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Q&A: Natural Weight Loss Remedies For The New Year:

Holiday eating can get the best of us sometimes causing us to carry around a few extra pounds. Below are the two most common questions I receive from patients regarding a healthy weight.

How can I can I control my appetite so that I don’t gain weight?

People often respond to situational stress by eating comfort foods, which can quickly become a chronic pattern. Natural Chinese medicine uses magnolia to break the pattern: magnolia bark encourages weight loss, improves digestion, and regulates appetite.

Studies show that magnolia contains a phytochemical called honokiol with anti-stress properties that are useful in appetite control and weight management. You can take a magnolia supplement by itself or in formulations with other herbs, or as a tea. Another natural appetite suppressant is water, which also flushes out toxins and keeps body functioning optimally. Drink at least 60 ounces of water (about eight glasses) a day.

Another thing to keep in mind: it has been found that consuming large amounts of coffee and caffeine can lead to food cravings, increase one’s appetite, and induce stress-related eating. Green tea is a wonderful alternative to coffee in that it does provide a little caffeine but also contains beneficial antioxidants. When paired with lemon, it has been found to aid in weight loss.

Can you advise me on meal plans that will help me lose weight and keep it off?

We are natural beings that need a balance of nutrition from all sources. To reach your ideal weight and stay there, your diet should consist of a balance of organic sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Follow this formula:

• 25 percent of your diet should be animal protein (unless you are vegetarian): seafood, egg, chicken, turkey, and lamb. Eat three four-ounce portions, about the size of a deck of cards, per day.

• 50 percent of your diet should be made up of fruits and vegetables, for their beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Especially favorable for weight loss are chlorophyll-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus, and dandelion greens.

• 25 percent should be divided among raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains, especially brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum, and buckwheat.

Also, cut back on rich, fatty foods, dairy, and carbohydrates, including sugar, white flour, pasta, white rice, and alcohol. Don’t eat red meat more than three times a week, and if possible, be sure all meat is free-range, grass-fed, and hormone- and antibiotic-free lean meat.

Here are some meal plans:

Breakfast:

• Warm whole grain cereal topped with nuts

• Multigrain toast spread with organic peanut butter

• Soft tofu scrambled with veggies and wrapped in whole-grain tortilla

Lunch/Dinner:

• Greens with steamed beets sprinkled with pine nuts, walnuts, and shredded chicken or crumbled tofu

• Organic skinless chicken (or soy product) with steamed kale and mushrooms

• Brown rice with sautéed veggies

• Baked sweet potato with Swiss chard (or any green vegetable)

• Homemade soup is a simple lunch that won’t weigh you down – in fact, studies have found that people who eat a serving of soup daily lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories but don’t eat soup.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on The Ricki Lake Show, Dr. Oz, and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment, call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at contact@taoofwellness.com.

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