“How to lose weight” is one of the most searched topics online. This is not surprising as obesity is a global health crisis. In our country alone, over 50% of Malaysian adults are overweight (30.4%) or obese (19.7%). Don’t be part of these statistics. Find ways to manage your weight and stay healthy. Here are five tips that support a healthy weight loss diet to ensure you can reach your weight goals effectively.
Tip 1: Start with a well-balanced weight loss diet
Generally speaking, we gain weight when we overeat or consume more calories than we expend. However, we don’t recommend reaching a calorie deficit by starving yourself. Doing so actually leads to more overeating.
Ensure that the calories you consume are not “empty” calories from sugary and fatty processed foods. At least a quarter of your plate should be lean proteins, another quarter with whole grains, and the remaining half should be primarily vegetables and fruits. The high fibre content in vegetables and fruits helps keep you feeling full longer, reducing your likelihood of overeating. In addition, you may want to consider a weight loss diet plan specific to your body type.
Tip 2: Exercise
Weight loss isn’t just about dieting; regular exercise is also an integral part of many successful weight loss programs. It’s important to engage in some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for a total of at least 150 minutes each week. Activities may include brisk walking, jogging, playing badminton, cycling, and many others.
Some movement is always better than none. Consider incorporating exercise into your daily tasks. For example, instead of riding on the lift, take the stairs. When going to the mall, park further away from the entrance so that you’ll end up walking more.
To limit sitting or lying down for too long, consider a standing desk for work. During lunchtime, avoid eating at your desk. Instead, pick a place away from your desk or the office.
Tip 3: Herbal Medicine and Therapy
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the accumulation of fat tissue is caused by phlegm and dampness. The spleen is where phlegm is produced and transformed into body fluids. Damage to the spleen from eating high-sugar foods or a lack of exercise leads to the accumulation of metabolic wastes that transform into dampness.
According to Physician Anita Pee from Eu Yan Sang, deficiencies in the qi (vital life energy), blood, yin (passive energy), yang (active energy), or blockages in particular meridians lead to the underlying causes of fat tissue accumulation in different parts of the body. Restoring balance will allow your body to metabolise food and wastes properly, enabling you to lose excess weight.
One of the ways to restore this balance in TCM is by taking herbs specific to the cause of excessive weight gain that your TCM physician has identified. The four causes of obesity correspond to four different sets of herbs:
- Dampness accumulation responds well to Astragalus Root, Black Atractylodes Rhizome, and Poria
- Heat-Dampness can be mitigated with Job’s Tears Seed, Water Plantain Rhizome, and Folium Nelumbinis.
- Qi-Blood Stagnation can be addressed with Nut Grass Rhizome, Tangerine Peel, and Hawthorn Fruit.
- Yang Deficiency is usually treated with Cinnamon Twig, Fresh Ginger Rhizome, and Dodder Seed.
Your herbal therapy can also include herbal mixes that encourage proper absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins. You may also wish to try a tea that consist of some of the abovementioned herbs.
Tip 4: Acupuncture
Like herbal therapy, there are also four sets of acupoints that can address excessive weight gain:
- Dampness accumulation: Shui Fen (CV-9), Shui Dao (ST-28), and Qi Hai (CV-6) acupoints can assist with dispersing dampness accumulation
- Heat Dampness: Qu Chi (LI-11), Shang Ju Xu (ST-37), and Nei Ting (ST-44) acupoints
- Qi-Blood Stagnation: Zhi Gou (SJ-6), He Gu (LI-4), Tai Chong (LR-3)
- Yang Deficiency: Qi Hai (CV-6), Guan Yuan (CV-4), and Shen Shu (BL-23) acupoints
Additionally, certain meridians correspond to organ system blockages that manifest in specific types of fat accumulation, such as big thighs or flabby arms. In these cases, it’s possible to use acupoint therapy to address these problem areas.
Tip 5: Cupping Therapy
Cupping involves stimulating blood flow and qi using vacuum suction cups that have been properly sterilised. Recent studies on cupping therapy have shown that it can improve blood flow just under the skin and stimulate the body’s autonomic nervous system to eliminate toxins trapped in the tissues. One study even showed that cupping therapy significantly reduced blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Combining Western Medicine, TCM, and Healthy Lifestyle changes
Western medicine’s focus on causal relationships between certain behaviours and excessive weight gain is well complemented by the TCM approach that looks at internal imbalances responsible for fat accumulation.
A 2012 study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that four months of TCM herbal treatments and acupuncture resulted in the subjects losing 5.8 kg and 4.1 kg, respectively. These results are comparable to treatments in Western medicine, as shared by the lead researcher, Professor Juliana Chan.
Vanity reasons aside, a healthy weight loss diet and a well-balanced lifestyle contribute to overall health and longevity. The five tips we shared above draws from both Western medicine and TCM, which include exercise, lifestyle changes, and traditional modalities so that you can shed excess weight and slim down the natural way.
This is an adaptation of an article, “Weight Loss: A Natural Approach”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.
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