Archive for the ‘mental fitness articles’ Category

The two questions to ask before you indulge.

The two questions to ask before you indulge.

Food is both a comfort and a pleasure and to live a life that denies the ability to use food for those means is called a diet and it’s something that ultimately you’re likely to quit.

Dietary indulgences are a luxurious part of life and given we’re all effectively the best hunters this planet has ever seen, they’re easily obtainable and we can “catch” them anywhere.

While of course there’s no such thing as the eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as much as you want weight management plan, blindly cutting out the less healthy (but often yummy) stuff may well over time lead you to abandon your entire weight management strategy.

So the next time you’re considering an indulgence rather than blindly saying, “I’m not allowed”, or, “Whatever, tonight’s a write-off”, here are the two questions you might try to ask yourself:

1. Is it worth the calories?

To answer the question certainly knowing the calories is important. The fact is, some indulgences simply aren’t worth their calories and asking the question you’ll eliminate a fair percentage.

2. How much of it do I need to be happy?

By asking this question you’re avoiding the “write-off” situation where you throw caution to the wind, pay no attention, eat as much as your body wants, and then wind up feeling guilty about the amount you consumed.

A followup to this question is that if you’ve finished the amount you thought you needed to be happy and you’re still not, simply ask the question again and again until such time as you’re content.

Remember, there are many variables that go into these decisions and some days are worth more calories than others – birthdays, holidays, vacations to name just a few, so the answers to these questions vary day by day.

Ultimately life includes indulgences, and rather than try to blindly restrict them why not work on their thoughtful reduction.

Choose with your brain, not with your body.

By Yoni Freedhoff at Weighty Matters

Need help with your emotional eating, I can help.  Contact me at wendy@fitfoodcoach.com

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A simple, balance approach…

A Simple, Balanced Appproach to Your Diet

We are constantly bombarded with messages about healthy eating, dieting and keeping fit. Scares about food appear in the media continually: salmonella, BSE, dioxins, E. coli, GM food, cholesterol, saturated fat, MSG, … the list goes on.

We are endlessly compelled to listen to what is healthy and unhealthy, and it seems that the advice is constantly changing. The dietary advice offered by doctors a few decades ago would probably be seen as (quite literally) a recipe for disaster today, and perhaps today’s advice will fare no better with the passage of time.

We have, perhaps, gone too far. It seems to me that we are taking ‘healthy living’ all a bit too seriously. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t take care of our health, but to worry about it excessively, to spend too much of our time thinking about it and to make ourselves miserable in the process is just as unhealthy as not taking any trouble to look after ourselves.

Let’s face it – a lot of people are making big money out of publishing books about health, promoting diets, selling ‘healthy’ foods (low fat, low sugar, low sodium, added omega-3, fortified with vitamins and iron, etc. etc.) Nothing wrong with making money, of course, but it does seem to be a bit of a bandwagon and we’re all too ready to jump right on.

So what are we to do?

Stop trying to make sense of all the information that is coming your way
If you are trying to make sense of everything the media is telling you about health, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time which, frankly, could be better spent. The (so called) experts can’t seem to agree on a lot of things, and some of the science is so mysterious and opaque that most people cannot hope to decode it and use it sensibly. I have a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University and, while this does not make me an expert, it does give me a fighting chance of trying to understand the science. But to be honest, I can’t understand much of it. So I see little point in spending my time trying to figure out in any detailed way what’s best for me.

Instead, I just try to live by some general rules of thumb which I suspect will make more of a difference in the long run than embracing the latest fad or getting overly worried about the latest scare.

Eat a balanced diet, containing a range of foods.
You don’t need to ‘diet’ (in the sense of keeping to a very strict eating regime). Diets require effort and anything that involves maintaining effort is usually going to fizzle out after the first flush of enthusiasm. This, of course, is why diets usually fail. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the cookies, the chocolate bars, the ice cream and the Coke. And who is to say which diet is best? There are so many, all claiming to be backed up by science, that just choosing one could lead you to have a minor nervous breakdown.

