Hi from Sophie
If you are struggling to lose weight, there's no shortage of diet and exercise advice out there.
Whether it's high carb, low fat, or calorie counting, research studies show that most people who go on a 'diet' will end up putting most of the weight back on.
But what if your focus shifted from what you eat, to how and why you are eating?
That's the philosophy behind Dr Helena Popovic's book 'Neuroslimming."
She takes a new approach which I really like.
It uses the power of your brain and mind to reframe your thinking about food.
We met up for lunch recently to talk about her ideas.
"First of all, you have to convince people it is possible to change their mindset and food preferences," she said.
Her philosophy that 'we are not what we eat' aims to take the guilt and shame out of food.
"There are no intrinsically good or bad foods," she said.
If you eat mindfully and guilt free, nothing is off limits.
"It simply doesn't work to ban foods and food groups as you will end up craving it," Helena says.
What works is mindful eating.
For example If you want to have chocolate, pick a small serving of the best dark chocolate and savour it
And when it comes to your diet, instead of thinking what you will miss out on, think 'what can I add in to my diet to make me feel better and healthier."
It's a novel concept to get your head around.
But by reframing your thinking, you can take overcome your own set beliefs and self image.
Like me, Helena has always been interested in food and psychology.
And she has her own story.
"My experience was binge eating and over exercising, so when people talk about craving certain foods, I can understand where they are coming from," Helena says.
It came to a head when she was helping her best friend, whose husband was dying from a brain tumour.
"When he died, it was at that point I thought why am I treating my body and my health this way," she says.
"And I resolved there and then to change my mindset. That was the tipping point."
She says she was able to overcome destructive behaviours towards food and exercise but wanted to work out how she had overcome it.
And that's where the brain and neuroscience comes in.
The brain plays a crucial role in the kind of foods we crave.
In particular, processed foods like cheesecake have a combination of sugar snd fat in equal amounts.
"Manufacturers know this, that the brain is affected and sends out dopamine so that we want more and more," she says.
And importantly, there is no real food that contains addictive formulations of sugar and fat.
There are a few key practices to using your brain to change your body.
* Think values not virtues. No food is intrinsically good or bad. The key is making time for what's important, eating healthily, exercise.
* Ask yourself "why". Why do you want to feel better, have more energy, be the best version of yourself.
* Accept yourself .. Many people struggle to like let alone love their body.
Gratitude and appreciation are the first steps to love.
* Focus on the positive. What we focus on is where we will end up.
How can you focus on nourishing your body each day?
Helena uses a quote which I really like, from Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp.
In his book, "Man's search for meaning" he wrote: "Everything can be taken away from man but one thing. The last of the human freedoms.. To choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances."
Whether your goal is to lose weight, become happier or healthier, you can harness the power of your brain and mind to change your attitude.
To read more about Helena, click here: http://www.winningatslimming.com/about-dr-helena/
For more of my thoughts on happiness and brain function, click here: http://www.sophiescott.com.au/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
How can changing your mindset make you happy and healthier?
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