I remember in my last year of high school: my best friend since fifth grade lived in France. He wrote that they didn’t like Americans very much. “They think we’re all fat,” he said. With his own slim body, of course, he mistook his belief.
But he added a funny, or perhaps tongue-in-cheek, twist to the subject. “I went to a store, and they were selling statues of these fat people, and at the bottom of each one was written, ‘American.'”
Obesity is not just an American problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is a global problem. They call it ballooning. Paradoxically, his understanding of this problem began with his original mission to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. We live in a world where many have nothing to eat and many eat too much. From 1995 to 2000, the number of obese adults worldwide soared from 200 million to 300 million. That’s a 50% increase in just 5 years!
What is obesity and what is overweight?
Overweight means excess body weight. This excess weight can be muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity specifically refers to an abnormally high proportion of body fat. You can be overweight without being obese, for example a very muscular bodybuilder or other athlete. But many overweight people are also obese. It doesn’t directly measure body fat and isn’t gender specific, but it does give you a pretty reliable estimate.
To find your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. Yeah, for those of you struggling with math, that’s complex, so I’m going to give you a website that will figure it out for you, the National Institutes of Health BMI Calculator (http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ ). This will tell you very quickly if you are normal, overweight or obese, and does all the calculations and metric conversions for you!
Overweight is defined as a BMI greater than 25 (including those with a BMI greater than 30), and obesity is a BMI greater than 30. Thus, all obese people are overweight, but not all overweight people they are obese
The obesity epidemic
Obesity isn’t just about not feeling well or having trouble getting dates…
* Leads to more than 300,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. 90,000 are preventable cancer deaths. (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION)
* Severely obese men die 13 years earlier than men of normal weight (JAMA).
* As a cause of death in the United States, obesity is second only to tobacco. (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION)
The weight loss industry
* Spending: Americans spend between $40-50 billion per year to lose weight.
* Results: I haven’t seen any recent news that Americans are losing weight, have you?
* Conclusion: What people are doing is not working. If we want different results, we have to try a different solution.
Acupuncture Weight Loss: Fantasy or Reality?
* Fantasy or Reality? As a well-trained and fairly conservative Chinese medicine practitioner, he had assumed that acupuncture for weight loss was a marketing fad and patient fantasy.
* Evidence: But while researching my next book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing, I came across surprisingly positive information that changed my mind.
Chinese Medicine Collective Clinical Data on Acupuncture Weight Loss
Chinese medicine has thousands of years of clinical experience. These pooled data are not as compelling as randomized controlled trials, but they contain the truth: they are imperfect but still valid and important.
A US government study in the 1980s concluded that 85% of Western medicine is based on clinical experience, not research. (United States Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22. See also Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence)
There is good Chinese medicine research in Taiwan, Australia, and Europe that is ignored by American scientists and media. Much of the research in Chinese has not even been translated into English.
Seven studies of acupuncture for weight loss
How it works: By improving the function of two neuroendocrine pathways that regulate many body processes, including metabolism.
What are you doing:
* Reduces body weight, body fat, insulin levels and blood lipid levels
* Decreases excessive appetite and makes it easier to satisfy hunger with less food.
* Decreases menopausal weight gain
* In one study, acupuncture shed 10 pounds in 2 months, that translates to 60 pounds in a year!
* Combined with dietary management and aerobic advice, you not only shed the pounds and body fat, but keep them off, especially if you’re diligent about your exercise.
(See references at end of article for research)
Ephedra abuse and bad legislation
Ephedra is a Chinese herb for colds and coughs. It has been misused to increase metabolism, and this misuse has caused numerous deaths. As a result, the FDA is considering an outright ban on ephedra products. We can blame two main things:
1. Supplement companies that care more about your money than your health (no, not all of them are like that, but some do, especially those that market weight loss formulations).
2. The idea that you can safely self-medicate with herbs: Self-medication of any kind is risky. Herbal self-medication is off the radar, and people generally think they can do it safely. The ephedra debacle is an example of how dangerous it can be.