So forget about it, and instead just try to eat a variety of things. Try to eat fruit and vegetables every day. A salad for lunch (or with your lunch) is a good choice. A diet rich in Mediterranean foods is easy to achieve and contains a range of healthy and delicious foods.

What you might try to do is put your diet on autopilot. One good idea is to have a food planner – decide in advance what you’re going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner on each day of the week, and stick to it. This way, you know you’re getting variety. And do build in some treats – I’m sure the odd chocolate bar and ice cream isn’t going to kill you.

Eat less
It seems to me that we eat too much. The portions that restaurants offer are usually are too big, but we just get used to them. But I will not overeat – when I am just full, I stop. Take less food, don’t go back for seconds, cook half the amount you usually would. If you get used to eating like this, you could save money too.

Incidentally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with snacking – just don’t snack on chocolate bars and chips all the time – what about nuts or dried fruit – sultanas, dates, figs?

The same sort of concept applies to other things – drink less, smoke less. I know it’s not politically correct to say it, but I’m sure that the odd cigarette won’t kill you, so long as it really is just the odd one. The same goes for drinking – it can be dangerous and terribly unhealthy, but moderate drinking won’t do you much harm, and might even help you.

Don’t skip breakfast.
For me, breakfast is the most difficult meal of the day. I have to get up early to go to work, so the thought of getting up even earlier to make breakfast does not appeal to me at all. Even so, breakfast is really important – when you get up, you haven’t eaten for maybe 12 hours, so if you don’t eat something, your body will start to ‘think’ that food is getting scarce and that it needs to conserve energy. This will lower your metabolic rate and decrease the number of calories you burn.

So with the importance of breakfast in mind, I make my life a bit easier by having a simple breakfast, usually made up of ‘the four Bs’ – bananas, broccoli (or any green, leafy vegetable), bean sprouts and berries (or any other fruit). I just throw them in the blender and in a few minutes I have a rather filling and very nutritious drink. I find that after drinking this, I feel full all morning and often don’t feel like eating lunch until 1 or 2pm (and for me, breakfast is at 6.30am). Give it a try!

Relax, stop taking it all so seriously
Finally, try to keep in mind that food isn’t that important. There are much more important things in life, so keep food and diet in perspective. If you worry about food, then you are making yourself feel bad, and your quality of life has fallen. Why do this to yourself? In the end, life is complex and unpredictable. We’ve all heard about health fanatics and marathon runners who drop dead in middle age, and guys who drink, smoke and party into advanced old age.

A healthy diet does stack the odds is your favor, but there is a lot more going on which simply cannot be taken into account. So try to be sensible, be moderate and stop taking life so seriously.

Written on 6/06/2010 by Mark Harrison. Mark Harrison writes about personal growth, communication, and increasing personal wealth. Check out his new book, Thirty Days to Change Your Life.

10 Simple Changes to Your Day

10 Simple Changes to Your Day

Sometimes changing your life can be really simple, as simple as taking baby steps to better health through small lifestyle changes that you can implement as you go……

Success comes from taking the initiative and following up… persisting… eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life? — Tony Robbins

1. Ditch the White Stuff — White sugar, White bread and processed foods in general can be detrimental to your health. The first step in a path to health is to ditch white sugar and refined grains. Don’t ditch the white vegetables though, things like potatoes and turnips are full of goodness….

2. Move EverydayLive like escalators don’t exist. Move as much as you can even if you have a sedentary job. Take walks and stretch or get off the bus one stop early. That extra movement will not only improve your health but make you feel better. After dropping processed food this is definitely the next best thing to implement.

3. Balance your 3 main meals — If you can balance your 3 main meals everyday, as in Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner they will keep you full and your blood sugar stable for hours to come allowing you to avoid the blood sugar highs and lows associated with eating unbalanced snacks and meals. Simply try to include some Protein, Good Carbs and Fat in each of you main meals.

