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Are you guilty of these dieting mistakes?

Why do so many people fail to lose weight? Why is it that keeping it down seems even harder?

It’s because they are making weight loss hard.

They throw themselves into dieting and over-exercising. Unbeknownst to them, they are setting themselves up for failure. Where exactly are they going wrong?

Below are the most common, sure-fire ways to fail at losing weight.

Sound familiar? Then go straight to our free guide to natural, doable weight loss. Download and share!

So, if you wish to slim down, avoid these mistakes!

BIG MISTAKE: Drink fruit juices and smoothies

Here’s a natural, easy way to gain weight: Make fruit juices and smoothies part of your five-a-day.

The problem with those drinks is that they contain “horrifying” amounts of sugar.

In fact, there is more sugar in there than the World Health Organisation recommends. Much more than an average person should have in a day.

Having so much sugar as part of a ‘healthy’ daily diet is a very common dieting mistake.


Eat, rather than drink, fresh fruits to avoid ingesting all that sugar at once.

Want a tasty drink that will burn, rather than pile on the pounds? Chinese medicine recommends drinking pu’erh tea, oolong teas, black/red teas and green teas.

Drinking 2-3 cups of these loose leaf teas helps you to burn up to 100 calories. They contain chemicals which reduce fat absorption. Sugar content? Zero.

See our sister company Mei Leaf for tea suggestions.

BIG MISTAKE: Reward yourself with food when your dieting/exercising goes well

Lost some weight? Well done. Now reward yourself with a chocolate brownie or two, or with a restaurant meal and a bottle of wine.

You promised yourself there is going to be a treat at the end of all this long, hard dieting and exercising.

And why not?

In our culture, food is no longer used as was originally intended – for sustenance. Rather, eating has become a coping mechanism. People are eating to deal with stress. To pass the time. They eat ‘socially’. They eat to celebrate something.

To treat food as a reward is completely natural. Lose weight and your brain will revolt. It will react with an even stronger emotional attraction to your favourite foods. But it is just trying to regain what your body has lost through dieting.

A U.S research study used fMRI scanning to see the brain patterns of people before and after weight loss. Something very interesting was discovered:

The parts of the brain associated with self-reward become more active. While parts of the brain associated with self-control become less active.

What this means in practice is less willpower, and more excitement, when you see food. It means you are more likely to eat and overeat after you just lost weight.

Rewarding yourself with food after making progress is your brain’s natural response. It’s a survival mechanism designed to regain what has been lost. But it’s also one of the most common mistakes we see people make when trying to lose weight.


Control the cravings that lead to reward eating.

A simple but powerful tip to control reward eating is to slow down.

You can still have that chocolate muffin or those crisps. Just don’t devour them as quickly as possible and pretend it didn’t happen.

Instead, eat slowly. Savour your food.

This makes you mindful of the food that you are consuming and gives you a chance to stop before it’s too late. Eating slowly gives your stomach a chance to tell your brain that it is full.

Remember, it takes about 20 minutes from being full to feeling full. Eat slow and you’re much less likely to overeat.

In Chinese medicine, any eating that is not caused by hunger is comfort eating. If you find yourself munching for no other reason than hunger, then you need to pay attention to your habits. Or rethink how you go about incentivising your dieting efforts.

Be mindful of what really motivates your eating patterns. Are there any underlying emotional issues such as stress, boredom or depression?

If yes, acupuncture can help. Speak to our doctors about how you can improve your emotional resilience.

BIG MISTAKE: Go to the gym and punish yourself

No pain no gain, right?

So you’ve started a regular workout routine. But before you knew it, it became impossible to keep up. The usual tiredness, work, and life got in the way.

According to the common wisdom, you may have a will-power problem. Or a commitment problem. Just “try harder” they say.

We are living in a time where people join gyms convinced that this is the only way to lose weight. They go in full of dread, believing that exercise for weight loss just has to be a gruelling test.

But exercise is pretty unhelpful for weight loss. While 100% of the energy you gain comes from food, you can only burn up to 30% of it with daily work outs.


Pause, and focus on finding physical activity that you actually enjoy doing. Enjoying it means no motivation needed. No pain and all gain. Doing it consistently is the key.

You do not need to join the gym. Try this simple 15 minute workout (but be sure to warm up and cool down with some basic stretches.)