Traditionally, Chinese herbs are given in formulas (not alone), which is safer and more personalized. They are prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner who first diagnoses your specific imbalances. Ephedra would never be given for weight loss, but only for certain types of colds and coughs, and only to people whose body can handle it.
No traditional Chinese herb should be banned without allowing Chinese doctors to continue using it traditionally.
* Problem #1 (Enzyme Deficiency): The foods you crave depend on your personal imbalances. Modern digestive science explains that when your body can’t digest a food, you want more of it, you’re not getting what you need from it. This leads to a cycle of craving and overeating the exact food you can’t digest.
* Problem #2 (Low Blood Sugar) – Another vicious cycle occurs when you can’t digest complex carbs, so your blood sugar is low, so you eat simple carbs that raise your blood sugar. blood sugar level, which increases insulin, which again lowers the blood sugar level. , and you’re stuck eating donuts and feeling horrible.
* Solution: Enzymes (I recommend several enzyme formulations from a company called Transformations) and Chinese herbal formulas can help you digest your food and break both cycles.
Weight can be safely lost if done slowly and naturally.
You can lose up to 2 pounds a week without gaining it back. That means you could lose 104 pounds this year and keep it off!
Positive change is like stretching a rubber band: if you stretch it too far too fast, it snaps or snaps back.
So avoid the temptation to take an easy fix like ephedra or citric aurantium (both misused Chinese herbs), because you’ll gain the weight back and risk heart problems and strokes.
5 things to do right now
To lose 10 pounds in 2 months
And keep them away:
1. Avoid highly marketed supplements; instead consult a trained professional herbalist (acupuncturist); it is safer and more effective; my preference would be a chinese medicine practitioner, but some very well educated western herbalists are also good.
2. Acupuncture Weight Loss: Consult a Chinese acupuncturist/herbalist. Get acupuncture (one to three times a week) to SAFELY regulate your metabolism and hunger satisfaction. Your acupuncturist can also provide you with herbs that will balance your digestion and cravings, and based on your Chinese pattern diagnosis, can also provide personalized dietary advice. Herbs and enzymes (specific formulations from the enzyme company Transformations) can eliminate your food cravings.
3. Develop a plan and goals with your acupuncturist and aerobics instructor, make it realistic, and stick with it. If you mess up, don’t beat yourself up, get back to normal as soon as you can. Any progress is better than none at all.
4. Eat less, exercise more: Follow a low-fat diet and don’t skip breakfast! Weigh yourself regularly and exercise one hour a day. Start by walking a few minutes each day or taking the stairs at work. Don’t overdo it! Remember the rubber band. In fact, you may want to wear a rubber band around your wrist to remind yourself to shift slowly. Get help with aerobics: a public class or private aerobics advice.
5. Join a support group like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. There’s nothing like positive friends to cheer you up and keep you on track. OA members say this spiritual action program has changed the way they relate to food.
References and resources
1. United States Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22.
2. Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence
3. Effect of acupuncture on weight loss assessed by adrenal function. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993 Sep, 13(3):169-73.
4. P. Wozniak, P. Oszukowski, G. Stachowiak, and K. Szyllo. [The effectiveness of low-calorie diet or diet with acupuncture treatment in obese peri- and postmenopausal women] (in Polish). Ginekol. Pol. Vol.74 Number 2 pp. 102-107. 2003
5. Acupuncture at the spleen, stomach and Ren Mai channel points for the treatment of simple obesity with stomach and intestinal heat pattern. Abridged and translated by Bob Flaws, Dipl. CA & CH, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM, FRCHM
6. Richards D, Marley J. Stimulation of auricular acupoints in weight loss. Aust Family Physician. Jul 27, 1998 Supplement 2:S73-7.
7. Zhao, M., Liu, Z., and Su, J. The time-effect relationship of central action in acupuncture treatment for weight reduction. J Tradit Chin Med Vol.20 Issue 1 pp. 26-29. 2000
8. Liu, Z. Mechanisms underlying the effects of moxibustion acupuncture in simple obesity complicated by hypertension. Inter J Clin Cup 371-378, 1995.
9. Weight Loss Industry Studies
10. Prevalence and effect of obesity
11. Compulsive Eaters Anonymous