2.0 Talk Isn’t Some Fluffy Self-Help Tool

In the weight loss space, mental and emotional health seems to be getting more attention. People are talking more openly about their struggles and emotions. People are more open about their decision to seek help for weight loss struggles. And words like self-care, mindfulness, and gratitude are showing up everywhere. But there’s something that hasn’t quite gained the traction it deserves – YET.

There’s something that not enough weight loss coaches are talking about. And if they are, it’s not really with the depth or focus it deserves. But I’m determined to bring this issue and skill to light because it’s one of the most underrated tools in weight loss.

I’m talking about 2.0 Talk. (aka self-talk). 

Now before you click away, or roll your eyes and say, “Yeah Jill, I get it,” hear me out. 2.0 Talk isn’t just about saying nice things to yourself. It isn’t about constant pep talks or pie-in-the-sky encouragement. 2.0 Talk is about shifting the conversation that’s already happening in your mind. It’s about changing the narrative that’s playing, even when you don’t realize it.

You’re a human, which means you have a brain. One of the brain’s primary functions is to generate thought. You’ve got a constant dialogue going on in your head, as your brain works to make sense of the world and your place in it. It’s just what brains do.

But that doesn’t mean your brain does this perfectly. Just like any other part of the body, the brain can misfire, mess up, and make mistakes. It generates thoughts that aren’t true. It draws conclusions that are inaccurate. It interprets things incorrectly. Mix this with your baggage, past hurts, fears, and insecurities, and your inner dialogue can go off the rails pretty quickly.

This is where 2.0 Talk comes in. 2.0 Talk changes the conversation in your head. 2.0 Talk responds to automatic thoughts (1.0 NSL thoughts) with more helpful and balanced thoughts.

When you say, “It’s too hard, you can’t do this,” your 2.0 Talk says, “This is tough, and you can do this.”  When your critical thoughts (That I call 2.0 NSL thoughts) rev up after you make a mistake, calling you an idiot or a fool, your 2.0 Talk kicks in, reminding you that you’re human and you’re allowed to make mistakes.

When you think about trying another weight loss plan, fear pops up. Your thoughts convince you to avoid, stay safe, and retreat to comfort. But here comes your 2.0 Talk, reminding yourself that you can do hard things and that discomfort is necessary for a transformation to unfold.

If you let the unconscious dialogue in your head run the show, it will. If you let your thoughts go unchecked, you’re in trouble. You can’t always control what initial thoughts pop up. But you can control how you respond. In fact, you must.

2.0 Talk isn’t just some fluffy self-help tool. It’s a critical skill for your weight loss transformation and 2.0 NSL (Neuro-Slim Life). Like anything else, it’s new and different. Which means it’ll take some practice. But don’t all good things?

 

Combat the Comparison Trap When Trying to Lose Weight

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media, comparing your body to a complete stranger? Or have you ever been looking at photos online or in a magazine and started to notice a not-so-good feeling about your body flood in? If so, the strategy I am about to share is for YOU!

The comparison trap when trying to lose weight is dangerous and a reason many of us fall into the trap of self-sabotage. Today, I want to share a simple NSL (Neuro-Slim Life) tool to help you reduce how often you compare your body to others. It’s time to start feeling better and happier about the transformation journey you are on.

If you’ve ever found yourself comparing your body to someone else’s, then you’re already familiar with the comparison trap. This is where one has a tendency to compare how they look to others, whether it’s on social media, in magazines, or in real life.

The comparison trap convinces you that “so and so’s” life is better, happier, and more exciting than yours. It convinces you that everyone is more fabulous, fun, and put together than you. The comparison trap leaves you feeling like sh**t, less than, and down about your ability to reach your 2.0 body.

To be honest, the comparison trap isn’t new because of social media. Before Instagram, we had Facebook. Before Facebook, we had People magazine. And before People magazine, we had high school yearbooks. Comparison is a natural part of being a human. That said, social media has radically changed this pattern, giving us an easy platform to compare our lives to others, looking only at their highlight reels.

You scroll through Instagram and see perfectly curated poses and people luxuriating on vacation. You look at Facebook and see everyone gushing about how much they love their significant others. You flip through a magazine and see page after page of beautiful people. And without even realizing it, you start to feel inadequate. Your life suddenly doesn’t feel so great.

