Laurel Mellin, Associate Clinical Professor of Family & Community Medicine and Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Despite massive government, medical and individual efforts to win the war on obesity, 71 percent of Americans are overweight. The average adult is 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. Our growing girth adds some US$200 billion per year to our health care expenditure, amounting to a severe health crisis.
Drug research has not yielded a pill that helps people lose weight and keep it off. Traditional approaches such as diet and exercise can work short-term, but people almost inevitably regain the weight.
Randomized controlled trials of weight loss surgery have shown some improvements in diabetes but not in mortality, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
If there is ever to be a “pill” – a solution to weight – it will be changing the brain, particularly the primitive areas of the brain, the “emotional brain” or mammalian and reptilian brain. These areas house circuits that control stress and our stress-fueled emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
These circuits can be rewired in humans so by changing them, we have a chance to address the root cause of stress-related problems, including obesity. While some overweight and obesity are caused by genetic make-up, more and more research is indicating that stress plays a big role in weight gain.
The role of stress in weight gain
Many people under stress turn to food for comfort.
The emotional brain is command central for weight and common excesses. It includes the fear, reward and starvation centers. When that brain is in stress, all three centers promote overeating and weight gain. We have strong drives to do exactly what we know we shouldn’t do. We can’t help it! Our emotional brain is in stress.
Our thinking brain (neocortex) goes off line, and the extremes of our emotional brain calls the shots.
To take care of your body, take care of your brain
The first step in taking control of our weight is to destress the emotional brain. In emotional brain training (EBT), we release stress by checking in several times throughout the day, identifying our level of stress and using the technique for that stress level to “spiral up” to a state of well-being.
There are five levels of stress and five tools. To get an idea of how they work, take a few breaths, check in with yourself and identify your stress level. Then use the tools for that level of stress to reduce your stress rapidly.
1. Compassion Tool (Stress Level 1 – Very Low Stress) Say to yourself, “Feel compassion for myself,” then wait for a wave of compassion to flow through your body. Next say, “Feel compassion for others,” and feel a slight wave of warmth. Last, say, “Feel compassion for all living beings.”
2. Feelings Tool (Stress Level 2 – Low Stress) Ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Often, three feelings bubble up, but wait long enough so that one feeling is the strongest. That’s the one! Next ask yourself, “What do I need?” and, finally, “Do I need support?”
3. Flow Tool (Stress Level 3 – A Little Stress) Say the words: “I feel angry that …” and watch what words arrive in your mind to complete the sentence. State the sentence again, for seven more feelings: sad, afraid, guilty, grateful, happy, secure and proud. Notice the glow in your body and how your stress is gone. Why? When we feel our negative feelings, they fade. We are no longer in peril and the brain naturally focuses on positive feelings that give us the energy to move forward and do good things in our life.
*4. Cycle Tool (Stress Level 4 – High Stress) * Start by stating what is bothering you (don’t hold back!), then protest that stress by saying “I feel angry that … I can’t stand it that … I hate it that … .” and each time watch what words arrive in your mind. This can unlock the circuit so that you can change at a deeper level. Pause and take a few deep breaths, then say the words: “I feel sad that … I feel afraid that … I feel guilty that …” and watch what words arrive in your mind to complete each sentence.
Next support yourself, and say, “OF COURSE I could do that (such as overeat) because my unreasonable expectation is … ” and again wait for words to bubble up from your unconscious mind, such as: “I get my safety from overeating.” That’s just an old glitch of a memory that needs updating. So, update it! Say the opposite expectation (such as “I cannot get my safety from food … I can get my safety from connecting to myself”). As you stated this when the circuit was freshly unlocked, the circuit can change into the expectation of your choosing. As the new expectation becomes dominant, the emotional drives for various excesses (including food) can begin to fade so that changing behavior becomes easier.
5. Damage Control Tool (Stress Level 5 – Very High Stress) When we’re that stressed, we need to be held and comforted. Sometimes just rocking in your chair or breathing deeply helps. Also, you can say calming words repeatedly: “Do not judge. Minimize harm. Know it will pass. After all, it’s just stress and it will fade.”
Survival circuits activate strong emotional drives to overeat
Once you’ve started releasing stress from your emotional brain, chances are you’ll notice that you still get triggered sometimes. You might even blame yourself for that late night binge or that mindless eating.
Actually, it’s just a survival circuit.
They are encoded when we are stressed and reach for food to cope. The brain remembers that food “saved us” from stress, so it encodes an expectation, such as “I get my safety from food.”
That circuit can be replayed for a lifetime, fueling maladaptive eating.
Research now shows that these survival circuits can be rewired and we do that in EBT. In fact, they can only be rewired when we are stressed. Only then does the circuit unlock and make change more lasting.
When stressed and craving food, the EBT user reaches for a tool rather than for the food and uses it to stop the craving and change the circuit. The drive to overeat fades.
The last step: Keeping the weight off
Keeping weight off is hard but it may be easier if we improve the brain’s emotional setpoint.
The solution is to move up the emotional setpoint, so we get the emotional brain out of chronic stress, which is why the EBT program is aimed at raising the setpoint, so participants are more resilient to new stresses, less likely to regain the weight they have lost and, most of all, to experience more joy in their daily lives.
11 pounds in 22 days?
Is it REALLY possible to lose 11 lbs. of fat in 22 days? Actually yes… BUT only when you’re a level 4 fat burner. Unfortunately, most people are stuck as level 1 fat burners. So, how do you become a level 4 fat burner to lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days? Simply eat these foods daily:
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.