Regarding weight control, we should pay attention to four important aspects: quantity, variety, mobility and junk food.
The first aspect is very obvious. Have you ever seen a fat person living in starvation? You gain weight from too much food eaten. A society where overweight is commonplace must be one where food is plentiful. So the first step is to reduce the portion eaten in every meal and in every snack. Furthermore, don’t eat too fast. Your stomach takes some time to inform the brain that you have eaten enough, giving you a sensation of fullness. If you eat too fast, it’s already too late for your brain to stop you. Notice that fat people usually finish their meals faster.
The second aspect is a subtle one. Variety also means quality. Why? Each food contains some unique nutrients. If you eat a variety, you allow more nutrients to enter your body. An overweight person usually eats a less diverse range of food, more of those favorite ones and less the rest, resulting in a deficiency of some important nutrients. Overeating any kind of food is not good for the body, and overweight is a side effect. Eating a variety of food (even those you don’t quite like) will prevent you from eating too much of your favorite ones. Why? Your stomach has a limited size. The unfavorite food will crowd out those you like most, but they are equally nutritious if not more. Besides, you will discover later the unfavorite food is not as bad as you think.
The third aspect means burning the fats in the food rather than letting them accumulate in the body. You’ll probably see why the exercise industry is a huge business. To lose weight, you don’t have to join a health club or buy an expensive exercise machine. All you need is to be mobile and refuse to act like a couch potato. To burn the fats in your body, physical labor is the key. This includes: housework, gardening, walking, running, hiking, biking or dancing, which are not expensive at all.
There exist plenty of Chinese herbs for weight control. Although mild, they are effective based on the following concepts:
a) Expel, especially good for constipation: Fan Xie Ye, Da Huang.
b) Improve digestion and strengthen stomach: food like ginger, Chinese brown or black teas; and medicinal herbs like Zhi Shi, Bai Zhu, Dang Shen, Shan Yao, Mu Xiang, Fu Pi and Hou Po. This method won’t make you eat more. It only helps break down the food efficiently.
c) Improve circulation to burn fats: Sang Ji Sheng, Du Huo and Niu Xi.
d) Regulate water to prevent accumulation: Fu Ling, Huang Qi, Jin Qian Cao.
Finally, the fourth aspect requires some explanation. Since all foods contain some important nutrients, they cannot be junk. They become junk only when being eaten too much, or improperly processed and marketed. You can overeat something due to two reasons: tastiness that increases the temptation to eat more, and commercial advertising being programmed into your brain.
In modern society, many people eat because they are told by experts, or encouraged by celebrities on TV or social media. You eat certain kinds of food because of something that you don’t know but want to know (e.g., would it prevent cancer?) or because it’s cool (e.g., a celebrity consumes a brandname drink). In short, they are influenced by the profit designs of corporations enabled by modern marketing. The consequence is health problems on a mass scale. When this happens, food becomes junk for it does people no good except seducing them to consume more. Most industrialized countries suffer from junk food problems such as overweight and diabetes due to corporate marketing of fashionable but unhealthy products directed at the masses.