The comparison trap is real. And dangerous. But the good news is, there’s a simple NSL tool that can change your life. It’s both practical and helpful. It’s a tool I’ve practiced in my own 2.0 journey, and it’s made a significant difference.

The difference is dramatic, but the idea is simple. EDIT. Yes, you read that correctly. EditLook at the content you take in. Pay attention to what you’re consuming. And if it’s not healthy or helpful, don’t allow it into your space.

Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Remove.

Don’t expect your brain to see a pretty, shiny stimulus and not respond. Your brain isn’t wired that way. The key to surviving the comparison trap starts way before you see the photo. It starts by not allowing that photo to be in front of your eyes in the first place. (There’s a reason I don’t keep Reece Pieces in our house. I can’t have that stimulus in front of me without reacting. My brain isn’t wired like that.) Take away the stimulus by editing what you consume.

If you follow people on Instagram who only show perfectly curated images and flattering angles of their bodies and never open up or get real, unfollow them. If you have people on Facebook that are overly obnoxious or distorted in what they share (including what they eat in a day), hide their posts or unfriend them.

This isn’t about being, jealous. It’s about protecting your soul and only taking in things that are congruent with how you want to feel – this will lead you to living your 2.0 NSL!

If you want your life to be simpler, then consume media or materials that support that. If you want to feel better about yourself as a parent, then follow people who are open and authentic about their parenting struggles. If you want to feel better about your body transformation – delete ALL accounts that share tips on how to easily diet – including competitors! Don’t get me started on what is actually going on with their “trasnformation.”

I’m picky about who I allow into my online and real-life spaces. I can’t always trust my brain to see things as they truly are, so I’m thoughtful and protective about who gets in front of it.

If you struggle with the comparison trap, hear me loud and clear. Edit. Unfollow. Remove. If the photos of a popular influencer or old high school friend don’t nourish your 2.0 NSL, stop following them. If someone isn’t in line with how you want to feel, then don’t invite them into your digital space.

Be protective about what your eyes look at. Be intentional about what you’re scrolling past.

The comparison trap is dangerous to your 2.0 NSL. It minimizes what you have and leaves you feeling inadequate. Protect your mental and emotional health by editing who you allow into your space. It makes a world of difference.

Are you willing to edit who you follow on social media?  

4 Reasons Most Women Wait Until January To Start Their Weight Loss Goals

Let’s be honest. We all love setting weight loss or body transformation goals

Most of us love setting health goals and imagining the future body we could have more than we do getting started. We can make “lists” all day long, purchase food plan after food plan, track weight religiously, and even make workout playlists titled “Monday Motivation.”

But when it comes to getting into the nitty gritty and doing what needs to be done to transform our bodies, most of us struggle.

It’s true, most of us love TALKING about our goals for the new year. However,  most of us wait indefinitely to get started on our weight loss goals. Here are four unfortunate reasons people choose to wait until the last possible second to begin working on themselves.

1. Unfortunately, people need a big event to get started

New Year’s Eve and the day that follows tends to be that “big event.”

For whatever reason, we need that celebration, that milestone, that defining marker to say to ourselves, “Alright, it’s time.” But the truth is, that event could happen tomorrow morning–if you created it yourself. And no, there won’t be confetti everywhere congratulating you on the new year. But you don’t need that. All you need is to force yourself to take that first step. You don’t need a new calendar year to do that.

2. Unfortunately, people want to wait for their friends and family members to start too

Most people postpone beginning their new routines because their friends and family members still enjoy the comforts of their old ways. It’s much harder to start eating healthy, for example, when everyone around you is still nibbling on pecan pie.

This is why, if you want to make progress, you must take it upon yourself to go your own way. Stop waiting for someone else’s permission.

3. Unfortunately, people don’t want to work on themselves during the holidays

It’s Thanksgiving, and then it’s Christmas, and then it’s a bunch of New Year’s celebrations. Nobody is really in the mood to start working on themselves during all that.

In all honesty, I see it entirely differently.

This is the best time to start implementing your 2.0 health routines and habits. Chances are, you have more free time than normal.  You have quiet time to think and reflect–and do. And everyone else is lounging around–which means you can get a head start.

