Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is an ancient practice that is gaining popularity in the Western world today. When a patient is battling excessive weight — or even if they’re just trying to lose those last 10 stubborn pounds — TCM strategies and best practices can help.

Losing Weight with TCM

You’ve heard the old adage that “abs are built in the kitchen”, meaning that diet is perhaps even more important than exercise. It’s important to keep track of calories eaten and burned in order to lose weight. However, with Traditional Chinese Medicine, there’s another element to keep track of: How is your body actually functioning?

Traditional Chinese Medicine will also evaluate your energy levels, or “qi” (chee). In this context, that means the energy found within the body that is related to well-being. Once qi is enhanced and freely flowing throughout the body, losing weight could be easier.

Controlling Your Qi for Weight Loss

healthy saladKeep track of how food makes you feel. If your “digestive fire” is weakened, then you may experience bloating, gas, and sluggish feelings. Whenever you feel these symptoms, make a note of what food you ate right before. Then, avoid that food to see if symptoms improve. Through Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi can be harnessed through acupuncture, diet, herbs, exercise, and meditation. Here are eight ways to lose weight using TCM:

  1. Eat “qi-rich” foods. Vegetables, whole grains, organic meat, beans, and fruits are essential to the full function of your Qi. Avoid anything artificial, processed, or pre-packaged. Try to stick to the produce and meat departments on a shopping trip.
  2. Don’t eat foods that take away qi. Any food that is too sugar or caffeine loaded is not good for your Qi. Also not good: cold or raw food. This is because too much qi is used to heat and process the food, taking away its ability to boost your metabolism.
  3. Listen to your body’s rhythms. According to TCM, there are certain times that are optimal for certain activities. In relation to weight loss, eat a big breakfast between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Then, eat a moderate portion of food for lunch, and a small dinner — the catch is to eat dinner at 5 p.m. This may be difficult for some, but if most of the calories for the day are already consumed, this may not be a problem and it will enhance your qi.
  4. Eat slowly and pay attention. Don’t watch TV or read a book while eating. Instead, focus on each bite of food. Chew it thoroughly and listen to your body. When you become to feel full, stop eating! This is a cue that you may not notice if you wolf down a meal.
  5. Get to bed. TCM states that a detox process begins at 11 p.m. If you’re still awake, this will negatively impact the detox process.
  6. Exercise. In TCM, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean hours at the gym each day — although that’s ok too if it’s what you prefer. Exercise is any movement that gets the body going. So, tai chi, walking, and yoga are perfectly acceptable body movement exercises.
  7. Use herb and acupuncture. Acupuncture can help eliminate food cravings and overeating. Herbs will supplement the effects of acupuncture on weight loss.

Be sure to listen closely to your body and your qi in order to fully charge your whole body as you engage in a weight loss program.