The best approach to healthy eating is to choose the most nutritious foods possible when hungry and stop before you are too full. For consistency, the body and mind need to be in balance, as it brings clarity about what to eat, when to eat and then, how to stop eating. In addition, maintaining a strong physical/energetic connection empowers one to listen to their inner voice of reason to eat mindfully as well as in moderation. Otherwise, the desire for immediate gratification takes over: resulting in grabbing of the most nutritionally devoid or sweetest substance available – thereby creating an unhealthy spike in sugar levels. This then turns into a viscous cycle of incessant craving and inability to stop eating – taking all the pleasure out of the eating experience.
Depriving oneself of “happy foods” is not the answer, nor is restricting calories. A better approach is to choose foods that satisfy the body’s need for nutrition through consuming balanced meals two to three times a day. And remember that sweets can come in healthier forms, such as grabbing an apple, medjool date or piece of coconut from time to time. Moreover, it is essential to get plenty of exercise, become immersed in work endeavors and hobbies in addition to finding time to play. And, of course, there must be periods of rest and relaxation.
Find holistic methods that suit individual needs in order to maintain balance of body, mind and spirit. This might include getting a regular massage, as it promotes relaxation and releases built up tension within the physical body. It is also helpful to engage in mindfulness training such as a step-by-step program online or seek out a skilled practitioner to work with in person.
The “meditation through movement” component of tai chi is another excellent way to become more mindful while balancing energy and coming in touch with oneself on deeper levels. Furthermore, qigong is an effective method for becoming more adept at breathwork and developing greater intuition and spiritual acuity. Both of these Chinese exercise arts serve to mend physical/energetic splits and strengthen ability to know and trust what the body truly needs – knowing that it is not always the best to be “a food monk.”
Then when the yen for a “happy snack” emerges, simply go for it when it feels like the right choice. Allow it to feed the desire for pleasure and become a satisfying experience. This includes chewing slowly and taking the time to taste every morsel. This is a healthy act of food nurturance, even though nutritional value may be lacking.
Building discipline and will power are additional components for coming into alignment and balance with oneself and food. According to Chinese medicine, boosting kidney energy promotes the “get up and go” attitude and ability to hold to commitments. This culminates in choosing foods and lifestyle patterns that build vital energy and essence, rather that deplete it. Strong kidney qi provides the wherewithal to live each day with gusto and delivers a fully balanced mind, body and spirit. There are just too many things dragging one down, especially with the pressure from COVID, to begin each day with anything less.
Receiving acupuncture, taking Chinese herbs and engaging in tai chi and qigong exercise are excellent ways to build and nurture energetics of the kidneys. Avoiding ingestion of an excessive amount of cold raw foods and icy cold drinks is also important to protecting kidney energy. Acupuncture treatment is also helpful for boosting metabolism, strengthening will power, moving excess water accumulation in addition to sparking energy and calming heart and pacifying spirit.
Engaging in a detoxification protocol is another technique to incorporate into a weight management plan. This serves to release the body of toxins and empowers the mind to envision a new beginning. This happens through simple one-day fasts that include one healthy food such as apples or rice, along with spring water. Drinking dandelion tea each day is another way of detoxifying the body, specifically that of the liver. In general, don’t forget to drink ample water as it is one of the best cleansing and nourishing agents at our disposal.
Take the focus off of weight and avoid counting calories, as neither work. Listen to your inner voice and make choices that bring you into a deeper sense of satisfaction. Engage in activities, social experiences and avail yourself of treatments that bring your mind, body and spirit into alignment. Allow this to restore your hope in the dawn of a new day filled with the commitment to healthy food habits that raise your spirit. The time is ripe and you are ready to bring yourself into a healthier state of being.
Shoshanna Katzman, L.Ac., M.S. is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and director of Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Shrewsbury, NJ for over thirty years. She is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy (visit www.qigong4.us) and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness. Shoshanna has taught tai chi and qigong for over 45 years and is a 6th generation lineage holder of the Guang Ping Yang Style Tai Chi Form. She is preparing to release a Tai Chi Tutorial soon and is presently offering qigong and tai chi classes via Zoom.
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