Acupuncture and Weight Loss

weight rainbowPeople ask me just about every day whether acupuncture can help them lose weight.  The short answer is “Yes!”  But before getting into the long answer, a few caveats.

1. MEDIA IS NOT REAL

We live in a culture that has an unhealthy obsession with weight.  We are constantly bombarded by unrealistic images of “ideal” bodies that have been photoshopped and airbrushed to a glossy fictional perfection.  It’s important to note that actual human bodies don’t usually look like that- not even the bodies of the models that posed for the pictures.  There’s been some refreshing backlash recently against this type of image- my favorite is Jade Beall’s “A Beautiful Body Project,” which features beautiful unaltered images of real mothers and aims to provide “Therapeutic Truthful Photos” that build self-esteem rather than destroying it.

2. THIN IS NOT HEALTHY

Another important point is that being thin doesn’t equate to being healthy.  People can be healthy at any size.  In fact, there’s a growing movement centered around Linda Bacon’s book “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” that encourages honoring your body and “accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.”  The HAES Community encourages “addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors” rather than focusing on body size.

3. YOUR BODY NEEDS REAL FOOD

We’ve long been told that losing weight is simply a matter of restricting fat and calories.  It turns out that’s ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE, and in fact restricting fat and calories will lower your metabolism and ultimately will result in more weight gain.  This article in my favorite health & fitness magazine, Experience Life, breaks down the details and explains why people actually need to eat MORE of the right kinds of foods and exercise smarter rather than harder in order to find their ideal weight.  Low-calorie and low-fat foods are highly processed, and are not health foods.  Your body needs real, fresh food including plenty of healthy fats for sustainable weight loss.

So back to acupuncture- Can acupuncture actually help you lose weight?

Yes, acupuncture CAN help with weight loss, but it’s not a magic bullet.  To find your natural healthy weight you will still need to eat a balanced, whole foods diet and move your body regularly in whatever ways you enjoy the most.  That said, acupuncture can help facilitate weight loss in a variety of ways.  Acupuncture can help to regulate metabolic and hormonal issues that may be interfering with weight loss.  Acupuncture can reduce pain and increase energy, making it easier to exercise.  Acupuncture can help to regulate food cravings, and can reduce stress and improve mood, which often lead to healthier eating choices.  Acupuncture can improve digestive function so that your body is more efficient at absorbing nutrients and regulating blood sugar.  All of these things contribute to a healthier, more balanced body that will naturally find its ideal weight.

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