4. Buy the right stuff Organic — Check out the dirty dozen, a list of 12 fruits and vegetables you should always buy Organic if you can. This will reduce your toxin intake and leave you feeling fresher and more energetic as your body doesn’t need to detox from all the pesticides.

5. Stop using Chemicals — This mainly applies to body products we all use daily, from shampoo to hand and body wash. These things are simply not worth using when you can avoid them, it will leave your skin softer and less dry. Try and pick up some natural toothpaste and body wash on your next shop……

6. Practice Gratitude — By simply taking the time each day to write down or think about what we can be thankful for can have a profound effect on our mood and wellbeing. I like to jot down 5 things each day that I am glad happened, this takes no longer than a few minutes but has a huge impact on the way I feel.

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

7. Relax and Slow Down- With everything you do, this includes eating and living in general. Pay attention to what you are doing whether it be eating, walking or cleaning. You will not only enjoy the activities more but develop a habit of mindfulness.

8. Cook the next meal yourself- It is sometimes too easy to eat out or order some takeaway after a busy day or even at the start of the day with a healthy breakfast.  Not only will you save money but you will avoid many of the nasty oils that restaurants use when cooking food. Anyone can learn to cook with some time and effort….

9. Get Outside- This is especially important for those with a sedentary job in an office environment. Before you know it the day has gone by and you have spent very little time getting outdoors. Simply spending a bit of time outside each day will rejuvenate you especially if you can get some Sun and Fresh Air.

10. Ten Minutes of Deep Breathing- This takes some effort but it is a great habit to build. Lying down for 10 minutes each day and doing some deep rhythmic belly breathing can calm your mind and strenghten your nerves leaving you with a clear head and more able to cope with stress. Breathe………
by David Reece Zen to ZenFitness

How To Become A Slow Eater

How To Become A Slow Eater

Busy people are experts in efficiency. Everything we do is quick, effective and goal-directed. But when it comes to eating, efficiency is not the highest virtue.

Quick eating almost always results in overeating. This is because your brain is not focused on the eating process, but on the goal of filling your stomach. Unfortunately, a full stomach does not automatically create satiety in the brain.

Satiety is only perceived after a culmination of sensory cues and signals indicate a meal is over. Some of these cues are internal, such as spending time chewing, tasting and swallowing. Others are external, like seeing an empty plate or noticing a restless dining partner.

Only after about 20 minutes will you actually be able to tell if your belly is full or not, but if you’ve been stuffing your face the entire time it is already too late.

You can learn to eat more slowly by focusing on satiety cues rather than on cleaning your plate. Here are 12 tips for learning how to slow down and eat less.

