Last night I saw Dr. Daniel Amen on PBS. This was my first experience of the good doctor and it lit me up. If you don’t know who he is, he writes and speaks about health and the brain. I was surprised to see how many books he has out. Really? A diet guru I have not heard about? A new diet plan I have not tried? To say the least, I was intrigued.
I justs spent over a month reading The Lean by Kathy Freston and following her simple plan. That book helped me cut sugar from my diet. I didn’t lose much weight, but I was able to fit back into my jeans and am happy to have control over my sugar addiction. Freston is also the writer who converted me to vegetarianism several years ago.
So why I am still 25 pounds overweight? Part of it is the amount of food I eat, and the times I “cheat” with horrible foods like potato chips, bagels, cheese & crackers. Part of it is, I am very sorry to say, wine. I don’t consume anywhere near the wine I used to, but Amen says to cut that almost completely out. My friends who successfully lose weight and keep it off do not drink alcohol.
Another reason I’m too big for my brain’s health is lack of exercise, which also causes blue moods, cranky moods, lack of energy, negative thinking. I blame a lot of my personal woes on lack of exercise. I’m so unmotivated in that area. I was not always this way. Until I started taking medication for migraine and insomnia, I always exercised. I liked it! I had a gym membership, I rode my bike, I took long walks. All my life before medication I was an active person.
I have to give myself credit. I eat clean. I juice kale every week. I do some yoga every day. I meditate every single day. Sometimes, like once every month, get on my treadmill or lift weights. I need to walk 4 times a week & lift twice a week. Plus keep the yoga. Which is no problem because I love yoga.
Weight around the middle, and the health problems it causes, is one of the top reasons for brain deterioration. Dr. Amen had lots of pictures. Before and after brains. He gave a checklist for people who can’t just run down and get a scan. If you have any of these red flags, like extra weight, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, chronic pain, or depression, chances are good that your brain is not in good health.
One thing he said that really got to me, he called it the #1 secret to better brain health: um. I can’t remember the word. That’s called brain fog. And Amen says memory loss as we age is not an inevitable state. But that word. It started with a C…contemplative? I think that’s it. People who are healthy and who overcome their brain-harming addictions are contemplative, that is, they think before they act, and when they act, they do so in a way that helps, not hurts, their brains.
I’ve been impulsive and impatient all my life. I like to hide from pain, any kind of pain, including hunger. I eat to stop bad feelings from bubbling up. I need to change. I need to become comtemplative when it comes to my body and my brain’s health.
I had just about given up on trying to lose my girth. I mean, really, no meat, no sugar, whole grains, and I’m still overweight? It’s hopeless. Nope. I eat the right things most of the time, I just eat too much of them. At my age, vanity is not the issue. The issue is being in good mental and physical health as I age so my husband does not have to take care of me.