Is your BRAIN stalling your weight loss?

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

It's true.

More than just your food choices affect your physical wellbeing.

{Watch the video below to hear all of this in real time. :D}

I can hear you- "Well, ya Robyn. We have to also make time for exercise, and have social connection/relationships to feel well.... right?"

You are correct.

But I have been coaching into the thousands of clients at this time.

And most of them are busy women, usually mothers or entrepreneurs, who often experience a stall in progress EVEN with regular exercise, healthy eating, and good social connection.

The hard part for me, is watching them become uber frustrated and want to give up on their goals when the stall in progress lags on for months at a time.

The stall in progress used to frustrate me as well! I didn't understand.

They were reporting their food choices to me, we were regularly meeting up to go over their progress in exercise routines, strength gains, and body inches to be sure changes were happening.

And yet their weight.... and their satisfaction with their food and daily life was wanting.

WHY?

I've read a lot about metabolism. I've read a LOT about food science. I've read a lot about insulin, diabetes, blood pressure, and how our intestines leech nutrition from our food and how our bodies convert food to energy. I have a degree in foods. So I feel very confident in my ability to assist others in their nutrition and pairing foods for great energy and health.


But until this past year I hadn't done a lot of reading or studying or class taking on the brain.


This past year as I went through a personal diagnoses of PTSD, mild depression and anxiety, and insomnia from the aforementioned, and realized I had beautifully stumbled upon some answers to my clients progress stalls.

As I worked through my own beginnings of accepting mental illness for myself, and understanding more and more (I picked my doc's brains as much as possible, and read books and watched documentaries, etc) I started to make a connection I had not processed before.

Our brains are an organ.

Just like a muscle. Just like the lungs. Just like our heart. etc.

And just like our muscles fatigue and need rest, or our lungs can become inflamed due to a respiratory virus and need medicine and rest, just like our heart needs to be worked and monitored for our life to more forward.... so does our BRAIN.

As I came to this realization, it hit me "Why have I not thought of this before?"

WHY?

Why isn't our brain given special programs and diets and regular medical checkups?

Why aren't there more books about brain matter health and how to keep our brains healthy?

And it dawned on me that MENTAL ILLNESS is still taboo to talk about. I realized that (myself included) people don't talk about our brains being sick. We feel that mental illness is scary. It is weakness, unstable, it is something to be ashamed of. Something that makes it hard to be friends with. Hard to marry. Hard to have a relationship with. You can tell me I'm wrong, but in my corner of the universe this is the truth. Whether my people like to admit it or not.


It's like our brains should be impervious to fatigue caused sickness. Its like we think our brains are some sort of non porous, immortal object that shouldn't need specific care- it doesn't change.

And I get it. It's our thinking house. Our brains govern everything we do, so thinking it might be vulnerable, is actually kind of nerve wracking. To think we can't trust our brains all the time causes alarm.

But guess what? It's the truth. And the sooner we can all realize this, the sooner we can all start to feel more peace, more joy and feel more light in our lives.

Our brains get sick. JUST LIKE our throat, our lungs, our gum tissue, etc. And we must answer with REST, sometimes medicine, exercise and good foods to heal it.

That's right.

You CAN heal your brain. In the past medical journals said that the brain didn't renew its cells. We now know that is false. The process is just different than other organs of the body. In the past we thought brain through patterns and patterns to send signals to body parts were definite. Now we know that are NOT. You CAN create new pathways and the old ones fade. Ever heard of someone healing themselves from cancer? Ever heard of a pronounced paraplegic who somehow learned to walk? They BELIEVED this, and acted on it. And you can too.


I am NOT a psychologist or MD. So I won't try to diagnose or prevent any disease. ;) But I will share what I've learned about how the brain affects weight loss and weight gain in just a few ways.


Through my own struggle with mental illness alongside my weight loss goals from this past year, I have discovered 3 things that stall weight loss for me. These three things have also continually proven TRUE for every single one of my clients who ALSO saw a "mystery stall" or "mystery weight gain" in their body. I think I'm on to something. ;)


The 3 things that stalled weight loss or created mystery weight gain are:

1. Lack of sleep. As adults, we need 7-9 hours of sleep/rest every 24 hours.

2. Lack of living in the PRESENT. Anxiety and depression are always buddies with this one.

3. Lack of awareness or acceptance of mental illness, or brain fatigue symptoms


As I learned more about how our brain ONLY detoxifies at night, during the deepest sleep, I realized that "foggy brain" and feeling distracted a lot (can be misdiagnosed as ADHD) are symptoms of our brains being "dirty." It's true! When I learned about this from a TED talk, it made SO much sense to me.

I learned that when we are regularly detoxifying our brain, through enough sleep, we have clarity of thought, focus better and don't feel fatigue as much. Adults who get 7+ hours of sleep at night are 60% less likely to be obese. I find it interesting that one of my daughter's nurses was telling me that she did her graduate studies on sleep and obesity trends, and she found that adults and even TEENS who had apnea or other insomnia issues who started on a CPAP machine lost weight.


This need to allow our brains REST goes hand in hand with Anxiety and Depression. When a person is feeling anxiety, they are thinking ahead all the time. They are feeling feelings (good, bad and ugly) of events that have NOT happened yet. They are living so far in the future, trying to decide what they would do in a varying number of scenarios, that their body and brain struggle to keep up with all those emotions and actions. This results in panic attacks, lack of feeling secure, severe distraction and a lack of feeling gratitude for the present. Remember, just THINKING about an event, causes our bodies to react. Our bodies are ALWAYS in the present. And our brains don't know the difference between now and then unless you TRAIN it to. So learning to stay in the present, will release a LOT of stress and body tension that is completely unnecessary. We'll talk about how I learned to do this more, in a bit.