Don’t discount the holiday season. I’m not saying you should be grinding the whole time, but don’t spend eight hours on the couch, either. Put this time to good use.

4. Unfortunately, Most people don’t know where to start

As I said, setting goals is easy. It’s the following through that’s difficult.

Most people wait until the New Year to start their weight loss goals because they think something magical will happen once the calendar year resets. Deep down, what they’re looking for is guidance. They want someone to help them turn the goals they’ve set for themselves into something actionable–and since they don’t know how to do it themselves, they wait.

And they wait.

And the next thing you know, it’s February, and nothing has happened. Either their weight is the same, or worse, gone up.

This is why it’s better to start sooner. The first few steps you take in any new direction will be uncomfortable. So you might as well get that part of the journey done in November/December so that you’re in stride by January!

 

Why 30-Day Weight Loss Challenges Fail

Why 30 day weight loss challenges fail

Now that another summer is upon us, reflecting back, did you meet your weight loss goal? You know, the goal you set for New Year?

If you are shaking your head, you’re not the only one. Because you wouldn’t be reading this article, unless (a) you wanted/needed to lose weight, or (b) you are interested in weight loss for personal or professional reasons.

I am going to assume that you had a goal of losing weight, but life, stress, excuses, and a lack of motivation got in the way. And it likely happens year after year.

When January hit, you may have joined a 30-day free challenge. So why is it that this avenue doesn’t work?

Let’s break it down.

It Takes More than Time to Build Weight Loss Habits

2 weeks, 28 days, 30 days. Depending on the research you google, you may hear vastly different views of how long it takes for someone to make genuine changes with their weight. There’s just one problem: despite the research, it’s not all based on a timeline. Simply joining a 30-day challenge, whether it’s healthier eating or a specific exercise challenge, isn’t enough to create lasting weight changes. You must, instead:

Be motivated and invested to make a change. In order to reach a weight loss goal, it’s essential to be motivated and invested. Overall health and wellness challenges need to incorporate much more than a simple daily challenge to be truly effective. If you’re solely focused on meeting the challenge goal, you may have little motivation to maintain the long-term change.

Have the ability to reach the goals in the challenge. Suppose you join a 30-day free challenge that encourages every member to meet a goal of 10,000 steps per day. While that’s a great goal, not everyone is capable of easily reaching it. Some people may struggle to get 5,000 steps on an active day. Asking them to double their efforts may seem impossible.

Find strategies that fit into their schedule. Everyone has different work schedules and responsibilities. Not one weight loss challenge can ever fit every member’s schedule. If it doesn’t work for you, even if you participate in the challenge itself, you’ll be less likely to make lasting change.

Not Everyone Moves at the Same Rate

Many 30-day weight loss challenges are built on the theory that each day needs to add a little more to the challenge. Plank challenges, for example, may start with just 30 seconds, with the hope of building up to a full 5 minutes by the end of the month. While it’s a great challenge, there’s one key problem: not everyone will build strength at the same rate! Some people will find that they can easily meet the early goals in the challenge, motivating them to quickly hurry toward the bigger goals near the end. Others may struggle to meet those early goals and, as the challenge gets harder, they may quickly give up. While challenges are a great way to encourage members to start thinking about fitness goals, not every person will be suited to those challenges. If you want to lose weight, it’s important to look beyond the 30-day challenge to discover a more effective strategy: a wellness program that encourages healthy eating, regular activity, mindset work, support and of course a work/life balance.

Challenges Are Geared Toward Short-Term Results

Most 30-day weight-loss challenges are designed to last for, well, 30 days. That’s great for people who are looking for a little extra motivation to help them kick-start new fitness goals. 30 days is an attainable goal: you assume that you’ll be able to do anything for 30 days. It’s less effective, however, for people who are looking for long-term weight loss changes. Often, at the end of those 30 days, people simply give up and return to their previous habits- packing more pounds on than when they started.

