Before you can lose weight and keep it off, you must understand what is making you fat. But don’t beat yourself up so fast! It is not a lack of self discipline. What many people fail to realize is that we are electrical beings, and the source of the problem is a dysregulation of the electrical force that keeps us alive. Four primary chemicals (neurotransmitters) govern the way the brain processes this force. If it is not transmitted throughout the brain and body with the right power, speed, rhythm, and synchrony, your brain will compensate by slowing your metabolism and creating cravings in order to “resolve” these issues.
In response you may become addicted to certain foods and behaviors in a desperate attempt to self-medicate and re-regulate your brain. A neurotransmitter imbalance can impact all areas of your health. Any physical condition, disease, or symptom is associated with the brain, either from an original imbalance that created physical manifestations, or physical events that affect your neurotransmitter balance. When any system of your body functions sub-optimally – whether you are suffering from something as minor as fatigue, insomnia, or allergies, or something major like heart disease, depression, or diabetes – your brain chemistry is somehow compromised, which in turn affects your metabolism. Not only does it limit your effectiveness in losing weight and keeping the weight from returning, it is literally aging you prematurely. In fact, obesity is the number one age accelerator. Generally, hormones and neurotransmitters decline with age, and there are similar trends in obesity, which is why obesity accelerates aging. Real treatment of obesity is therefore an anti-aging therapy.
The key to becoming a younger, thinner you is being able to understand your brain chemistry (your unique “Brain Print”) and how it is affecting your weight and your overall health. Then you can learn how to work with your Brain Print by eating healthy, delicious foods that contain the precursors to the neurotransmitters and other factors that will enhance your brain’s metabolism. Recent research shows that you can even grow new brain cells (through a process called neurogenesis), and some foods and natural hormones facilitate this process. We can actually reverse aging by following a protocol that augments brain chemistry.
This innovative diet book is based on broad-ranging research and shows readers how to choose the best nutrient-dense foods, including the right combinations of teas and spices, to meet the needs that accompany their specific brain chemistries. They can develop a specialized diet plan to vitalize metabolism and lose weight, while retraining the brain for optimum efficiency – literally reversing aging of the brain and body to look and feel younger.
So, what are the four main neurotransmitters, and how can they affect your weight? They are: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin, and each has a specific role in regulating the brain’s electrochemical system. Each one can be influenced by lifestyle factors, nutrition, hormones and drugs. Each is associated with specific food cravings when they are out of balance.
Dopamine creates the power with which electricity is transferred throughout the brain and the body. On an electroencephalograph (EEG), dopamine correlates with the amplitude of an evoked potential, which is measured in volts. Without enough brain power, you will feel sluggish, and turn to carbohydrates and caffeine for an extra energy boost. Worse, you will not have the energy to exercise. Eating the right, nutritious foods to facilitate dopamine production will give you more energy, and help you break your carb addiction once and for all.
Acetylcholine enhances the speed of the brain’s electrical system by acting as a lubricant for smoother conductance, and also as a part of the myelin that covers brain cells to assist in faster conductance. Without the right brain speed, your creativity as well as you memory and attention can be compromised. Your body will automatically crave more fats, which are indirectly involved in the synthesis of acetylcholine. Choosing the rights fats, amino acids, and choline-rich foods can help you fight unhealthy cravings and lose weight.
GABA controls the rhythm by which the brain transmits electricity. If it is transferred in a smooth, even flow, it will create a consistent pace, both mentally and physically. Without the right rhythm, you will lose your sense of stability, and turn to foods to calm yourself. A GABA imbalance is linked to anxiety and both binge eating disorder and anorexia nervosa.
Serotonin helps your brain “re-synchronize.” It enhances the communication between your brain’s right and left hemispheres and keeps your mood in balance – helping the inner right-brained romantic and left-brained logician live in harmony. A serotonin deficiency is linked to depression, insomnia, and anxiety. When this occurs, you might turn to sugary foods to lift you out of a blue mood.
Many people have incredible anxiety about their weight. Anxiety is related to GABA and serotonin, and when I can balance these neurotransmitters (through foods, teas, spices, and nutrients, and sometimes medications or bioidentical hormones) before I address their other deficiencies, I often see that these patients get the best results.
Since they key to weight loss is in your brain, you might wonder if it is possible to “think yourself thin” – or fat. You cannot think yourself thin or fat (although a positive attitude and a lot of self affirmation are very important for successfully losing weight), but your personality may help you determine which of the brain chemicals might be imbalanced. Different temperaments correspond to different dominant neurotransmitters. By working with your brain chemistry, you will find that certain personality flaws may also diminish.
The take home lesson is that when you look in the mirror and see a person who needs to lose weight, the next step is not another fad diet, starving yourself, abusing drugs, exercising to exhaustion, or giving up. There is a reason your metabolism is slow, or that you crave certain foods. That reason is in your brain. When you realize this, you will begin an exciting journey of self-discovery. When you learn how to work with your brain, you will reward yourself with delicious and healthy foods that your body really wants and needs, you will drop your extra baggage, and your body and mind will finally be in harmony to create a new quality of life that you had only dreamed about. This book will help you do that.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.