Let’s be honest here, how many of you have been on diets throughout your life? I ask because this industry is raking in billions with all kinds of tantalizing ways you can drop weight and drop it fast. But the reality is that very few who lose weight can actually keep it off long term.
As a physician, I talk about food all day long and my patients are always asking my opinion on all the different types of diets around. So I’ll tell you exactly what I tell them. Please don’t diet. I actually feel this word should not exist because it’s a prescription for failure. I want you to give up this mentality that you can drop a certain number of pounds in a short period of time; we all know this backfires and can lead to yo-yo dieting.
Joining me in this episode is a great lineup of experts who are ready to share the right mindset we all need to have when it comes to food. We’ll also discuss sugar addiction, the mind-gut connection, and mindful eating.
Julia Carol And Jenny Hazelton – Sugar And The Brain
Julia and Jenny are true health heroes. At one point they both weighed over 200 pounds and had tried numerous diets. Julia had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was pre-diabetic. Fearful of having a heart attack or stroke, she knew she needed a different mindset when it came to eating. For Jenny, life was very difficult. She was unhappy with her weight and consumed with thoughts of food. Her doctor suggested cholesterol medications and that spurred her on to make lifestyle changes.
Both of them tried everything, yet still ended up eating entire pizzas, eating in secret, and being obsessed with candy. Then they went to Bright Line Eating where Susan Peirce Thompson explained what sugar does to the brain. A light went on and they got on the right path for them. I bet many of you will be able to relate to their personal stories, especially when they talk about the role of willpower in dieting.
Dr. Nicole Avena – Sugar Addiction
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and an expert in the field of nutrition, diet, and addiction. She tells us that when it comes to sugar’s effect on our brain, there’s been a lot of research over the past several years that helps us understand it better.
It’s likely no surprise to hear that Americans are consuming way too much sugar. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that we eat between 6 and 8 teaspoons a day, but instead, we’re eating almost 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day! That’s a huge difference in numbers! So we really need to eat much less. Now there are many studies that have found when we overconsume sugar, it affects our brains in ways that resemble addiction. Dr. Avena tells us that it can cause changes in neurochemicals, like dopamine and the opioids in areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure and reward – just like what we see with drug addicts. She shares a startling image that shows how similar an obese brain is to a cocaine addict. And she tells me, “It’s not something that you can simply just wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna quit eating this today,’ just like an alcoholic can’t wake up always and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna stop drinking.'” Dr. Avena provides some great scientific information when it comes to food. She also talks about natural sugars vs added sugars, how to find out if you’re a sugar addict, and how your palate pleasantly changes when you kick sugar to the curb.
Sarah Morgan – Gut Bacteria And Weight
Sarah Morgan is a functional nutrition expert. She’s the author of Buddies in My Belly, a book that’s geared towards children to explain how bacteria plays an important role in our health.
We have about 100 trillion bacteria in our gut and Sarah talks about how having healthy bacteria can lead to a healthy weight. Two to four pounds of who we are when we step on the scale is the healthy bacteria that live in our digestive tract. And when we talk about weight, one of the things that she wants people to know is that, “the buddies are the secret weapon to weight loss”. So this is two to four pounds that you don’t want to lose because the good bacteria, the healthy bacteria, will actually help set our weight in our brain. Sarah says, “We can kinda vary our calories throughout the days and weeks and our weight doesn’t change that much if we have the good ones in our belly.” But, if we have the bad germs, they can regulate inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance. And if we don’t use our food as an energy source, it gets stored as fat and we have a really hard time losing weight. It becomes a vicious cycle that so many people find themselves in. Sarah has great advice when it comes to what foods to eat to feed your “buddies”, what types of foods you should fill your plate with, and how good and bad fats affect us.
Dr. Mitali Kapila – Long-Term Weight Loss And Weight Management
Restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies and yo-yo dieting. They can also wreak havoc on your metabolism and immune system. So what is the right mindset to have when it comes to weight loss? Dr. Mitali Kapila joins me to discuss this, she’s a functional medicine practitioner and registered dietician.
Dr. Kapila shares that a healthy mindset for weight loss is not just temporary weight loss. Diets have an end. And then what? You have to be realistic because so many of these diets are restrictive. And then it becomes all about self-deprivation which is not a way to live long term. Dr. Kapila says it’s important to look “deep into the root cause of what the issue really is so that it gives you long-term weight loss or weight management versus just a short-term goal”. And what can happen if your needs aren’t being met, is that you can turn to food to feel better. So is your root cause emotional, physical or something else? Dr. Kapila provides excellent examples of these and also talks about the impact of mindfulness and the importance of a peaceful positive environment.
Bethany Perry – Yoga And Weight Loss
Yoga can be an important part of weight loss. And Bethany Perry, a yoga instructor and an intuitive weight loss coach explains that yoga is a lot more than the asana or the poses.
