An excessive accumulation of visceral fat (belly fat) is believed to be the cause of the “muffin top” and the “beer belly,” which make the body look out of shape. If visceral fat accumulates for a long time, it will affect digestive function, lead to endocrine disorders, and increase the risk of various diseases. Hu Naiwen, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner from Shanghai Tongdetang Clinic in Taipei, Taiwan, pointed out that the magic word for losing weight is “normal.” So how is “normal” involved?
As we get older, the proportion of fat on the body can slowly increase, and most of it accumulates around the abdomen, and can seriously affect health.
Studies have found that belly fat is strongly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, heart disease, and even certain cancers.
Hu said that the so-called visceral fat phenomenon of modern people makes them have a big tummy like a “beer belly.” In ancient times in China, TCM described obesity as “fat, fatty, bulky, phlegm, thick skin, grease, paste,” and so on.
Most people think that obesity is the accumulation of “subcutaneous fat” that may be found around the abdomen, intestines, and stomach. There is also fat that stabilizes and protects the stomach. Similar to subcutaneous fat, it belongs to one of the three types of body fat: cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids.
The Four Methods of Diagnosis believes that “fat people have phlegm,” and “Essential Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet,” a classic ancient TCM clinical book, believes that “honored people” have slow motions and are prone to “stagnation of blood” because they “they have weak bones and thick skin. Also, they are tired and sweaty. When they lie down, they do not move. When there is a breeze, they get the stagnation of blood.”
Since honorable people were often respected, and most of their labor-intensive work was done by someone else, they rarely had the opportunity to exercise, and the body became prone to weak bones and an accumulation of fat. Hence, abdominal fat appeared.
The Weight Loss Magic Word
Hu pointed out that the diagnosis and treatment of any disease in TCM are based on the root cause. TCM believes that the causes of human illness are: external, internal, and neither internal-or-external. External causes come from the weather, internal causes come from emotions, and neither internal or external causes are those that are not related to weather or emotions.
Modern medicine believes that the common causes of visceral fat accumulation are over eating, lack of exercise, and abnormal defecation, which belong to the “non-internal-or-external causes.”
In fact, normal is easy to understand but difficult to practice.
Just eat a reasonable amount of food, exercise moderately, and defecate at the usual time, in the usual place. Such normal behavior is a simple way of life. According to this way of living, almost all problems can be solved, not just the accumulation of visceral fat.
Hu said that modern people believe they should eat more high-fiber foods to facilitate bowel movements. In ancient times, there was no specific guidance regarding this habit because high fiber foods were already part of a daily lifestyle.
Almost all scholars practiced abdominal breathing, most of them performed labor-intensive farming every day, and there were fewer honorable people.
The honorable person had thick skin, and was also identified as the “fat person has phlegm.” So obesity could be treated by the “treatment of phlegm,” and of course, other diseases could be treated at the same time.