Results Will Vary

“Get the six-pack you’ve always wanted in just 30 days!” “Lift your tush, tone your legs, and feel great about yourself!” “Accomplish more than you ever dreamed you could, with just 30 days of effort!” There’s just one problem: not everyone will get the same level of results from any type of weight loss challenge. Some people will quickly shed extra pounds and build plenty of muscle. Others will struggle to see those same results. Instead of taking a single 30-day round to see incredible toning, they may need two rounds, or three, or four. The truth is, results will vary throughout; and for those who aren’t able to reach their goals, the challenge may ultimately decrease motivation, rather than increase it.

Results Never Last

Even for those high achievers who do quickly get the results they want from a weight loss challenge, the results won’t last once the challenge is over. Sure, you’ve got the toned midsection you’ve always wanted; but once the motivation fades, you probably won’t continue those exercises, which means, in turn, that the results won’t last. 30-day challenges can give subpar results, especially if they target a specific part of the body that may ordinarily receive less attention. At the end of those 30 days, however, results may fall away just as quickly. To see real, lasting change, especially in overall body composition, it’s necessary to keep up with a fitness program, not just throw something together throughout a few days and hope for the best. A solid weight loss program, on the other hand, offers ongoing support to help the person make changes that will last for more than a few weeks, actually improving their overall health.

Many Challenges Are Based on Specific Sales-Worthy Items

Here’s the truth about many 30-day weight loss challenges: they’re based on the desire to sell something. The coach wants to sell a specific piece of workout equipment (i.e. booty band or waist trainer). That coach wants to encourage people to buy its specific supplements. Once people get those great results from their 30-day challenge, they’re more likely to use those items in the future! Unfortunately, if you’re investing in supplements, shakes, and specific diet foods, you’re putting out an expensive up-front investment for those short-term results. Instead, opt to invest in long-term results that will stick with you long after the challenge would have been over: a wellness program.

Failure Sparks Failure

“I couldn’t stick it out for 30 days. What makes you think I’ll ever be able to lose this weight and make real change?” Many 30-day weight loss challenges are designed to be hard. After all, it’s a short-term time investment. Unfortunately, failure can spark a spirit of failure, leading many people to believe that they won’t be able to make the changes that they need to make. As a result, they may struggle with the feeling that they won’t be able to accomplish future goals if they fail one challenge, and they may stop trying altogether.

Family Dynamics and Eating and Weight Problems

Crossed hands holding apple

It’s no surprise that family dynamics can be a major contributor to eating and weight problems.

Obviously for a young child or teenager, how her parents regulate her food consumption and the eating behaviour they model will be the largest factors, other than genetics, affecting her relationship with food and her body. 

Parents who are “normal” eaters and have a healthy attitude toward weight will likely produce children who are comfortable in their bodies and around food. 

On the other hand, parent’s who are uptight around food, obsessed with calorie and fat gram counting, constantly dieting or monitoring their food intake, pass along to their children distorted, negative messages about the positive role food should play in life. 

The act of feeding is not the only behaviour that leaves an imprint on children’s attitudes toward food and weight, parents who are preoccupied with their own, their parents or their children’s weight are modelling a mindset that says there is not a range of acceptable weights, only one ideal number for each person, which implies that there is something wrong of a body does not achieve it.

People who grow up with parents who overtly or covertly express extreme dissatisfaction with their own or each other’s bodies pick up the attitude that bodies cannot be loved unconditionally, but must be whipped into acceptability. 

It is never too late to change your relationship with food and weight. You are not a lost cause. And if you think you can change your daughter’s mindset on food and the scale without changing yours… you are at risk for some upsetting times ahead. 

Change starts with you. The parent. Be the role model you wish you had. It might feel like one of your best achievements, seeing her grown-up, confident in her body. 

If you would like to start your food freedom journey, please reach out. 

Why Can’t I Stop Eating At Night?

Woman in front of laptop with hand on head

Sound familiar?

You wake up in the morning, gun for the coffee pot, eat a healthy breakfast, and run the kids to school or jet to the office. Mornings have never been a problem for you. The routine is comforting, thoughts about food are faint, and your mind is focused on the overwhelming tasks set ahead. 

Hunger? What hunger. Daytime hunger ques don’t exist. Your brain is a happy camper, stimulated by conversations and important work projects. You’re lucky if you get a minute to go to the bathroom, let alone sit down and have a lunch break. Throughout the day, you get in another coffee (or two), a lunch (if lucky), and a few small snacks such as a piece of fruit, a protein bar, or a handful of stale nuts found in your drawer. 

