How to Overcome Emotional Eating (part 2
Welcome to part 2 of How to Overcome Emotional Eating. You are either very curious by nature and felt compelled to read each of the segments in this 3 part series, or you need a little more assistance to overcome emotional eating. Part 1 in the series discussed why emotional eating happens and gave three strategies to get you started. Here we will talk about flexing the power of your “Thinking Brain” over your “Emotional Brain” and the positive boost supplementation may have on this process.
In the spirit of full disclosure, there is a third portion of the brain we need to bring into this discussion to fully understand the challenges your Thinking Brain must overcome to help you beat Emotional Eating.
The “Primitive Brain” is the oldest and most domineering part of the brain. Located in the brain stem, the Primitive Brain’s job is survival; after all, it controls heart rate and breathing. It controls you. You may be thinking, “there is no way an old part of my brain is more powerful than “me.” By the way, the concept of “me” exists in your “Thinking Brain,” located in your frontal lobe. Okay, lets put this to the test. If you were given a choice of having a million dollars or taking your next breath, it wouldn’t matter if “You” chose the million dollars, you will, without thinking, take your next breath.
This illustrates the influence of each area of your brain. From most to least influential-Primitive Brain, Emotional Brain then Thinking Brain. Your actions and reactions are driven by the needs of each of these brain areas.
The Primitive Brain is wired instinctually for immediate protection from the environment and keeping you alive. The “Emotional Brain” dictates how we interact with others and responds to our desire for social acceptance. The newest part of the brain, the Thinking Brain is keeping you involved in the thought process of reading this blog and figuring out how its concepts apply to your life. Your Thinking Brain can influence both the Emotional and Primitive Brain, but it takes understanding and training. Let me illustrate. I said before if I gave you a choice between a million dollars and your next breath, regardless of what you think or feel, your primitive brain would kick in and force you to take that breath. But if I changed the scenario a little and had the million dollars at the end of a 100-yard pool and you had to swim underwater to get to it, your thinking brain might have a chance to override the Primitive Brain and get both the bucks and breath.
I am often asked, and would imagine most doctors are asked, “What can I take to help?” My answer is always the same. The two biggest influences on your mental function are the foods you eat and how frequently you move your body. If these are not addressed, no number of supplements will have any lasting effect. So, assuming you are eating well and regularly moving or exercising, there are supplements that have been shown to be quite beneficial when dealing with Emotional Overeating.
1) Adaptogens: Adaptogens are a category of supplements that have the unique characteristic of “smoothing a stress response”. Adaptogens will support either an exaggerated or insufficient stress response. The word Adaptogen means creating an ability to adapt. The adaptogens I recommend are Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Ginseng.
2) 5-HTTP: Serotonin is the chemical produced in your brain that makes you feel happy. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. That means the body uses 5-HTP to make serotonin. The most researched and safest way to raise serotonin is by taking a supplement called 5-HTP. Other effects besides making you feel happy are a positive effect on sleep, mood, and anxiety.
MCT OIL or Healthy Bran Fat: The third recommended category of supplements is those that increase healthy fat to the brain; after all your brain is composed of 60% fat. Fat is vital for nerves to fire; therefore, your thoughts and emotions need healthy fats. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), particularly from coconut oil, is very beneficial for the brain and body. Use caution when purchasing MCT Oil. It should only be derived from coconuts and, although Lauric Acid has other benefits, improving brain health isn’t among them.
Do the recommendation in these first two post and you will be prepared for next week's part 3 of “How to Overcome Emotional Eating”.