12 Tips For Eating Slowly

  1. Practice Eating quickly is a habit that needs to be broken. Make a point to practice mindful eating by scheduling it into your day. Write it in your calendar, leave notes on your fridge and send yourself reminders before meals until your new habits become automatic. Habits typically take 3-4 weeks to develop.
  2. Sit at a table Sitting at a table to eat tells your brain you are having a meal. If you eat while running errands or standing at the counter you can quickly lose track of how much you’ve eaten. Even if you eat a lot while standing, you may still feel like you haven’t had a meal and want to eat more later.
  3. Serve small portions A clean plate is an incredibly powerful cue that a meal is finished. For this reason, large portion sizes often lead to overeating simply because of our tendency to eat what is in front of us. Serve yourself smaller portions as a reminder to take your time and savor each bite. Use small plates so your brain doesn’t perceive the portions as skimpy.
  4. Remove distractions If you are reading or watching TV, you are not paying attention to the food you put into your mouth. I know you are busy and want to multitask, but resist the urge for 15 minutes and eat a real meal. I admit I’m bad at this one, but I always eat less if I go offline while I eat.
  5. Chew You might think that you chew your food, but there’s a good chance you are swallowing a lot of it whole. Take smaller bites and chew your food thoroughly. Notice the texture of what you are eating and appreciate what it adds to your meal. This is something I need to remind myself of directly before I eat, so I keep this on my to-do list.
  6. Drink Another way you can force yourself to slow down is to consciously sip your drink throughout your meal. This requires you to put your fork down, chew and swallow before eating more. It also adds liquid to your stomach and can help you feel more full. Water is a perfect choice, but even sipping wine can slow down your meal.
  7. Put down your fork The classic recommendation to put down your fork (or sandwich) between bites has stuck around for one simple reason: it works. When we are not eating mindfully our hands go into shoveling mode, where your fork is primed with another bite almost instantly after popping the last one in your mouth. Putting your fork down forces you to relax a bit and focus on chewing what you already have.
  8. Have a conversation You only have one mouth, and if you are using it to talk it’s really difficult to shove food into it. Eat with friends, have a great conversation and use this as an opportunity to slow down your meal.
  9. Eat with other slow eaters We all have an unconscious tendency to imitate people we are near. If you are dining with a ferocious eater, you might find yourself mimicking their bad habit and eating quickly just to keep up. To train yourself to eat slower, try finding slow eaters to influence you instead.
  10. Don’t eat when you’re starving Nothing makes me more likely to eat quickly than being famished. But sooner or later circumstance will get the better of you and you’ll end up hungrier than you should be. I always carry almonds or other nuts around with me for times like this, and I eat exactly 10 nuts to tide me over for an hour or so. After about 15-20 minutes, my hunger subsides enough for me to regain control of my eating speed.
  11. Dim the lights Environment can have a big impact on our mental state, and you can set your dinner mood by dimming lights or lighting candles. Dim lights induce an inner calmness and make it easier to slow down. On the flip side, be careful when eating under bright, fluorescent lights as they can spur frantic overeating.
  12. Play mellow music Slow, mellow music can also help set an appropriate eating pace. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is one of my favorite dinner albums. However, this trick only works if the music is truly slower than your natural, silent eating pace. If your music is any faster you may experience the opposite effect.

By Daria at Summer Tomato

What are your favorite tricks for slowing down your dining?

7 Truths that Will Improve Your Health

7  Truths that Will Improve Your Health

Raise your hand if you desire to live a healthier and happier life. Fantastic! Now hands down.

But how do you construct such a life? Well, there aren’t any “perfect” templates to conform to…. Amazing health is achieved through personal discovery and adaptation. It’s unique to you.

However, like in life, there are harsh truths about health that you must understand if you are to improve your health (and life) experiences. Look for the Eureka! lessons – they’ll help you!

