Could a “mindfulness” approach be the key to weight loss?
New research tests the effectiveness of a weight-loss therapy that focuses on personal values and “mindful” decision-making
Read the full article at: www.cbsnews.com
How To Rewire Your Brain
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is psychology-speak for rewiring your brain using two tools that you can control: your thoughts (cognitions), and your behaviors. It sounds deceptively simple but it actually does work, and anyone can learn to start applying these rewiring skills easily and quickly.
Neuroscience & Psychology
This study of CBT for weight loss is long overdue and I am relieved and encouraged to see that science is finally beginning to address the neuroscientific and psychological aspects of weight loss.
The Problem With Scientific Studies
There are three big problems with most scientific studies of weight loss:
- They presume a simple mathematical model of calories in minus calories out
- They focus on a single behavioral modification (e.g. calorie restriction, exercise)
- They ignore the effects of calorie restriction, macronutrient ratios, and different types of exercise on metabolism in the long term.
If weight loss were all biochemistry and math, anybody could easily do it. For example, if hunger were a simple matter of blood sugar and leptin and ghrelin levels, there would already be a successful weight loss pill. Clearly there are many more factors involved.
How To Change Thoughts and Behaviors
Participants in this study group were taught to change their thinking and behavior regarding their overall goals and food. Here’s how you can put this strategy to work for you.
Instead of setting a “results-based” goal, like losing 30 pounds, set an “identity-based” goal such as “I want to be the type of person who exercises every morning and says NO to the donuts in the break room, just for today.”
Just For Today
The change in thinking is that instead of the difficult, daunting long-term goal of losing 30 pounds, you just have one small hurdle – get out of bed and do something physical today, then say no to those donuts.
Saying NO to Donuts
Changing your behavior in the coffee room involves a simple but effective intervention: you have to want something else more. Try preparing a batch of healthy donuts with almond flour and bringing them to work. This is what psychologists call an “implementation intention” – you are deciding in advance that when you crave a donut you will eat something healthier instead. This behavioral change has the added benefit of also changing your beliefs about yourself: now you are becoming the person you want to be – the one who prepares and eats healthy alternatives to the junk food you are offered.
Rewiring Your Brain
These habit changes also have a cascading effect, they build on and reinforce each other. Try it for just one day, then another, and then another… you will be amazed at how quickly you can rewire your brain.