ I am always up for a challenge, but lack energy
___ I sweat easily
___ I always demand the best of myself
___ I work or play until I drop
___ I have usually given my all to others
___ I have an aching or tired lower back
___ I feel depressed
___ I often can't fall asleep until very late
___ I need caffeine or uppers to keep my energy up
___ My sexual energy is low

If you checked five or more of these responses, chance are that you are overweight or can become overweight because you tend to abuse your adrenal energy.


Weak Earth Symptoms-

  • Tongue- Puffy, large, possibly coated or spotted

  • Figure- Bloated abdomen, cellulite at waist and hips

  • Early Warning Signs- Sweet cravings, indigestion, stomachache, diarrhea, or constipation.

  • Energy- Fatigue after eating, poor concentration when hungry Emotions- Depressed, obsessive or chronic worrying


Weak Earth Element Check List

___ I love sweets, desserts, ice cream, and cheese
___ I feel bloated or get stomachaches after eating
___ I often have gas
___ My energy is low after meals, I feel like I could nap
___ I have a lot of mucus
___ I eat on the run, and often eat junk foods
___ I enjoy sweets and fruits every day
___ I use lots of butter
___ I worry about people, problems, and money often
___ I often have diarrhea or constipation
___ Rich or milky foods nauseate me, but I crave them
___ I sometimes get pain under my ribs
___ I often feel anxious, irritable or depressed
___ Pasta, bread and sugar are my addictions
___ I would rather buy new clothes than an exercise machine
___ I'd rather go on a gourmet vacation than hiking
___ My work & hobbies involve sitting and fussing over details
___ I eat when I am alone
___ I eat when I am upset or nervous
___ When depressed, I eat chocolate, cheesecake, breads
___ I always eat too much at social gatherings
___ Eating keeps me calm
___ I hate having an empty stomach
___ When I am hungry I often get angry or upset
___ I have to have sweets daily
___ Before my period, I eat things I don't normally eat

If you checked five or more of these responses, chance are that you are overweight or can become overweight because you tend to abuse your digestion energy.

If you checked five or more of the responses to both the weak Water and Earth checklists, then you will need use both the Water and Earth approaches to your weight loss as you most likely have struggled with youth weight for a long time and are weak in both elements.

Acupuncture assists in balancing all the elements whether you are over weight or not. That is why I personally feel that the benefits of Acupuncture greatly aide weight loss as it strengthens the body from within. Make sure to read my article on Acupuncture in this newsletter for more information on it. When combined with taking in proper nutrients and exercise, you will feel fantastic, and your body will reflect that.

You will know when you are improving because you will look and feel better, you will think more clearly and your cravings will diminish.


The Water And Earth Weight Loss Approaches

To strengthen a weak water element in a weight loss program it is important to strengthen the kidney and adrenal chi. To strengthen a weak earth element in a weight loss program it is important to strengthen the liver, gallbladder, stomach, and spleen/pancreas organ systems. Using vegetables, fruits, herbs and water to assist in cleansing is the key to treat both. Combine that with exercise after a week or two of changing your diet, and possible two to four Acupuncture sessions, and you will see a dramatic difference.


Your Tongue

In Asian medicine the tongue reflects a lot about the health of an individual.It is the one internal organ that you can see directly, and reflects your metabolism. Its color, shape and mobility indicate vital energy and blood production which effects your ability to digest food, breathe, eliminate toxins, and fight illness.


In dealing with weight loss the following applies-

  • Pale Tongue With Weak Water Element-
    Use warming foods and herbs with hot and sweet flavors. Herbs: Cloves, Sexton, fennel seed tea

  • Pale Tongue With Weak Earth Element-
    Use warming foods and herbs with pungent and sour flavors. Herbs: fresh ginger, lemon, hawthorn berry Vigorous daily exercise, combined with massage and saunas

  • Red Tongue With Weak Water Element-
    Use cooling, cleansing foods and herbs with bitter and sour tastes. Herbs: Dandelion greens, Fennel seeds, cilantro

  • Red Tongue With Weak Earth Element-
    Use cooling, cleansing foods and herbs with bitter and sour flavors. Herbs: Aloe Vera, Dandelion


What makes a weak Water Element better or worse?

Worse-
Overwork, caffeine, jet lag, chronic illness, thyroid weakness, hormone imbalance, allergies, hard to digest foods.

Better-
Rest, herbs, and foods that rebuild the kidneys and adrenal glands.


What makes a weak Earth Element better or worse?

Worse-
Fats, butter, fried foods, buts, tahini, dairy foods, red meat, pork, sweets, pastries, candy, some grains, pasta, sedentary habits, coffee, humidity, afternoon naps, late night eating, emotional imbalance.

Better-
Salad, bitter tasting foods, green tea, barley, quinoa, beans, fish, dried fruits, apple, citrus, all vegetables, seeds, rice cakes, seaweeds, tofu, soy milk, wheat bran, health oils (canola, olive, flaxseed), bee pollen, and royal jelly, plenty of exercise.

You can read more of my own weight loss tips here as well as my biggest weight loss tip, which I call a holistic weight loss drug (even though it really isn't a drug).

 

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