I also learned that when we aren't well rested, our brain is designed to pick up on that and help us survive.


Our brain says, "oh! You didn't sleep enough. You are going to need energy from more food to help you get through this long day of being awake. I'll help you by suppressing your hormone LEPTIN, which causes you to feel FULL in your belly, and I'll increase your hormone GREHLIN which causes you to feel hungry. That way you will make it through the day!" Crazy right? But it's TRUE. Have you ever eaten, and just an hour later you feel unsatisfied, and even HUNGRY and you KNOW that you shouldn't be? I'd check your sleep quality if this happens OFTEN to you. I know it does for me when I'm sleep deprived. As much as I'm grateful my brain keeps me alive... this little tidbit isn't my favorite since I had LOTS of food at my fingertips.


So what do we do about this?

HOW do you train our brains and break these pathways?


First- you have to be aware that your brain is an organ, and that your inner self, your soul, your energy, whatever you decide to call it, is in control. And practicing this mindfulness over your body helps your brain gain health.


Next, I have 6 suggestions that have helped me, but there are a LOT more.

1. When I feel this tiredness hunger or anxiety, I have turned to TEAS instead of food. I have bought many teas over the year and have experimented with them to see which ones help me to feel satisfied and calm. I find that holding that warm mug, and concentrating on the flavor and willing myself to stay in that moment really does do the trick a LOT.

2. I find that meditation does amazing things for me. And it is proven to help ALL humans. It is a wonder to me, after experiencing such a dramatic change in my own brain health from this alone, that it isn't something we ALL do all the time! I simply use the CALM app, and do a meditation daily. Meditating helps you stay focused, not letting your mind wander, for as long as you want. But I suggest starting with 5 minutes and working your way up. I do 15 minutes a day right now. But science tells us that by meditating twice a day for just 20 minutes each, equals almost 8 hours of rest for your brain as it doesn't have to do anything during meditation. Pretty incredible! Another side note here--- every book I've read written by an extremely successful person whether financially or influence or leadership or all of them, is that they mention meditation. Worth noting.

3. Exercise and water. Exercise makes our brains stay in the mment as well. That is one of the reasons we feel euphoric after exercise. Our brain is SO happy that it didn't have to think into the future or do anything complicated. :) We also increase our oxygen during exercise. The bran was in the present, connected with the body, and getting good air for the entire 30-60 minutes. And the water? Well, water helps allllll the blood flow to the brain, the brain matter and cell creation and helps the entire body get rid of toxins. ALWAYS drink water. Half your body weight in ounces a day up to 120 ounces.

4. Increase your sleep. :) If you can't sleep more, meditate more. If you can't do that, then at least lay down on your bed and close your eyes and breath deeply more.

5. Reading books or taking baths. Reading a book takes your mind off of your daily stressors. And I'm talking fiction, not non fiction business, religious study, or personal development. Those should be part of your regular work day. I'm talking about your own mind taking you on adventures through books. Or just taking a bath. A hot bath that envelops your body in warmth! Add a bath bomb to increase your sensory experience and just breathe deeply. Maybe listen to a good audio book in process.

6. Doing service for others to gain gratitude. This is a HUGE one that works ALL the time. When we are bogged down with our own worries, and we can't get out of our head space to sleep or meditate we need to gain perspective. And doing service in your neighborhood or community or at work or at home helps us turn outward and realize others have worries too and gratitude creeps into our minds. Gratitude is the balm to calm your mind. Gratitude is an amazing brain path to start cultivating. Start now!


At the end of the day, learning to get more sleep, calm your mind and live more in the present, as well as gaining that awareness of the health of your brain and if you are helping or hindering will help your brain. Your brain is what tells the body it can release weight. Your brain is what signals hormone release and the ability to do all things. Keeping your brain rested, will help your weight loss to resume or start the best!


When I finally gained the awareness of my own brain sickness, I found supplements to help, I rested more, and I stopped doing hour long workouts.

I started ONLY doing yoga/pilates, 5-6 days a week. I started using teas daily. I started meditating a few weeks after that. I started only following my mindful eating guides, and NO portion control or food prep that I felt was a trigger for anxiety.


Within 3 months I lost almost 12 lbs, after 18 months of bouncing between the same 3-4 lbs.


I have since lost even more, using the same practices. I have a wonderful chiropractic physician who understands the brain well and has been my go-to when I feel something is off, even though I'm getting enough rest and has helped me find other supplements and teas and given me ideas to keep progressing.

If this resonates, I invite you to learn more about the mindful eating course I teach as a certified mentor of Dietician, Ilana Multein's Program, 2bMindset.

I have an ongoing support group with steps to get started, so you can simply enroll using one of the links below that sounds most like you, and I'll be notified and will email you and we'll make a plan for your progress from there! No other costs.


A. I would LOVE for you to coach me through the mindful eating course and use supplements but I don't need any exercise or recipe resources!


or


B. I NEED something simple like an online gym for the yoga along with new recipes and I'd LOVE to be part of your group and go through the mindful eating course.


See you soon!

xo Robyn






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