Is Overeating A Neurological Disorder?
As a neuroscientist, it’s clear that that excess weight causes serious mental health conditions. Poor concentration or high blood pressure, are linked to your diet. Even memory and energy can be improved simply by eating differently. The research shows that brain function and cognitive health is directly linked to food.
When coaching clients, I notice how obesity causes a ‘brain-fog’ reducing my client’s problem solving skills. So I am often asked: Is overeating a neurological disorder like drug or alcohol addiction?
The Research Shows That Overeating Is A Neurological Addiction
Dr Gearhardt’s research (Pubmed, 2011) shows how the brain can get addicted to food and why this is very similar to other kinds of addiction. Genetically we have a predisposition to overeat. This is because the brain is satisfied slower than the stomach. Two hormones are involved: Serotonin and Dopamine.
When you eat it feels good because your brain gives you a dopamine reward. The brain gives you more dopamine the more you eat. This is exactly the same neural pathway which is employed in drug and food addiction. Dopamine is responsive and immediate. Serotonin on the other hand is slower. It is responsible to make you feel satisfied. When we eat it takes 10 to 20 minutes for the brain to notice that the stomach has had enough. Eating mindfully gives the brain time to catch up to the neurons in the stomach and notice quicker that you have eaten enough. Fortunately there are simple behaviors that you can employ to help your brain notice quicker when your stomach is satisfied.
These are the 3 simple steps.
1. Eliminate distractions when you are eating, e.g. TV, playing on your phone
2. Paying attention to what you have put on your plate
3. Savor each bite and notice the flavors
You Can Be In Control
If you’re overweight you can actually do something about it without starving yourself to death. Our program ensures a personal eating plan that sustains physical and brain health. A vital part of our program is learning how to eat mindfully. This gets you to feel satisfied quicker, causing your appetite to be smaller. Eating mindfully is not often easy in our hectic routine but we can train our brain to get there.
Coaching Is About Behavior Change
Fortunately, there’s simple behaviors that will change the brain’s relationship to food. In my coaching program I partner with experts who can set a nutrition plan for you based on healthy brain foods. The nutrition plan is a complement to a behavior change plan.
My Gift For You:
I have a couple of spots open in my coaching calendar in April 2017.
And Remember – A Change Of Mind Changes Everything