Since I began offering acupuncture in my clinic more than decade ago, one of the questions that often comes up is “Can acupuncture help me lose weight?”
My answer is “Yes and no.”
Acupuncture can be a helpful therapy for people that are trying to lose weight. Studies have shown that people that use acupuncture along with a strategic eating and activity plan tend to lose about twice as much as people that follow the same strategic plan and do not use acupuncture.
Acupuncture has also been used to help people avoid food cravings and may improve metabolism.
Anyone that has used acupuncture or any other method to lose weight has had to modify their eating habits. In most cases it is also necessary to alter their activity habits as well.
I overheard a lady talking about a well-known weight loss plan with her friend the other day. The lady said, “I didn’t like the ____ plan. They didn’t let me eat the things I like to eat.”
I don’t know anything else about this lady’s health or weight-loss efforts, but overhearing that comment led me to believe that she has not yet faced the fact that in order to be successful at weight loss, it is absolutely essential to change the behavior that led to gaining the excess weight.
However, weight loss doesn’t have to involve suffering. This is important enough to repeat, so here that statement is again: You don’t have to suffer to lose weight.
However, you do have to make some fundamental changes in your food choices and behavior.
It is not necessary to be drastic. In fact, most weight-loss experts recommend gradual changes to lose weight in a healthy manner. Rapid weight loss can be unhealthy weight loss. Rapid weight loss is often regained just as quickly. This is what leads to yo-yo dieting.
Yo-yo dieting can be a symptom of an unbalanced life. Instead of making a long term plan to lose weight in an effective, safe, healthy manner and maintain the change, people want to do something drastic to “get it off now.” Weight loss should not be attempted as an emergency action.
In case you have tried the crash diets and rapid weight loss plans already, before you begin another round, please read the rest of this column. Your health and success may depend upon it.
Here are the steps that most experts consider to be essential to successful permanent weight loss.
• Write it down.
Keeping a written record of everything that you consume and an activity log are immeasurably helpful. It is vital that a person wanting to lose weight be aware of the amounts and types of food that they consume. Not only does this tool help increase awareness of the volume and relative nutritional value of the foods consumed, it helps adherence to a planned eating strategy.
If you have to be accountable by writing everything down, you are less likely to eat things out of habit or stress.
• Read labels.
People that want to be successful at losing weight become experts on food content. Unfortunately, this is necessary for you own protection. Food manufacturers are altering foods so severely to cut costs and increase profits that some items are barely recognizable as food. It also helps you learn which foods are helpful in your quest to lose weight and which ones can sabotage your efforts.
• Eat more often.
This surprises many people that have previously equated weight loss with starvation. Eating more frequently and choosing foods more wisely can help you avoid cravings as well as maintain better energy levels.
• Learn to eat fat.
That’s right: Lose fat by eating fat. Experts point out that your body needs fat. Some forms of fat are very healthy and contribute to better success while losing weight. However, it is important to learn which fats are beneficial and which to avoid.
• Hire a coach.
Ever notice that even the best athletes need coaches. Even if you “know what to do” having a professional help you can be very helpful.