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- Herbal Therapy
- How to Become a TCM Practitioner
- How to Know if Traditional Chinese Medicine is Right For You
- Insomnia and TCM
- Learning to Use Meditation in TCM
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- Seven Emotions in Traditional Chinese Medicine
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- Stop Smoking
- Tai Chi Chuan
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- TCM Glossary
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With summer quickly approaching, many people are keen to shift a bit of winter weight in preparation for wearing lighter and skimpier clothes that do not always hide unforgiving lumps and bumps. Maybe you are planning a summer vacation for which you want to look at your best, or maybe you feel that being a bit thinner will help you cope with the warmer weather. Whatever your reasons are, TCM can be a great tool to consider when trying to lose a bit of weight and slim down for summer.
Diet Principles in TCM
As TCM takes a holistic approach to wellbeing and health any diet plans and tips are beneficial for your overall health. There are no get thin quick schemes or faddy diets that can often leave you feeling hungry, miserable, and unsatisfied. Another problem with faddy diets is that whilst you may quickly lose some weight in the short term, they are not sustainable forever. What often happens is that when people stop the diet and go back to their normal ways of eating they usually regain the weight that they lost, sometimes even gaining more! TCM encourages people to think about their lifestyles in general and make positive changes that will not only be of benefit for their health but that they can sustain for life. It is about making life changes rather than following a particular regime for a short period of time.
Positives of following TCM dietary advice are that you can achieve your goal of losing weight, feeling great, and looking good, whilst also knowing that you are taking good care of your physical and mental wellbeing. It helps you to prevent health problems later on down the line too.
A good balance of different foods from various food groups is essential for health; you cannot cut out entire food groups or live off only one type of food and be healthy!
Balance of Foods
In Chinese philosophies it is believed that certain types of food are better for different personalities; that somebody who has a “cold” personality should eat hotter foods (both in terms of temperature and also in terms of spiciness), and that those who have a “hot” personality should steer more towards colder foods. The weather, climate, and seasons also play a part in whether one should be eating more hot or cold foods. Examples of hot foods include those with added spices, soups, chillies, curries, onions, and ginger. Cold foods include mint, cucumber, milk, lettuce, tofu, celery, tomato, and citrus fruits.
Chinese traditions teach that people should eat a balance of foods in relation to their natural colours – to mix the greens, reds, oranges, blacks, yellows, and whites of different fruits and vegetables. This is an easy way to make sure that you are getting a good balance in your diet.
Excessive amounts of processed foods should be avoided, although you may be surprised to learn that raw foods are not always considered better for you; Chinese traditions say that cooked foods are easier on the digestive system.
You should try and introduce dietary changes slowly. This will allow you to become used to them and stick with them for longer. Some key things to remember are to try and only eat natural foods, eat at regular times of the day and stick to an eating pattern, focus on your food at mealtimes so that you enjoy and appreciate what you are eating, notice when you are full and stop eating, make sure that you include all types of foods in moderation, and get a varied diet. A varied diet not only makes sure that you are getting all the right nutrients and goodness form your meals but also ensures that you won’t easily become bored with your new eating habits and slip back into old patterns. Meat and dairy products are fine, although they should be limited.
Foods that should be cut down if you are hoping to lose weight include bananas, sugars, sweet foods, peanuts, soy products, lemons, and limes. It is more beneficial to eat warmer foods rather than cold foods, as this will aid digestion and metabolism. You should try and eat more proteins than carbohydrates.
Diet Regime Tips
Don’t be tempted to skip breakfast – you have probably heard hundreds of times that it is the most important meal of the day – it’s true! Breakfast helps to start your metabolism and gears your body up for the day ahead.
It is recommended that after you finish a meal that you give your stomach a gentle rub and then walk around for a short while – this helps to kick start your fat burning mechanisms. Also, eating little and often is also generally better than eating three large meals a day.
You should make sure that you drink plenty of water, avoid caffeinated, carbonated, and alcohol beverages, and also try to take some regular exercise. Your exercise need only be moderate, but there should be some regular movements and stretches in your daily routines.