A brain is a terrible thing to let go to waist.
— Catherine L. Taylor
Most of us are aware of the negative health consequences of being overweight. From heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, and cancer – these health problems can clearly affect the quality of our life. But many of us don’t realize how greatly our diet, obesity, and food addiction can affect our brain function. Studies show that obesity affects executive function and the ability to regulate attention. Executive function is a set of mental processes that people use to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.
Losing weight involves all of these processes. People with deficits in attention and executive function have a terrible time with the planning of meals, creating structure, and staying focused long enough to be successful. They tend to be impatient and have a hard time with transitions, usually wanting to go from A to Z without the steps in between.
The brain and body are intimately connected. What we do to one, greatly affects the other. Research shows that obesity in midlife is a risk factor for developing dementia later in life. If we continue to let our bodies go, our brains may go right along with them. Studies show as the size of our waist increases, our brains are actually shrinking in the other direction. Brain shrinkage is linked to dementia. Health researchers predict that because of the obesity epidemic, there will be a huge surge in dementia cases.
Too much sugar and fat also affect brain health. A diet high in sugar and fat makes it hard for us to regulate our attention and can increase memory problems. Most of us have experienced brain fog or being in sugar coma from eating too many carbohydrates. Eating this way also fuels addiction, depression, and anxiety.
The good news is that all of these problems can be reversed by changing our habits. The brain is highly plastic and has the ability to change itself.
The key components for optimal mind/body health are:
• Aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise actually grows new brain cells. It also improves executive function, memory, and attention regulation. Doctors recommend aerobic exercise as one of the best ways to keep dementia at bay. Aim for 20-30 min. a day to start. It can be broken up into 10 min. intervals and still produce the same benefits.
• Meditation. Stress and anxiety shrinks our brain. Mindfulness, prayer, and other forms of meditation reduce stress and anxiety, improves memory, concentration, and executive function. Regular meditators have brains that are as much as 10-20 years younger than non-meditators. Start with 10 min. a day and build to 20 min. daily.
• Maintain a healthy weight. To lose weight, start with 10 lb. weight loss goal. Even a 10 lb. loss has significant health benefits. Once you do 10, you can always do more in 10 lb. increments.
• Eat more whole foods. Cut back on refined sugars and processed foods. Eat a diet rich in good fats, like Omega 3’s, protein, complex carbohydrates, micronutrients – vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – and water. Neurons use these nutrients to fire and connect properly.
• Avoid drugs and smoking. Drink alcohol in moderation; overconsumption causes brain shrinkage.
To function properly, both our brain and body need to be engaged in stimulating activities. Routines are dulling and deadly to both. The brain and body thrive on novelty and new experiences. New experiences grow new neurons. Changing up our exercise routine challenges the body and muscles in new and novel ways, working areas that don’t get used as often. So, change up your routine: take a different route to work, change up your exercise, plan some new meals, or take a class.
DO something different…ANYTHING! Sameness makes the brain go dull.
TO BE different, DO different.
Change is good!
Have my brain and body become stuck in cruise control?
Obesity and the Brain | Psychology Today http://bit.ly/1s6cFyy
Middle-age Obesity and Dementia http://t.co/E1XzfwRqX6
Obesity linked to brain shrinkage and dementia – http://bit.ly/RmzOiX
Feast for the Eyes – Pink Dahlia – Photography by Catherine L. Taylor
- Every man if he so desires becomes sculptor of his own brain.
—Santiago Ramon y Cajal (from Recuerdos de mi vida, 1901)
- You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
—Dr. Seuss (from Oh, the places you’ll go!, 1990)
- Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
- A full belly makes a dull brain.
—Benjamin Franklin (from Poor Richard, 1758)
- The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up and does not stop until you get into the office.
I welcome change.
I sprinkle the spice of novelty throughout my life.
New experiences expand my brain.
To perform at my best, I eat a diet that supports my brain and body.
Learning new things about health is fun. Applying them to my life is even better.
I am more than my mind. I expand my awareness to inhabit my body.
When my brain and body are connected, I feel a sense of peace.
Is emotional eating keeping you from losing weight and living the life you want? Are you ready to get off the diet rollercoaster and master your weight and your life?
If so, you may be a candidate for coaching. Coaching can make the difference between success and failure.
I have found that people who struggle with food and emotional eating are released from that prison once they learn the skills of mindful awareness and mindful eating, emotional self-nurturing, developing a spiritual or meditation practice, and learning to set appropriate limits and goals.
This turns off the urge to overeat and engage in other compulsive behaviors. When you feel better, you eat better! I have walked this path myself, and it has led me to peace and freedom.
The goal of my coaching is to create a lighter, balanced, healthier, nourishing and joy-filled life. You will begin to see results in all areas of your life because How You do Food is How You do Life!®
I coach and mentor people in the areas of: permanent weight loss, food addiction, compulsive, emotional overeating, binge eating recovery, creative self expression, spiritual direction, mindfulness, meditation, self care and stress management, self esteem and body image issues.
Note: My work is spiritually focused, not religious, and fits with any belief system you may have, even agnostic. My work assumes that you have all the wisdom and answers you need inside of you.
What you call this place — God, intuition, Higher Power, inner wisdom, or true self — is up to you. I am simply a guide bringing you back to the truths that are already inside of you.
If you want to know more about why and how coaching works click here.
If you’d like a free consultation click here!
I hope you have enjoyed my newsletter. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I love to hear what’s working for you and read about your success stories.
Catherine L. Taylor
How You do Food is How You do Life!
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©2013 Catherine L. Taylor. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reprinted in any form without express permission from the author.
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