The day is done before you know it, and you are on your way home. Then, the alarm bells go off. Your mind is screaming at you for food. By the time you get inside, you are in the kitchen finding a snack to eat, so you can start making dinner without food cravings taking over. Only, the thing is, without a thought, you end up eating an equivalent of half a plate of food while cooking dinner for yourself or your family. 

You sit down and eat your portioned dinner, only to feel hungry not even 30 minutes later. So the torment begins. Trying to resist, to no prevail, you end up snacking the rest of the evening. 

And then the cycle continues, day after day, week after week, year after year. And you wonder why you have put on 30lb+. 

I am here to tell you this is one of the most common themes in my practice. I work with intelligent, high-functioning women like yourself. Your brain is on “fire” all day, getting jolts of dopamine and serotonin from being stimulated with tasks and responsibilities. Unfortunately, when the work day ends, your brain doesn’t comprehend it. It still wants to be stimulated. And it knows from previous experiences… food will give it the buzz it’s after.

It’s not your fault though. Your brain has wired its chemicals in a way that seeks stimulation every waking minute you’re up. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can teach your brain to relax and wind down at night. You can be at peace in the evening without constantly feeling like you need to gorge on food. 

We can re-fuel, re-wire, and re-build your brain to be a food ally instead of a food enemy in just three phases. The only thing you have to do is be willing to try something different! 

Are you ready? Send me a message with the subject It’s Time – and I will send you the 1-to-1 exclusive information package! 

Talk Soon,

Your Weight Loss Coach, Jill Bunny

 

Do I Have a Food Addiction?

weight loss and addiction

The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gained increasing support. I have spent the latter part of my graduate studies learning about food addiction and wanted to spend some time sharing with you some very important information.

For some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Highly palatable foods are foods rich in sugar, fat and salt. 

Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine. Once a person has experienced pleasure associated with increased dopamine from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.

The reward signals from highly palatable foods may override other signals of fullness and satisfaction. As a result, people keep eating, even when they’re not hungry.

Compulsive overeating is a type of behavioural addiction meaning that someone can become preoccupied with behaviour that triggers intense pleasure. People with food addictions lose control over their eating behaviour and find themselves spending excessive amounts of time involved with food and overeating, or anticipating the emotional effects of compulsive overeating.

The following may all be signs that you have developed a food addiction:

  • Unable to stop eating certain foods even when you are not hungry
  • Eating to the point of feeling physically unwell/nauseous
  • Finding that you will go to extreme lengths to obtain ‘junk food’ when this is not available
  • Eating so excessively that it causes you to neglect work, friends, family, and hobbies
  • Experiencing problems at work because of food and eating
  • Finding that you need to eat increasing amounts of food, and more frequently, in order to feel satisfied
  • Finding that you need to eat to reduce negative emotions e.g. to relieve anxiety and stress
  • Eating more quickly than other people
  • Being secretive or dishonest about your eating behaviours
  • Experiencing guilt after overeating
  • Feeling as though food controls your life
  • Feeling as though you are unable to stop overeating despite the negative consequences that this causes

Ask yourself, do you:

  • Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
  • Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
  • Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
  • Do you eat in secret?
  • Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have “enough”?
  • Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
  • Do you obsessively calculate the calories you’ve burned against the calories you’ve eaten?
  • Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you’ve eaten?
  • Are you waiting for your life to begin “when you lose the weight”?

If you feel you have a food addiction and would like to resolve this problem, then read up if working together is the right fit!

How To Ditch The Yo-Yo Dieting For Good

ditch yo-yo dieting

Dieting again? Losing the same weight you’ve already lost before? That’s Yo-Yo Dieting. Been there, done that, too many times over – say the women that come into my practice.

Why Diets Don’t Work

We do what we do based upon the thoughts we think and the emotions we feel. Diets focus only on eating behaviour when the underlying thoughts and emotions are what really make or break success.

I cringe using the word “diet” because it usually represents a very temporary behaviour. We temporarily change eating behaviour until we either reach or abandon a goal.

But Yo-Yo Dieting runs deeper than just the behaviour. With repeated weight fluctuation over the years (and keeping several sizes of clothes in your closet to accommodate this), you set yourself up for perpetual dissatisfaction with yourself.