  1. Nobody is responsible for your health but you
    The quality of your health is not a responsibility you can delegate. Nor can you legitimately blame others for your unhealthy plights. Healthy lifestyle choices matter. And they’re made by you alone.Be mindful! Your health responsibilities aren’t just regulated to food choices. You’re equally responsible for keeping active, staying well-rested, reducing stress, having fun (very healthy!), and everything else that influences your overall health and wellness.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Yes, you’re fully responsible for your health. But that means you’re fully empowered too! Thus, your health responsibilities aren’t burdens. They’re gifts of opportunity and self-expression.
  2. Health (like life) is unfair
    Unfortunately, all things health are not created equal. Some have better genetics than others. Some have received more meaningful health education than others. Some have better socio-economic conditions than others. Some are flat out luckier. And all of these things are excuses.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Fairness isn’t the point. Opportunity is. America sines as “the land of opportunity”, not the land of handouts. The same applies to your health. You have a chance for greatness. Just how great is up to you.
  3. Your health won’t be perfect, ever
    Is health perfection really the goal, or is health greatness? I vote greatness! After all, perfection doesn’t guarantee greatness, and greatness isn’t perfect.Perfection is quicksand. It snares you in a devilish trap of illusion and frustration. It’s too heavily nuanced with details, rules, false promises, and other venomous constraints. As a result, your enthusiasm and momentum for a healthy lifestyle will suffer, ween, and possibly die. How tragic.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Don’t strive for perfection – strive for greatness! Greatness is a healthy attitude that inspires you to focus on the big picture, live unconventionally, and learn from missteps. It’s about BIG thinking and BOLD living.
  4. You cannot out exercise poor nutrition
    “It’s ‘okay’ for me to eat this gluttonous cake wedge because I’m going to the gym later.”How silly.You cannot out exercise poor nutrition. First, losing fat, gaining muscle, and just getting healthier isn’t only about “calories in, calories out”. That’s far too simplistic. Your nutrition choices affect your metabolism, sleep patterns, mental acuity, stamina, and happiness (just to name a few).Second, such misguided beliefs ingrain the wrong health behaviors. Unhealthy indulgences aren’t “rewards”, they’re unhealthy indulgences. Believing otherwise traps you in a vicious loop of stagnant health (at best) or a downward spiral of decaying health (at worst).The Eureka! Lesson:
    Certainly “reward” yourself for staying active. That’s important! Just don’t do it with crap food. Use pleasurable experiences, reasonable purchases, more quality family time, etc. instead.
  5. Pain is not gain
    “No pain, no gain” – or so the saying goes. I disagree.Pain is painful. Humans have a simple response to anything painful – we stop! So, isn’t the whole “no pain, no gain” argument backwards? Pain incites de-motivation, resentment, rejection, even fear. Which of those promotes improved health and happiness? Try none.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Here’s my version – less pain, more gain. Embrace your true health passions – those healthy pursuits that magnify joy and create meaning. That’s the secret for maintaining awesome health! Skip the pain, it’s for dummies.
  6. Unhealthy ignorance is not healthy bliss
    Pretending our society’s unhealthy plights don’t exist exacerbates the problems. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s an intellectual and human-decency crisis.67% of US adults are overweight or obese. The US ranks 1st in health care costs (as % of GDP), but 49th in life expectancy. US health care costs are estimated to be $13,100 in 2018 for every man, woman, and child.We cannot wish-away these facts. And the trends are getting worse.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Hope remains! We made this calamity, so we can unmake it. Knowing is half the battle. So, let’s learn these inconvenient truths and use them as calls-to-action for better health and happiness.
  7. There are no health bailouts
    The US financial sector was recently rescued from their appalling behaviors by a shiny $700 billion government bailout. But appalling health behaviors cannot be similarly rescued. Why? Because poor health behaviors create health debts that cannot be neutralized by a pen stroke.What are these health debts? The things that matter – quality of life, longevity of life, emotional health, disease prevention, psychological health, physical health, overall wellness, and more. These debts corrode your life as it’s happening. And no bailout later in life can reverse time.The Eureka! Lesson:
    Your health is not “too big to fail”. So don’t wait! If your health needs bailing out, then bail it out NOW before things get worse. The rest of your life’s health and happiness depends on it.

Bonus!
“Do not take life too seriously. You will not get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

Written by Matt Gartland

Need help designing a custom healthy lifestyle plan?  I can help…contact me at wendy@fitfoodcoach.com

When a Great Body Belongs to Someone Else

When a Great Body Belongs to Someone Else

It’s easy to fall into the trap of critically comparing yourself to people who have reached their fitness goals. But depending on your outlook, you can get inspired, not frustrated, by someone else’s achievement.

Who hasn’t stared at someone with the fit, healthy body that we’d all like to have? But if you start critically comparing yourself to that ideal, it can have negative consequences on your weight loss and mental health.

Healthy Inspiration: A Role Model, Not an Ideal

“If you can look at somebody else and not be self-critical — look at their body and their achievements as an inspiration, that can be useful,” says Martin Binks, PhD, assistant professor at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “But if it’s a self-critical way of looking at people and thinking, ‘I’ll never look like that,’ that’s when it becomes more difficult.”

In other words, see them as a source of motivation, inspiration, and even advice on living a healthy lifestyle, but not as a physical ideal you have to reach. “You always have to keep in mind that your body is yours, and your shape is determined by your own genetics,” says Binks. “Look at the behavior as opposed to the appearance.”

