Shrink and Sharpâ„¢: Acupuncture as a tool for permanent weight loss

Going to Beijing was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Maintaining healthy habits is an everyday necessity, even on vacation.

Watch how I received an acupuncture treatment on vacation to aid my stress management, sleep, and weight loss.

I’m Ellen Resnick, the director of a holistic weight loss program called the Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss.

One of the primary principles of my cognitive behavioral program involves teaching people how their thoughts (cognitions) impact their eating (behavior) every time they eat. For instance: the thought, “I had a bad day, I deserve a treat,” can result in people going off their plan for emotional reasons. That’s fine if it’s occasional and truly a treat (like 100-200 calories) and not a mistreat (more like 500-1000 calories).

At the “Center” we teach people to be mindful and talk back to these types of sabotaging thoughts with helpful responses like, “Yes, I had a hard day, and binging on cookies will make a bad day worse-it won’t solve what I’m upset about, AND, I’ll gain weight. I can go for a nice walk with my dog instead.”  We also teach people to plan their food and exercise so that it’s non-negotiable (within reason); how  to handle holidays, vacations, alcohol, and any type of situation which could be derailing. We also help people get back on track when they slip (inevitable) with self  compassion. In fact, we have people give themselves credit for catching the slip.

What I find is, it’s not about the diet, as much as about helping people to find effective coping strategies for  the stressors in their lives. Let’s face it–stress, guilt, shame and other mood problems are what sabotage most dieters.


That’s where alternative therapies like acupuncture fit into the tools for weight loss.

The ancient Chinese believed there is a universal life energy or chi that circulates throughout the body along pathways called meridians.

When it flows freely our health is maintained. But, once the chi is blocked, the system is disrupted and illness occurs. Acupuncture
restores healthy functioning by stimulating certain points on the meridians.  Acupuncture aids dieters by:

  • Decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone that results in belly fat)
  • Boosting metabolism
  • Decreasing sugar cravings
  • Improving sleep and thus decreasing grehlin, the hunger hormone
  • Increasing energy, making exercise easier
  • Improving digestion
  • Helping create and/or restore balance in the body, resulting in our making healthier choices
  • Promoting circulation
  • Decreasing leptin, a hormone that plays a role in regulating body weight bysignaling the brain to reduce appetite and burn more calories
  • Helping control appetite by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers

Overall, acupuncture helps our bodies function more efficiently.

In our fast paced world (China or the West), we need all the help we can get to be more relaxed and yet efficient, and well…sharp as a tack.

Ellen Resnick

Ellen N. Resnick, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss, Her general CBT practice website is at Ellen is on faculty in the department of psychiatry at UCSF. She lectures extensively in the Bay Area on a variety of wellness topics. Ellen is involved in getting the word out on healthy lifestyles though blogging and social media, including her Shrink and Wash (tm) Youtube videos on tools for permanent weight loss

2 thoughts on “Shrink and Sharpâ„¢: Acupuncture as a tool for permanent weight loss

  • August 24, 2011 at 6:47 am

    I’m so jealous you got to go to China!! I swear I was Chinese in another lifetime because I’m absolutely fascinated with Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbs, qigong and meditation). :)


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