Mind Power Issue #57
Killing You Sweetly
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Issue #57 – Monday, April 17th, 2017
This special issue of Mind Power is dedicated to drugs...
...particularly a lethal, pervasive drug that baffles and confounds – and sometimes kills – adults and children from every socio-economic corner in America and beyond.
That drug is sugar.
My friend, Susan Peirce Thompson, is an expert on this nasty substance and I’ve invited her to talk with you today about how you can...
...break the addiction to eat and live healthier...from this day forward.
This is powerful stuff, so please read on and bust out of the hamster wheel of sugar addiction.
Bill Harris, Founder/CEO
(and How to Rewire Your Brain for Weight Loss)
by Susan Peirce Thompson
I cannot tell you exactly when I became obese.
That’s because I didn’t weigh myself. I didn’t allow pictures of myself to be taken. I didn’t look at myself in the mirror more than absolutely essential to get out the door.
But I do know that, before the end of my struggle with food, I bought a size 24.
In 2003 my life seemed good. I was newly married to a wonderful man and about to move to Australia for my post-doctoral research in the field of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
It seemed, after so many years of struggle, that everything was coming together. But somewhere during that time I also slipped over into being obese.
Of course, while steadily gaining weight, I had also tried every diet on the market, throwing myself into them with the same focus and determination that I’d relied on to get and stay sober, to leverage myself from community college into Berkeley, where I earned a 4.0 and spoke at the graduation, and onto my first-choice school for my Ph.D.
I was not weak-willed. I did not have a character defect. I’d had plenty of therapy. I was not trying to eat over my emotions or smother pain with food. And yet I could not get and stay thin.
My scientific mind was awakened to a mystery hiding in plain sight—why do millions of people in the U.S. make four or five attempts a year to lose weight—and fail?
Fact: 99% of people who try to lose weight fail to lose it and keep it off long term. Why has no one really looked at this before?
Because our culture believes that overweight people have one singular problem: lack of willpower.
As a professor of the Psychology of Eating I posit that overweight people have exactly as much of the cognitive function we call willpower as everyone else.
But what is different about us is that our brains are blocking our ability to lose weight.
Research has shown that the Standard American Diet, which is increasingly becoming the Standard Global Diet, can rewire the brain in as little as three weeks to create insatiable hunger and overpowering cravings.
Insatiable hunger is a new kind of hunger in our evolution. It’s not a command to take on calories to meet life’s demands. It’s your brain sending you a signal, after a primarily sedentary day…
...to move to the couch with a bag of chips, followed by a carton of ice cream, and still sending you to bed feeling unsatisfied.
Meanwhile, overpowering cravings are messages from the most primitive and powerful part of our brain, the part that once commanded us to eat anything available to stay alive—bugs, raw meat, grubs…
...but now demands what it’s been duped into thinking it needs to survive: refined foods.
We have long known that our bodies were not designed to process refined foods, but neither were our brains. Refined foods hit our brain with a level of stimulation that pushes it very quickly to adapt by down-regulating.
Meaning, contrary to the prevailing misconception of obese people as gluttonous pleasure-seekers, their brains have taken their pleasure receptors offline…
...to compensate for the assault of sugar and flour most people are hitting their systems with multiple times a day.
The compulsion to eat is simply their brains ordering them to try to get back to a baseline.
It’s a vicious cycle that would make anyone feel frustrated and hopeless.
When I was overweight I wanted to be thin more than anything. And yet there was always a hand putting food in my face.
The diets I tried would explain how to lose weight, but then they would leave me to figure out execution over the long term, relying on my willpower to stick with it.
Since most of us only have fifteen minutes of that kind of self-regulation at a time, and even checking email depletes it, any diet that relies on willpower will fail eventually.
What people need is a diet that anticipates that your willpower is going to fail—and works anyway. I discovered exactly such a diet thirteen years ago…
...and I’ve been a size 4 ever since—through two pregnancies and my share of life’s dramas.
I married that way of eating with the latest in scientific research to create a program that can help anyone lose their excess weight and reclaim their life.
The great joy of these last few years has been teaching thousands of others how to get, and much more importantly, stay thin.
The brain can heal. It doesn’t happen overnight. But by eating in a way that shifts your hormones and neurotransmitters from working against you…
...to working for you, the weight comes off and gradually energy, flavor, and joy return.
You can begin with these 5 powerful steps to rewire your brain for weight loss:
1. Eliminate Sugar and Flour
Sugar and flour are as addictive in your brain as cocaine and other powdered drugs. In the quantities we consume, they over-stimulate the brain’s nucleus accumbens, the center of pleasure, reward and motivation.
Thus, you need increasingly large doses to experience the same level of pleasure. That’s addiction.
2. Eat Regular Meals
A steady schedule of three meals a day at regular mealtimes trains the brain to eat the right things at the right times and to pass up the wrong things in between.
3. Eat the Right Quantities
Most adults no longer receive reliable signals from their brains to stop eating when they’ve had enough, causing them to overeat.Eating right-sized portions will revive those signals over time and help the pounds melt off.
4. Understand How Willpower Works
We often think of willpower as an aspect of our moral character, or as a tool that gets more effective with increased commitment.
However, studies have proven that willpower is simply a finite cognitive resource that most of us have about fifteen minutes of at a time.
5. Be Consistent
Like a drug rehab program, make these steps non-negotiable. Doing so will take the burden off willpower, make good choices automatic and remove the ambiguity that leads to “just one more little bite.”
P.S. – No one should have to live in a body that doesn’t feel right-sized to them. No one should suffer because the way they were fed in their formative years set their brains up…
...for a lifetime of wanting, needing, and demanding the very foods that created their weight problem to begin with.
You can take my quiz and find out if you rate high on the Susceptibility Scale.
If you do, a program like the one I’ve created may be the answer you have been looking for.
About Susan Pierce Thompson:
Susan describes her life as “happy, thin, and free”. With the creation of Bright Line Eating, she gratefully spends every day sharing the psychology and neuroscience of sustainable weight loss so others can do the same.
Her company is dedicated to creating a world in which anyone—anywhere—who is truly ready to lose all their excess weight and keep it off long-term, will have a roadmap that ensures their success.
Susan also helped found the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to conduct and disseminate research on the science of effective and sustainable weight loss.
Check it Out!
Learn whether your brain is blocking you from losing weight, and...
...join the ranks of people who have collectively lost 133,000 pounds in the past two years, just by discovering how their brain is wired to respond to food
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