There’s more to losing weight than simply counting calories and exercising, as a new book shows.
N o one ever said weight loss was easy: 95 per cent of people who lose weight put it back on within 12 months. To ensure you keep it off, you need to get your brain involved.
Author and GP Dr Helena Popovic, who wrote NeuroSlimming: Let Your Brain Change Your Body, says our brain plays a key role in deciding how, where and why our body stores fat – to get slimmer, we need to use our brain.
Here, Dr Popovic explains how you can make it work for you.
How does your brain affect your weight?
“The brain is your control centre – every part of your body follows instructions and signals sent by the brain. Eating in different emotional states affects how you digest food and store fat. For example, eating when you feel guilty, angry or anxious causes your body to produce the hormone cortisol, and that instructs your body to store fat around the abdomen. But if you eat the same meal when you’re relaxed, you activate the brain’s left prefrontal cortex that releases oxytocin. This hormone slows eating and improves digestion, so we’re less likely to store fat.”
What’s the takeaway message from your book about NeuroSlimming?
“Actions, thoughts and emotions can change your brain, and NeuroSlimming helps you create new habits that rewire your brain and stop self-sabotaging behaviours. The book includes a series of practical steps that, when repeated and followed, create new habits so your brain and body work together to improve weight loss and health.”
How do I get started?
“The first step is awareness. Next time you get a craving, don’t feel hopeless, as negative thoughts increase the craving. Instead, be aware of the craving – this engages your brain’s frontal lobe and helps you become more rational. Then intercept the craving: Think of something positive and pleasurable like your last holiday, or the first time you held your baby, so your brain produces chemicals that dampen the craving.”
What are the other key steps in NeuroSlimming?
“I have developed what I describe as the ‘Five Freedoms’ (see below) with practical steps or ‘Missions’ to make each Freedom work. The Freedoms are questions that you ask yourself to help you make the right choices.”
Any other tips to make NeuroSlimming a success?
“Be aware and focus, and you will see positive changes – all it takes is about 15 minutes of thought a day. Get other people on board so you can remind each other of the steps, too.”
NeuroSlimming: Let Your Brain Change Your Body is available at bookdepository.com for $36.96.
How They Shed The Kilos
These celebs surprised us with their dramatic weight loss transformations
After a painful split with ex-husband Lamar Odom, the now-pregnant 33-year-old reality TV star managed to lose about 20 kg with a combination of dieting and constant high-intensity workouts.
Drew also shed about 20 kg for her Netflix comedy, Santa Clarita Diet. The 42-year-old actress said she avoided simple carbohydrates, ate more protein and vegetables, and worked out on set.
The comedy queen, who is 47, credits her weight loss to keeping insulin levels low and eating healthier to get fitter. “I truly stopped worrying about my size,” she said.
Rebel has always been proud of her curvy figure but in 2016, the Pitch Perfect star decided to tone up instead. She started working out and hiking, and lost over 12 kg over eight months.
What are the Five Freedom steps that will help you have a healthier diet?
THINK ABOUT ‘LIVING, NOT DIETING’
Do you have a healthy body because you lead a fulfilling life, or are you on a diet and feeling deprived? It’s better to eat when you’re hungry, to eat what you like and not what you don’t like, and also to eat with your full attention.
‘BE YOU, NOT NEW’
Are you being true to who you are, or trying to be who society says you should be? Work out what you want from your health and body. Write a Mission Statement with your goal that is positive, personal and precise.
FOCUS ON ‘LOVE NOT WAR’
Are you treating your body like a temple or a battleground? Be in tune with your feelings, because suppressing them doesn’t help. Also, be more grateful: Gratitude lessens anxiety, raises energy levels and is a buffer against stress.
‘FUN, NOT FORCE’
Are you forcing yourself to exercise? Move away from the “no pain, no gain” idea and instead, try simpler things like standing more often rather than sitting, and moving your body in ways you enjoy as often as possible.
FIND DIRECTION, NOT PERFECTION
It’s not about reaching a state of perfection. Instead, think about what choices you can make each day for better health, and take one step after another in the right direction.
TEXT: SARAH MARINOS, BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU, ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ATIKA LIM/ PHOTOS: 123RF.COM, TPG NEWS