Feeling hungry all the time and overeating is a problem for many of us, so it may be good to hear that Chinese medicine has some unique solutions that take into account both the physical cravings and the emotional needs that prompt us to eat too much.
Maggie* came to see me because she was worried about how much she was eating and wanted to lose weight. She explained that she found herself grazing through the day in a way that felt compulsive and she was worried about some recent weight gain. In Chinese medicine eating regularly is important but the ancient Chinese medical texts also stress the importance of not eating all the time, stressing the importance of giving your digestive system a rest.
When I spoke to Maggie, she explained that she was often tired and worried. In fact, she was a combination of tired and wired and was eating to calm herself as well as give her energy a boost. I immediately thought of a Chinese formula called Gui Pi Tang, which contains qi tonics for energy along with herbs that treat anxiety.
Maggie and I also talked about the way blood sugar swings were causing her cravings and she agreed to include some whole grains in her diet because they tend to have slow-releasing carbohydrates and would support her blood sugar more consistently than the sugary treats she was currently snacking on. I also encouraged Maggie to set aside specific meal times and not to graze.
After one month she was happy to report that she was way less hungry and had lost 6 lbs. She remained on the Gui Pi Tang for about 6 months and, in that time, changed her eating habits completely.
* This patient’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.