Archives for health

Sadness, Sugar and Serotonin

Have you come across the idea that carbohydrates such as sugar and grains cheer you up because they cause serotonin to be released in your brain? Eating those sugars seems to lift our mood, and that leads so many of us to overeat those foods, especially when we feel low. As serotonin is thought to create our sense of happiness, it’s often suggested that if you keep your serotonin levels boosted you won't feel as tempted to eat so much.
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Good Night

A catchier title would be LOSE WEIGHT WHILE YOU SLEEP, but you know that’s not my style. The point is that the sleep you get on a regular basis has a very real impact on your health and your weight, so it could be worth paying some attention, to the quality as well as the quantity.
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Gut Bugs Rule!

Antibiotic use hits the headlines these days about as often as a badly behaved celebrity. Nobody is suggesting they should be discarded entirely, but the case against overuse is persisting. However, it tends to come down to the concern about creating ‘world-wide antibiotic resistance’. And I’m wondering if that really is the most helpful way of thinking about the problem.
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Ancient Brain in a Modern World

One thing I hear often, and am always a little surprised by, is that my clients think they’re the only ones who struggle so much with food. Are you one of those who see your overeating as a personal shortcoming, a private torment, unique to you? Surely it's self-evident that the overwhelming majority of the so-called developed world is overeating, given the problem of weight in our culture and the massive (pun intended!) dieting industry.
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Ain’t Necessarily So

You may already be on board with the idea that the way to change your behaviour with food is to change the way you think about food. This means challenging beliefs you hold, perhaps long-held assumptions you’ve never been called upon to question, and perhaps not even fully recognise. Your own pattern of beliefs will be unique to you, and some could evaporate quite effortlessly. The most entrenched attitudes, though, tend to be those held by the entire culture. This is the sort of concept that ‘everybody knows’, which makes it tough to question.
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On Being Impulsive

Impulsiveness - action without thought - must surely be a part of our lives to some extent. It would be tough and even undesirable to ponder over our every action. Being impulsive may even be a delightful quality, for example, if you impulsively kiss your child or hug a friend. Being impulsive is part of living life to the full, unselfconsciously engaged with life and humanity. Who wouldn't want some of that?
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Form Follows Function

From time to time I get reminded that I’m in the weight loss industry, and often it's a bit of a shock! Weight loss is not what fires up the passion in my heart, either on a professional or personal level, and I suspect I’m far from alone in choosing a career path only to discover it’s different from what had initially been imagined.
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Creating Desire

In my last blog I wrote that we live with a continuous, largely automatic and unconscious, two-way communication, in that our bodies have an effect on our minds and our minds have an effect on our bodies. The ‘White Coat Effect’ is a well-known example, where concern about having blood pressure checked by a doctor actually causes a rise in blood pressure. This happens so automatically it can be tough, if not impossible, to know what is creating any particular problem we may encounter.
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Desire, Craving and Preference

Whenever you eat any food you don’t really need, what you’ve done is to satisfy your addictive desire to eat. No blame intended here; it’s just that when we name it we can make progress. As you may know from my books, taking control of overeating is the process of releasing and healing this desire for excess food. To some extent, it’s likely you’ll always satisfy some addictive desire. But if you can satisfy it less often (maybe a lot less often), that would deliver the results you want. Assuming, of course, it lasts long term.
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Elvis Was Doomed To Die Young

So claimed a newspaper article about a documentary on the DNA of dead celebrities. Don’t tell me you missed it! Elvis, it seems, had “a flaw in his DNA and his early death was his genetic destiny.” This is at least misleading, if not simply untrue. Elvis’ genes were not his destiny – and neither are yours - but it seems the only message we ever hear is that our genes are in charge of practically everything. Just a couple of days later the same paper tells us, “’Atkins gene’ reveals why obesity can run in family”. And so it continues.
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