Answer to weight control is right between the ears - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Answer to weight control is right between the ears

As anyone who's tried multiple diet plans will tell you, losing the pounds is easy compared to keeping them off. But why is that?

One renowned neuroscientist says the answer is right in front of our eyes. Or, more precisely, right between our ears.

"I always tell people that stapling their stomach is working on the wrong organ. It is your brain that pushes you away from the table, telling you that you've had enough. Or it is your brain that gives you permission to have the third bowl of ice cream," says Dr. Daniel Amen.

Dr. Amen has been scanning patients' brains at his Southern California clinic for two decades. What he's found is a clear link between chronic weight problems and unhealthy brains unable to conquer cravings. 

"A lot of people who are overweight won't eat breakfast because they think they're going to save the calories," says Dr. Amen. "But if you don't have a balanced blood sugar, when blood sugar levels go low, blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex goes low."

Now why is that a problem?

"Your pre-frontal cortex is involved with judgment, impulse control. So if you want to get your cravings under control, it is critical to eat good food three, four, five times a day. It's also important to sleep seven or eight hours. Less than seven hours, lower blood flow to the brain, more bad decisions, and more cravings," Dr. Amen explains.

Dr. Amen's third tip is to make sure your Vitamin D levels aren't low. The main source of Vitamin D is the sun.

"Now everyone's wearing sunscreen, so two-thirds of our country is low in vitamin D," says Dr. Amen. "The same number who are overweight or obese. And when vitamin D levels go low, the hormone leptin, which helps to turn off our appetite, doesn't work right."

And the final tip?

"A probiotic [that] you can either get from yogurt or you can get by just taking a natural probiotic every day. When the bacteria in your gut is healthy, it produces certain hormones that help you feel happier, but also help get your weight under control," adds Dr. Amen.

Make these four healthy brain habits part of your daily routine, and Dr. Amen says you'll naturally shed unwanted pounds. Even better, you'll be successful in keeping them off!

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