Think about this: how do you feel when you are in the process of eating? If you're trying to be healthy and eating a giant bowl of raw spinach, do you get the same feeling you have when eating an ice cream sundae? Probably not, unless you have some sort of spinach fetish. There are places in the world where this bowl of spinach would look like the nectar of the Gods..after all, if you are struggling just to consume enough calories to stay alive, anything looks good.
Here, that is not the problem. We have such complete and total access to any type of food we want that our meals are based on pleasure, not necessity. Sure, we may get hungry during the day if we're having a late dinner, but I don't think any of us know what REAL hunger is, the type of hunger that dictates your entire life.
So, since we don't have the problem of figuring out how to get fed, our only problem is deciding WHAT to get fed...and generally, we're going to pick something we like. Because, for us, food is so intricately entwined with emotion and mood, that it is almost inseparable. Food stimulates us at our core, sending those endorphins and happy chemicals zipping through our bodies. Food effects our spirits, sometimes so strongly it can be considered an addiction. Unlike most addictions, however, there is no going cold turkey with food. Imagine telling a heroin addict: "You need to end this addiction...but you're going to have to take in just a little heroin everyday, to survive. And you are going to have to watch while your friends do it, and see commercials on TV of people doing it, and spend most of your day surrounded by heroin. But you can only take a little heroin everyday, and then stop, no matter how much you want more."
How successful do you think an addict would be in this situation? Now think about the last time you tried to diet. You still need to eat. And you still need to watch other people eat, and see commercials for all sorts of restaurants...all that stimuli is coming at you, while you are trying to change your behaviors. You don't just want food-if that was the case, you would be perfectly happy eating nothing but vegetables and grains. What you really want is food that makes you happy, and those foods are usually full of fat and sugar.
So where does acupuncture come into the equation? You know those chemicals I mentioned, the endorphins that make you feel so good, the ones we chase through food and sex and drugs? Well, those same endorphins are released during acupuncture. How many times have you come home after a miserable, stressful day and eaten something full of carbs or fat just to make yourself feel better? I'll bet it was more often than you came home to down a pint of ice cream after getting a raise, or having a great date. We are in constant pursuit of feeling good...and if we are already loaded up with endorphins, the need to find something to stimulate that feeling is gone.
In short, if you are consider yourself a "stress eater", or if you are one of those people who tend to binge according to their moods, acupuncture is an excellent option for changing your behaviors...and starting you on the road to taking off weight.
This article is more focused on the scientific side of acupuncture...so my next entry will be about the TCM side, and the effects that acupuncture can have on weight loss according to theory based on the energetics of this therapy.