“I am eating less but I’m not losing weight!” is a common frustration that acupuncturists often encounter from patients. Perhaps, the key to weight loss may not be simply eating less and exercising more. After months of acupuncture and dietary advices, some have hit a plateau which can be very stressful and demotivating to them.
So, let’s discuss some of the factors that might be stopping you from blasting those fats.
1. Nutritional imbalances
You can eat too many calories and too few nutrients. And we know that vitamins and minerals are crucial to process all those empty calories. Low nutritional status leads to a poorly functioning metabolism. With bi-weekly acupuncture treatment, it can improve your digestive system and balance your appetite hormones. Together with nutrition consulting, it can often help reset your metabolism.
2. Gut microbiome imbalances
We have over 1,000 species of bacteria in our gut and they out number our own cells by over 10 times. And we know that the bacteria in our gut can have profound effects on weight and metabolism. Here are some simple steps you can take on your own to cultivate a healthy microbiome flora.
a) Eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods.
b) Eat high fibre food because they are food (prebiotics) for the gut bacteria.
c) Eat good fats such as omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Add some coconut in your diet as studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and weight loss benefits from adding Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oils which are present in coconut oil.
d) Eat probiotics supplements or fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and miso which also contain good source of probiotics.
3. Inflammation and toxins
In this world, we are constantly surrounded by chemicals and radiations. These environmental toxins called obesogens are known to promote weight gain which may affect your metabolism, your hormones, and your brain function. In order to eliminate exposure, you can eat clean, organic animal products by choosing grass-fed animals that haven’t been exposed to hormones or antibiotics. Stop eating mercury in big fish such as tuna and swordfish. Drink clean water, go to the toilet every day, sweat often and limit alcohol. Moreover, personalised TCM herbs can assist in strengthening the body’s natural detox channels such as liver, kidney and colon to invigorate your body inside out.
4. Hormonal imbalances
Thyroid function plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy weight and we understand that those with hypothyroidism find it difficult to lose weight. Your thyroid needs including selenium, zinc, iodine and omega-3 fats to run at its optimum. Eat right for your thyroid. Limit soybeans, raw kale, and other raw cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, which might contain thyroid-blocking compounds called goitrogens. It is ok to eat it they are cooked.
a) Eat a hormone-balancing diet, which is low in sugar, high in good fats, and high in fibre, can help balance hunger hormones such as leptin and ghrelin.
b) Bulk up on fibre. Ground flaxseeds provide optimal fibre and lignans, which balance hormones. Sprinkle two tablespoons onto cereals or yogurt.
c) Get moving. Exercise helps balance hormones, reducing oestrogen and increasing testosterone, which helps you lose fat and build muscle.
The bottom line is: Eat real whole food, eat very little sugar and refined carbs.
Perhaps, not all calories are created equal after all. It is because different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body which have varying effects on hunger, hormones and health. Re-evaluate your eating habits and you may just break the weight-loss plateau!