What exactly is a “healthy” weight?
The short answer is that it’s a weight that lowers one’s risk for health problems.
One popular measure of healthy weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI), which measures body fat (Don’t we like numbers in Western culture!).
The formula to determine BMI goes like this:
BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches2 ) x 703
The range for healthy BMI is 18.5 — 24.9. Generally, anything above or below that number is considered at risk for weight related issues, however, other factors such as gender, body type, activity level, and family history, are also important considerations for health risks.
TCM and Healthy Weight
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), health, and healthy weight is attained through sustained balance between external and internal forces.
External balance is about interactions with the outside world. What we take in from the environment such as air, water, food, and radiation are processed (or not), and what is absorbed goes into our bodies for rebuilding and energy. What is not absorbed goes out in the form of waste or gets stored as toxins.
- What foods are consumed
- When and how they are consumed
- And how much is consumed are important factors in how the energy from the food is absorbed, used, and stored. When we eat too much, or too late at night, one’s weight will increase. When we eat too little, the body will consume itself to provide energy and nutrients for vital organs.
If toxins are getting into the body from the air (through the lung and skin), through environmental radiation, or from the food, and water, the body will do its best to eliminate them. If toxins cannot be removed through bowels (intestine), urine (kidney and urinary bladder), sweat (skin), or air (lungs), then the liver will carefully wrap them in the fat and will store it in a “quiet place” — that will also add a few pounds to the scale reading.
Internal balance is the dynamic of using our organs/tissues and rebuilding them. It is about alternating between exercises and rest, problem solving and meditation, being awake and sleeping. Maintaining internal balance is essential for good health and for maintaining a healthy weight.
How Does TCM Help With Weight Management?
The approach for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to focus on restoring balance within the individual, rather than focus on gaining or loosing a set number of pounds. It’s not just about the number of calories you consume, but about the quality of nutrients, how well they are absorbed, and how efficiently they are metabloized.
Typically, when weight is a problem, there are health and lifestyle factors that are out of balance. Restoration is the goal. Balanced patterns of sleep, activity, and consumption of moderate portions of clean nourishing food, will create the conditions for healthy weight. Healthy processing of emotions and information is also important to keep the body free from tension.
Acupuncture is used to help bring the external and internal forces into balance.
It works to:
- reduce stress — > restore hormonal balance
- promote healthy digestion -> reduce inflammation, increase healthy absorption of nutrients
- suppresses cravings, or addictions
- stimulates the metabolism
- improve sleep -> so rebuilding and healing can happen
- balancing the work of all the organs
The additional benefits are that TCM can also help prevent weight-related hypertension, coronary heart disease, bone and joint stress, and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.
TCM always addresses the underlying and related health conditions that undermine weight management.
When balance is restored in the individual, the unwanted pounds take care of themselves ~ Now that is quite a balancing act!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Boost metabolism and improve digestion to enhance the way nutrients are used.
- Regulate hormones to curb the appetite and quell cravings.
- Strengthens the functioning of the liver to help it processes nutrients and break down fats.
- Acupuncture treatments produce a deep feeling of relaxation to restore frazzled nerves and promote a greater sense of well-being.
The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA