(This is for a purpose of guidance only and does not replace any medical treatments or diagnosis. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor.)
Let’s look at more closely dieting programmes done in the Kampo way, as there are important basics that both Jitsu Sho and Kyo Sho should follow.
(Note: to find out your Sho, see No. 2 of the series: Are You Jitsu Sho or Kyo Sho?? … and does it matter?)
By knowing your Sho and following a suitable program for it; you will train your intestines, lose weight and become more healthy. (see No. 1 of the series: Your Intestines Need Training Too!)
1) SIX Basics:
Basics 1: A goal is to reach “your best body weight” at around age 20.
An ideal body weight calculated based on your height or in a similar way is not a good idea, as two people with the same height may not be in the same Sho. In case you were overweight at around age 20, it is best to consult with a medical doctor and a Kampo doctor/a Kampo herbalist to evaluate your target weight.
Basics 2: Avoid sugars so a fat metabolising system gets turned on.
To lose the body weight, you will need to target burning the accumulated fats for a source of the energy that you need, and that means that it is important to reduce the energy intake. In order to achieve this, avoid any sweets, other sugary foods, and drinks including honey, fruits, and dark sugar, so your fat metabolising system gets induced. (more on sugars in a later blog.)
It may take 2 ~ 3 weeks for this to happen depending on each person. However, losing the body weight gets easy if you can follow this through in the first few weeks.
Basics 3: It is not about the size of the meals but your body weight that counts.
Calorie calculations are not necessary. You don’t need to decide the size of the meals but need to eat in a way that your body weight is less in the following day. For example, you may wonder at one point while dieting, why your body weight doesn’t go down even if you are cutting down on sugars and carbohydrates. Do check if you are eating a decent quantity of everything else as before. (e.g. You should not double the portion of chicken because you cut down on potatoes.)
Basics 4: Follow a rule for your Sho.
For Kyo Sho: if you overeat on one day, do the energy consumption adjustment within a day or two by doing some extra exercises and eating slightly less quantity of meals. In general, Kyo Sho is good at doing things at a steady pace, and more importantly their lungs and heart may not be as strong to handle vigorous cardiovascular exercises in one go.
For Jitsu Sho: think one week as a unit. If you overeat during a week, do the energy consumption adjustment during the weekend and following week the latest, making sure to do extra cardiovascular exercises to keep your body weight on track. In general, Jitsu Sho is spontaneous and likes to do things with a full power. So they like to eat a lot too, and more importantly their lungs and heart are strong to handle an extra amount of vigorous exercise.
Basics 5: Choose dietary fibre rich foods suitable for your Sho.
While you are dieting, the quantity of your meals will be reduced and inevitably the amount of the intestinal exercises you will get is less as well, and this may weaken your intestines. Therefore, it is important to eat fibre rich and voluminous foods which help prevent constipation and keep your appetite at bay.
In the Kampo way, appreciating and understanding the energetics of the food are important. They are divided into three categories; warming, neutral and cooling. For Kyo Sho, try to eat warming and neutral food, avoiding cooling ones because Kyo Sho’s metabolism is not as strong. Jitsu Sho can handle cooling food as well as warming ones. However, avoid eating lots of raw foods, and cooking the food should be the fundamental principle.
Basics 6: Do exercises to consume the melted fats in the blood
By following the basics above, you will create such a mechanism to “burn” accumulated subcutaneous fats. This actually means that the fats will melt into the blood streams, which could cause an abnormal amount of fats in the blood. In order to prevent this condition developing and lose the body weight smoothly, it is absolutely necessary to consume the melted fats in the blood by doing the (structural) muscular exercises.
– For Kyo Sho and the elderly, the basic rule is to do light exercises everyday, which suit Kyo Sho, to improve and keep metabolism going. Singing can be a good choice too! It is not about how much or how long you do exercises, do enough until you sweat lightly. As you will see in the program for Kyo Sho below, it is designed to lose the body weight more gently spending a longer period of time. One of the reasons is that vigorous exercises are not suitable for Kyo Sho, but they still need to metabolise the melted fats in the blood.
– For Jitsu Sho, do good cardiovascular exercises until you sweat a lot every other day to burn the fats.
2) FIVE Points About “Food”:
1. Eat your 3 meals at around the same times everyday
If you eat your meals at more less at the same times everyday, digestion and absorption will be smooth without straining your internal organs, particularly the Spleen, and the autonomic nervous system will function better. These are the must-have conditions to create an easy-to-lose-weight body constitution.
2. No Snacks!
Snacks between meals and snacks late at night are big enemies for dieting. If you feel like nibbling something, sip non caffeinated tea, such as Hoji Cha. It sounds boring, but you will be able to enjoy a variety of non caffeinated teas if you just give them a try.
3. Enough vitamins?
In order to burn fats, a variety of vitamins are necessary. Rather than eating loads of fruits possibly containing lots of fructose (sugars) and some sweet vegetables, which lack of natural vitamins nowadays anyway, try eating more fermented vegetables, such as Sauerkraut or Kimchee (a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings). Microorganism in the vegetables grows using sugars from the vegetables and make great nutrients including various vitamins. Just watch out for the amount of salt used in the pickled/fermented vegetables!
4. Warm/Hot foods satisfy your brain
Warm/hot foods not only help raise the metabolism but also satisfy the brain better than cold foods so you feel less hungry.
5. No constipation please!
As you eat a less amount of foods, you may develop constipation. Make sure to eat fibre rich foods and do regular exercises. If you get constipated, you may want to keep suitable Kampo or plant base laxatives handy at home.
Take a look at these easy-to-follow practical dieting programmes designed for Kyo Sho and Jitsu Sho. Your main aim may be to lose the body weight, but by training and strengthening your intestines you also become more healthy.
Remember, “Scientists now know that the intestines’ roles are much greater than previously thought, and well beyond just absorbing nutrients in and excreting wastes out. The majority of the immune cells gather in the intestines, and many of the hormones and neurotransmitters exist there as well.”
Cheers to happy intestines!
Reference: Dr. Munetetsu Tei: “Train Your Intestines To Lose Weight And Become Healthy!“. Shufunotomo-sha, 2011.