For hundreds of years now Chinese medicine has been using Tai Chi. It’s a gentle exercise which can also aid in weight loss. It releases stress from your body and keeps you energised and centred.

Even yoga can help to burn calories and assist in weight management.

Whatever you choose, try to make yourself slightly out of breath for half an hour 5 days a week. But don’t forget to lead a balanced and calm life.

BIG MISTAKE: Eat salads

A mix of raw vegetables, eaten as often during the day as possible, sounds like a short cut to light. healthy living. Eat your way to weight loss!

Salads are quick and easy, but with an aura of purity about them. They are everywhere. Conveniently sold in refrigerated packages along every high street and in supermarkets.

At some point people decided that this is simply the best lunch you can have.

Vegetables and raw. How can it possibly fail?


Chinese medicine has long been using vegetables in its nutritional therapy and always recommends an appropriate selection of veggies for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But it has also understood that vegetables are simply not designed by the plant to be eaten and therefore are often very hard for your stomach to break down when eaten raw.

In fact, if you are having excess weight which you are struggling to keep off, then the root issue could lie in your digestive system.

If food or drink are not being fully, efficiently processed then a weakness in your Stomach or Spleen could be present and needs addressing with Chinese herbs and acupuncture treatment.

In this case you should be avoiding salads, raw vegetables and cold food in general (like chilled sandwiches) even more as these things slow down your digestion.

Always lightly steam or stir fry all your vegetables before eating them. This will keep most of their nutrients intact but make them much easier for your digestive system to process and take advantage of.

BIG MISTAKE: Go on a diet

Even if your dieting has failed in the past, choose another diet.

It’s just a question of to diet or not to diet, right?

The conversation on weight loss is now reduced to the question of which diet works best. And just how fast it can get you the results. Is it going to be the Atkins diet? Mediterranean diet? Plant-based diet? Raw food diet?

Of course, watching what you eat, when you eat and how much exercise you are doing is fundamental but often this is not enough.


Weight is not only dependent on the simple concepts of calorie and fat intake versus exercise.

In Chinese medicine, healthy weight depends often on the Spleen and Stomach. These areas are responsible for transportation/absorption of food and its transformation into energy. Problems in this important process will lead to excess weight.

Unbalanced diet, irregular meal times, lack of exercise, unstable emotions. All these can undermine your digestion. They can weaken the Spleen and Stomach. This can harm your body’s ability to process food.

The resultant energy will not reach the rest of your body. The food will not be digested, but left to ferment. It will accumulate into excess Damp and Phlegm.

What’s causing your weight issues? There may be more subtle causes you probably didn’t know about. Use Chinese medicine to find yours.

Here are the 4 most common ones. Remember that you may have a combination of these factors.

  • Weak Digestive System. Acupuncture can help improve the efficiency of your Stomach and Spleen. This will help your body to absorb all the nutrients. And prevent an accumulation of excessive fat and Dampness.
  • Spleen Qi Deficiency. The Spleen is an important organ for weight control. If it’s not functioning well then it doesn’t matter how much or how little you eat. You will accumulate Dampness and fat, and feel bloated and heavy after every meal. You won’t have the energy to exercise, either. Thus compounding your excess weight issues.

With the help of acupuncture, you can strengthen your Spleen and optimise digestion. The treatment can replenish your Spleen-Qi, enabling you to digest your food with efficiency. This will help ensure full satisfaction after meals. This means you won’t overeat, yet will still reap full benefits from your food.

  • Excessive Eating. In Chinese medicine, it is believed that most excessive eating is comfort eating. Stress, depression, anxiety and other emotional factors often lead to ‘reward eating’. This can momentarily suppress these negative feelings. But it will still lead to excess weight.

Acupuncture is renowned for its ability to treat these emotional issues. Use it to help regain control of unnecessary eating. Acupuncture is also effective at managing food addiction and naturally stimulating hunger suppression.

  • Bad Lifestyle.  Too much junk food. Excessive alcohol. An unbalanced lifestyle. These are typical causes of heat, toxins and Dampness in your body. And Dampness means excess weight.

Acupuncture can help you to strengthen your detox organs. Use it to help clean your system. Remove the toxins. Eliminate the Dampness. Cool down your body and extinguish the heat. This will help to improve your digestive system and deal with excess weight.

Tired of failing at losing weight? Not so keen on trying a diet anymore?