Diets don’t work because they focus on the behaviour instead of focusing on the root cause of the behaviour: your thoughts and emotions.

Your weight is always driven by what you think, believe and feel.

In working through my own history with fluctuating weight, I’ve developed passion and expertise in counselling women who want to get to the root of old patterns with weight/food, and stop sabotaging themselves.

I help women not only achieve and sustain their goal weight but to feel better about themselves AT ANY WEIGHT. Diets don’t work when you can only be happy if you achieve a certain weight.

Most Common Causes of Yo-Yo Dieting

Body image

Body image is what you think, believe and feel about yourself and your body. Yo-Yo Dieters often think: “If only I lose these __lbs, then I’ll be happy.”

This kind of thinking sets up conditions for self-satisfaction or self-love (i.e. happiness). You need to eliminate the conditions. We all need unconditional self-love.

Love yourself first and the weight will drop off easily and stay off. Why? Your eating behaviour will come from healthy, happy thoughts and feelings, leading to EASY healthy, happy eating behaviours! You gain power and the food loses the power it previously had over you.

According to a recent study, women who had counselling to improve their body image lost a higher percentage of weight than those who did not see a counsellor.

Yo-Yo Dieters often tell me, “But I love food, that’s the problem.” Believe it or not, it is possible to love food AND maintain your ideal healthy weight. So if that’s not happening, it’s a sign that there’s another problem. Usually, it’s a sign that underlying thoughts, beliefs and feelings (about self and about food) need to be changed.

Imagine loving yourself fully and without judgment or regret no matter what the scale says. This is hard for many of us.

Put conditions on loving yourself and your weight will be a Yo-Yo over time. When you come to love yourself as you are now, the food and the weight lose their emotional attachment. What you eat and what you weigh become choices driven by healthy, happy thoughts and feelings.

Comfort eating

Yo-Yo Dieting is associated with emotional eating, or comfort eating. This happens when you’re not eating for hunger, or to fulfill physical needs, but to FEEL better. Ask yourself why you need to feel comforted by food?

I’ve heard countless stories of women reaching their goal weight and then gaining it back when they realize (mostly subconsciously) that life isn’t suddenly perfect, and they aren’t suddenly as happy as they thought they would be. This feels bad. Feeling bad and thinking bad go hand-in-hand, and this is a setup for self-sabotaging eating behaviour.

The vicious cycle: bad thinking and feeling lead to “bad eating,” self-sabotaging eating, then feeling bad about what you weigh or how you look (which feels bad), then eating because you subconsciously think food will get rid of that bad feeling, then feeling guilty or bad about what you ate, leading to more feeling bad about yourself and thinking you SHOULD be able to just get this under control but you can’t, maybe there’s something wrong with you, and on and on…

Comfort eating often comes into play because most of us were never taught healthy coping skills for managing stressful/upsetting emotions.

The Cure for Yo-Yo Dieting

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Neuroscience is designed for this. CBT is a particular form of counselling that targets unhelpful thoughts. You learn to take control of negative body image and emotional eating by gaining understanding and control of your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and the behaviours that follow.

I’ve found CBT is incredibly effective for my clients, in combination with holistic solutions to managing difficult emotions and stressful situations. It has worked so well, that I even created CBT Meets Fitness level one coaching certification for health and fitness professionals to gain CBT skills to use with their clients.

“I can’t believe how easy it is now to lose the weight!”

It was a joy to hear one of my clients say this the other day. She knows it’s because she now has her thoughts and feelings (about herself and about food) under control. She’s in charge now.

Ready to take your first step to gain control over Yo-Yo Dieting traps? Register for the Neuro-Slim Masterclass!

 

Train Your Brain To Lose Weight

Ever wonder what makes you hungry or crave certain foods? Why you always have enough room for dessert even though you just finished a big meal? Or why you might stand in front of an open fridge full of food and then say, “We have nothing to eat!”? Such is the power of neurotransmitters.

NEUROTRANSMITTERS – THE BASICS

The human brain is composed of roughly 86 billion neurons (nerve cells). These nerve cells communicate with each other via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. There are two types of neurotransmitters: inhibitory and excitatory. While inhibitory neurotransmitters calm the brain, excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate the brain.

