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Mind Not Found is an educational network that seeks to inspire out of the box thinking, open mindedness and act as a catalyst for people to discover the limitless potential that exists inside us all.

Our focus is on people that inspire and motivate others to express their own truth, create their own happiness, and seek their own enlightenment.

lundi 16 septembre 2019

How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?
How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

As part of Dr. Daniel Amen’s series on “Change Your Brain…”, his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body is particularly fascinating in exploring the connection of mind and matter, i.e., how one’s mental health can affect one’s physical health.  Dr. Amen is well known for his clinics that focus on using SPECT scans to determine physiological functioning of the brain and how the activity (or lack thereof) in certain anatomic subregions of the brain can be signs of function and disease in the brain.  After reading this book, I am convinced that SPECT scans can serve as an invaluable source of information for a skilled and knowledgeable practitioner who knows how to use and interpret them.

He starts with the premise that we cannot change our body without first changing our mind.  If we want to lose weight, it does not begin with our body but with how we perceive our body, how we desire that weight loss and what we do to be committed to those changes.  If we adopt a fad diet for a week then decide to stop, it is not the fad diet’s fault it is our brain’s fault that caused us to attempt a fad diet and then subsequently to abandon it.

By losing 35 pounds over the past 2 years, I did so not by using fad diets but by realigning my relationship to food.  In the past, I enjoyed eating processed food quickly and mindlessly and also in having guilty pleasure in eating fatty foods. I also liked stuffing myself with food.  Until I changed my brain in a fundamental way not to like eating that stuff and not wanting to eat until I was gorged like a pig, I could not lose weight and keep it off.  

Mind Not Found : How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?
Mind Not Found : How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

I find that people who want to lose weight are using food as a crutch (as much as I did) and cycling their energy around this activity in a love-hate relationship.  Until we end the brain struggle, we cannot end the physical one. Now let's see how does your mind affect your body ?
  • How does mental health affect your physical health?

Similarly, as I started to enjoy eating healthier and working out regularly, I started to change my perception of my own body and my relationship to it.  I started to enjoy my new body and enjoy my healthy lifestyle.  When I was in Belgium a week ago, I ate fries, chocolate, and waffles but I could “cheat” because I knew that they were part of my enjoyment for the time that I was in a country famed for those foods but I actually started to crave my morning concoction of raw vegetables and other healthy comestibles.

Another fascinating part of the book centered on how the lack of sleep can actually cause us to gain weight.  He argues that as adults over the age of twenty we need at least 7 hours of sleep for our body to function well. 

Those who say that they can get by with 4 to 5 hours are doing a disservice to their body functioning since almost all of us require at least 7 hours no matter what we tell our bodies to the contrary.  When we have a lack of sleep our body starts to create an imbalance of leptin to grelin.  Grelin is what makes us hungry and leptin makes us full.  

Our grelin hormones (what Amen calls gremlins) surge making our bodies not only hungrier but hungrier for sugary, fried foods; and our leptins fall making us not as full when we eat.  When we get our beauty rest we not only get beauty because we feel more rested but our eating habits can improve because of it too.

The other fascinating topic that this book discusses is how other people in our lives influence our eating habits, which Amen cites an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Amen, a Lebanese, recalls his confectioner heritage when his grandfather would tempt him with sugary snacks and how his family would encourage him to eat more because he was too thin.  He argues the single most common reason for obesity is living with someone who is obese.  That person reinforces bad habits and also encourages bad habits out of guilt for their own lack of will power or desire for gluttony.  

Mind Not Found : How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?
Mind Not Found : How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

I just got back from Europe and I do not believe I saw one obese person except for the vacationing Americans.  In France and in Spain when someone gains 5 pounds they do not allow themselves to move to 10 to 15 pounds but start to vigorously move downward back to their ideal.  It is simply not in their culture to be overweight.  It is in ours.

Sometimes when our body is out of our desired ideal it may not be our fault entirely.  Dr. Amen talks about how his wife was hyper aggressive, agitated, and well, masculine.  He consulted a gynecologist who suspected polycystic ovarian syndrome and found out that his wife’s condition was caused by hormonal imbalance.  By treating her effectively with medicine, she changed.  

If we have a hard time changing our brain perhaps there is a functional brain problem that is causing us not to want to change or to be comfortable with our body at an unacceptably unhealthy state.  

That is where SPECT scanning and/or counseling with a professional may be of value but lies beyond my knowledge basis.  Sometimes it is a question of the chicken or the egg:  we may have a desire to eat badly and therefore we gain weight.  

Alternatively, a bad diet causes us not to stay full, to be more tired, and to be frankly addicted to more bad diet that causes us to eat more bad food.  Amen talks about proper supplements that can help balance the brain and the body. For me daily vitamin D and fish oil are integral to my overall balance of my mind and body.

This book is so rich in content and advice about how the mind affect your body  that I cannot hope to cover all the details.  I hope that these salient points that I derived from this book for my own personal gain is helpful for anyone out there interested in changing their body by a new method advocated as changing one’s brain first.

How Does Your Mind Affect Your body ?

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