Bethany shares how important it is to connect with the breath. She says, “When we start to connect to the breath, then a spiritual aspect comes into play, where we connect with who we are.” The “monkey mind” or our left brain begins to stop chattering. And when you connect to who you really are, who you’re meant to be, you can release emotions that get stuck in the body. She tells us, “They get stuck so we end up eating them and we shove them down and then it affects our intestines, it affects our brain, it affects everything. When we practice yoga…we’re creating this beautiful connecting and the body begins to release old things.” And when we release all of those emotions we feel freer. And the freer we are as a person, just to be who we are, we won’t need to choose foods that don’t really serve us. Bethany shares more about how emotions and little traumas can affect our body and how yoga ties into weight loss.
Marywell Bray – Mindfulness And Weight Loss
My last guest is Marywell Bray. She holds a masters degree in psychology, specializing in behavioral science. She’s also the author of six books, including the bestselling book, The Swiss Chocolate Diet.
Marywell shares that when it comes to diets, we’ve tried no carbs, we’ve tried no fat, we’ve tried counting calories, we’ve tried eating next to nothing, skipping breakfast, and skipping lunch. But she says, “I really feel that mindfulness has to be the number one issue before we even begin to start to lose weight.” Marywell believes that we should sit down, all alone, somewhere quiet. “And you take 15 minutes, 20 minutes and you sit there and say to yourself, ‘What is it that I really, really want? What do I really want?’ and you’ll get an answer if you wait.” And when you figure out how you want to feel, then you should do everything in your life to replicate that. That means not just what foods you eat, but how you move, the relationships that you have with your loved ones because if you have toxic relationships and no support, you struggle to be healthy.
I hope you this episode. If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please do so. I always love hearing from you.
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist, author and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. She’s also a pioneer in the field of food addiction. She received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology from Princeton University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. Her seminal research work jump-started a new field of exploration in medicine and nutrition.
Dr. Avena’s ground-breaking research on food addiction shows that the highly-palatable foods that we to love to eat can hijack our brains and lead to addictive-like eating. Diets are hard to stick to because our food environment makes it virtually impossible to eat healthy. Dr. Avena helps people use the science of addiction to better understand eating behaviors, and develop the skills and tools we need to break the cycle of overeating. Learn more at drnicoleavena.com
Sarah Morgan, The Gene Queen, is known for her innovative ideas that connect science to everyday life in a way that impacts thousands. Sarah has a clinical practice in Denver, Colorado, that focuses on using food and nutrients to optimize gene expression and help individuals with complex health issues.
Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She holds a Masters of Science in Functional Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. Sarah has worked in the health and nutrition field for the past 12 years helping individuals, communities and corporations achieve their health and wellness goals. Learn more at buddiesinmybelly.com
Mitali Kapila, MS, RD, CLT Registered Dietitian is founder/owner of Vitality Nutrition LLC. She believes wholesome and nourishing foods have the power to improve all the cells in the body to help you look healthy, feel strong and energized. Mitali specializes in providing dietary management of various conditions including, weight loss, cholesterol and triglyceride reduction, blood pressure management, diabetes, pre-diabetes, chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance.
As a Registered dietitian and Health Coach, her mission is to provide clients with nutrition education that will enable them to adopt and promote a healthy lifestyle. She received her Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Science and completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics to achieve RD registration. She has over 12 years of experience in research, clinical as well as the outpatient nutrition counseling. Learn more at mitalikapila.com
Bethany Perry, CAN, AAEC, IAHC, E-RYT is owner and founder of InnerSource Health & Wellness. Well known as an emerging thought leader on combining the power of neuroscience, nutrition, mindfulness & yoga. She transforms the lives of women and men utilizing these 4 Pillars to create whole life healing to her clients. Bethany has dedicated over 30 years of her life’s work to helping people discover freedom from emotional traumas of their past or present by creating a non-judgmental space where intentions can be made and plans created that allow lives to change and blossom. She specializes in weight loss, stress, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD ~ all with the commonality of an underlying cause of trauma.
Bethany is certified as a Neuroscience Life & Health Coach; Certified Daniel Amen Affiliated Educational Center; Member of the Academy of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine (A4M); Certified in Transformational Coaching based on NLP methodology; Certified Yoga Instructor teaching locally; works with TBI clients; studies with Father Joe Pereira from Goa, India to teach yoga for Addiction and PTSD. Bethany’s goal is to guide people through the many facets of life and to bring more depth and focus to the challenges we all can face. Drawing on her knowledge, she helps people to create a completely personalized “roadmap” to an Empowered Life that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. Learn more at bethanyperry.com.
Marywell holds a masters degree in psychology specializing in behavioral science. She’s the author of 6 books including the bestselling book “the swiss chocolate diet”.
Marywell is known as the Weight-Loss Life-Changer who has mentored more than 27,000 women and men to finally lose the weight they’ve been struggling to get rid of. Her passion is to give the most effective and transformative training offered by any health mentor. Years ago she herself struggled to lose weight and keep it off. She felt doomed to stay overweight forever. Then she discovered a few potent secrets that enabled her to lose 57 pounds in 180 days, without needing to starve herself on a restrictive diet. For 23+ years now, Marywell’s Transformation Program has inspired and empowered people to identify and get the body of their dreams. Learn more at marywell.com