Neurotransmitters affect sleep, mood, motivation, memory, focus, energy, libido, weight, and can cause adverse symptoms when they are out of balance. It’s been estimated that 86% of North Americans have sub-optimal neurotransmitter levels. Stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, addictive substances, and genetic predisposition are all to blame for poor neurotransmitter levels.

How Do Neurotransmitters Affect Weight Loss?

When most of us think of weight loss, we don’t usually think of the brain. The brain, however, has a dramatic impact on body composition. Your appetite is not only a product of your physiology, but also your psychology; it’s a complex interaction of hormones and neurotransmitters.

So which neurotransmitters are the biggest players in weight management? While all neurotransmitters are important, the big “four” are dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, serotonin, and melatonin. In this article, we will discuss Dopamine!

DOPAMINE – THE PLEASURE HORMONE

In terms of weight loss, dopamine is the most important of the four brain chemicals. Dopamine is a unique neurotransmitter in that it can be excitatory or inhibitory, depending on the receptor it binds to. It’s derived from the amino acid tyrosine and is released during gratifying activities, such as food consumption, sex, exercise, and several drugs. The function of dopamine is diverse as it plays a role in pleasure/reward, mood, attention, and motor skills.

Those low in dopamine often use foods and stimulants to get them through the day. The problem is that most of the foods and stimulants people crave – chocolate, candy, diet sodas, coffee, or energy drinks – lead to unhealthy eating habits and obesity. Each of these substances actually does boost dopamine production. So in a sense, you are self-medicating correctly, although dangerously. Research shows that dopamine-induced behaviour leads to repeated cravings and overindulgence. Without the right amount of dopamine, you’re never physically and emotionally fulfilled by food, no matter how much you’ve eaten. So you keep eating and eating and eating.

While not enough dopamine can leave you fatigued – craving food and stimulation – too much can cause addictive behaviours. Dopamine is one of the reasons why foods can be addictive. Not surprisingly, almost all abusive drugs and addictive substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and even sugar, influence dopamine production.

The goal for weight loss is to have a dopamine signalling system that regulates and balances your body with sustained energy and motivation. Besides the many pleasures dopamine brings, healthy levels of dopamine naturally suppress appetite and aid weight loss. Just be aware that dopamine does decrease with most weight loss attempts.

To Positively Influence Dopamine Levels

  • Limit your sugar intake: sugar alters brain chemistry by disrupting dopamine levels. That’s why people experience a “sugar-high” shortly after eating sweets. In fact, sugar stimulates the exact same euphoric pathway as alcohol and drugs.
  • Supplement with l-tyrosine: since tyrosine is the building block of dopamine, supplementing with tyrosine can help increase dopamine production. An even better choice is acetyl-l-tyrosine, which is a more bio-available form. 
  • Eat foods high in tyrosine: bananas are an exceptional food for regulating dopamine because they have a high concentration of tyrosine. Other foods known to boost dopamine levels include almonds, apples, beets, watermelons, cherries, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, yogurt, beans, eggs, fish, and meats.
  • Limit caffeine: just like sugar, coffee offers only temporary relief. After experiencing the initial kick caffeine offers, dopamine levels in the body decrease. So, go for a cup of decaf instead if you have already had your morning fill.
  • Avoid stress and relax: Neuro-slim CBT tools, meditation, self-reflection, hot bath, or a massage are all activities that increase dopamine levels.

To learn more about how Neuro-Slim CBT tools can increase your dopamine, leading to sustainable weight loss results, watch my latest webinar: The Neuro-Slim Solution!

Find Your Strong Podcast Interview: Mind Over Mood With Jill Bunny

Episode Summary:
Jenny and Jill’s candid, open conversation uncovers the world of fitness competitions that most dare not talk about. They also discuss why the mind is the key ingredient missing in most health and fitness transformations.

Through the many “aha moments’ leading up to Jill’s path of success and helping so many women do the same, she discovered how CBT can help transform women’s lives – both personally and professionally!

For more information on The Neuro-Slim Solution exclusive coaching program visit: www.neuroslim.caFor more information on how to join an upcoming photoshoot retreat visit: www.reframeyourbiz.com