Despite all the hoopla about the “best” way to determine if we’re overweight–getting on a scale, BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, pants won’t button, body fat percentage–we ultimately rely on our intuition to let us know we feel fat.
In other words, if you think you’re overweight or obese you probably are. Two-thirds of Americans are one or the other, split 50/50 between the two, with the remaining third either normal weight or underweight. In surveys, people tend to underestimate their weight classification, admitting to “overweight,” but chewing their cheeks rather than acknowledge that stick-in-your-craw word “obese.” Before moving on with this health tip, the best way to determine your official weight status is either by measuring your waist-to-hip ratio or body fat percentage (as an aside, we offer this at WholeHealth Chicago).
If you’re looking for a fresh take on dropping the extra pounds, Dr. Larry Stoler at WholeHealth Chicago conducts a weight loss, stress management, and general wellness program called The Dragon’s Way that’s based on the healing principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). If you’ve experienced TCM, you know its core principles are very holistic–addressing body, mind, emotions, and spirit, each of which have an impact on the others and on our overall sense of well-being.
In Chinese medicine, being unwell in any way–including being overweight–involves imbalances, stagnations, and depletions of qi, your body’s subtle energetic life force. Whether you’re performing qigong or t’ai chi exercises, undergoing acupuncture or Reiki, you’re increasing the flow of qi. A strong and balanced qi allows your body to self-heal and your weight to adjust to a healthy level.
The Dragon’s Way Program
The Dragon’s Way Program addresses the deeper internal and energetic causes for excess weight. It’s offered in six weekly, hour-long classes. Unlike most weight-loss programs, the Dragon’s Way is not a diet and is not based on food restriction or excessive exercise. Rather, it focuses on improving your body’s function from the inside out. You are free to eat whatever you want.
In TCM, high-quality qigong practice is one of the tried and true ways to increase qi and activate internal healing. The Dragon’s Way Program is based on qigong. In this class, Dr. Stoler will teach you Wu Ming Qigong, an ancient and unique self-healing energy system developed by Master Nan Lu that has its origin in Taoist masters Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.
It’s important to note that this from of qigong is easy to learn and produces rapid healing results. You’ll be encouraged to do the Wu Ming Qigong exercises at least once a day, though many of our participants practice more often to get maximum benefit from the program.
The Dragon’s Way program also helps you identify and reduce sources of stress in your life. Regular readers know that I view stress as one of the major contributors to health problems.
Foods for healing
To support internal healing, you’ll be introduced to a TCM-based foods-for-healing program. Eating these foods cleanses and detoxifies your body, giving it a rest from foods in the typical Western diet that require a lot of energy to digest. Participants are often surprised to discover how good they feel doing a daily qigong practice and eating the healing foods. You’ll also learn other tips to promote healing, like drinking only when thirsty and eating until you’re just 70% full.
Like most Dragon’s Way participants, you’ll discover that you can eat much less and not feel hungry.
You’ll mainly be eating cooked fresh foods available in most grocery stores, and you’ll be given a recommended list of nuts, juices, fruits, vegetables, and some grains to work with, along with suggested ways to prepare them. You can select freely from these, giving your body what it might want for a particular meal. In class, you’ll receive guidance on how best to adapt the foods to meet your lifestyle.
But, again, it’s not about the food. The Wu Ming Qigong practice is at the heart of the Dragon’s Way program. The food options simply complement Wu Ming Qigong to support your internal healing.
At the end of the six-week program, many participants discover that their “sin” foods no longer interest them and that they no longer struggle with the usual cravings. They’ve developed a taste for foods they never used to enjoy.
The Dragon’s Way program gives you an approach to lifelong wellness and offers new ways to understand your body and yourself. Having experienced the benefits of doing a daily qigong practice, many participants choose to continue their practice and go on to experience additional health benefits.
Testimonials from graduates of The Dragon’s Way show excellent results. People comment not only on their weight loss, but also on feeling more energetic, focused, calm, and aware of their bodies. In addition, many discover that other health conditions (like headaches, sleep problems, chronic pains, bloating, constipation, and emotional distress) improve over the course of the program. And they develop an intuitive sense of the foods their bodies want while learning to curb cravings.
Dragon’s Way sessions are ongoing. They’re very reasonably priced and we ask that you commit to the full six-week program to attain maximum benefit.
In Chinese Medicine, spring is the season for starting new things, for renewal, and for growth. That makes this season an excellent time to take action on your desire to improve your health.
David Edelberg, MD