Healthy Inspiration: The Right Attitude

“When we compare ourselves to somebody else, we are not honoring who we are. We’re not looking at who we are in our life and what we’ve done,” says Anne Wolf, RD, a registered dietitian and researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who has worked with patients dealing with obesity for more than 20 years. “When there’s a comparison, people either think ‘I’m better’ or ‘I’m worse.’ But we’re not better or worse — we are human beings with different gifts and people with different bodies.”

Wolf says that it’s important to recognize that everyone has a completely different body shape, different way of carrying weight, and even a different bone structure that affects the way we look.

Most important, says Wolf, is to focus on what you are doing to improve your body. Losing a percentage of your body weight, exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods — those are the guides to use to determine if you are giving yourself the healthiest body possible.

Healthy Inspiration: Help Reaching Goals

If you approach weight loss with a healthy mindset, you may find that looking to someone who lives a fit, healthy lifestyle or who managed to lose weight successfully will really help you. John from Fairfax, Va., found a healthy comparison within his own family, specifically his older brother.

“In a sense my weight loss was entirely due to comparing myself to other people,” says John, who at age 27 decided to take control of his weight and lost 70 pounds. “I saw myself showing the effects of age faster than the people around me.”

“My brother was a good role model for me,” notes John. “He lost a significant amount of weight, and it helped because I saw how it improved his quality of life and his overall disposition.”

For John, his brother was a motivating factor. “Part of the human condition means you’re always comparing yourself to others, appearance and otherwise,” says John. You can use the comparison to make yourself feel worse or to inspire yourself to be better.

By Diana Rodriguez at Everyday Health

Need help with the emotional side of eating and body image?  I can help!  Contact me at wendy@fitfoodcoach.com

Being fat is bad for your brain.

Brain Damage

Being fat is bad for your brain.

That, at least, is the gloomy conclusion of several recent studies. For example, one long-term study of more than 6,500 people in northern California found that those who were fat around the middle at age 40 were more likely to succumb to dementia in their 70s. A long-term study in Sweden found that, compared to thinner people, those who were overweight in their 40s experienced a more rapid, and more pronounced, decline in brain function over the next several decades.

Consistent with this, the brains of obese people often show signs of damage. One study of 60 healthy young adults (in their 20s and 30s) found that the fatter members of the group had significantly lower gray-matter densities in several brain regions, including those involved in the perception of taste and the regulation of eating behavior. A study of 114 middle-aged people (aged between 40 and 66) found that the obese tended to have smaller, more atrophied brains than thinner people; other studies have found similar results.

Brains usually atrophy with age, but being obese appears to accelerate the process. This is bad news: pronounced brain atrophy is a feature of dementia.

Why fatness should affect the brain in this way is not clear, although a host of culprits have been suggested. A paper published this week in the early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has identified a gene that seems to be involved. FTO, as the gene is known, appears to play a role in both body weight and brain function. This gene comes in different versions; one version — let’s call it “troublesome”— appears to predispose people to obesity. Individuals with two copies of the troublesome version tend to be fatter than those with only one copy of it, who in turn tend to be fatter than those with two copies of the “regular” version. Now, the troublesome form has been linked to atrophy in several regions of the brain, including the frontal lobes, though how and why it has this effect remains unknown.

But genes are not the only guilty parties. Obesity exacerbates problems like sleep apnea, which can result in the brain being starved of oxygen; this can lead to brain damage. Obesity often goes along with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, all of which are bad for the brain in their own right. Indeed, one study has shown that if, in middle age, you are obese and have high blood pressure, the two problems gang up on you, increasing the chances of your getting dementia in old age more than either one would do on its own.

Fat tissue itself may be a problem. Fat cells secrete hormones like leptin; leptin acts on the brain in a variety of ways, and is thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Obesity may thus disrupt the normal production of leptin, with dangerous results. Fat cells also secrete substances that cause inflammation; chronic inflammation of the brain, which is often found in the obese, impairs learning and memory and is also a feature of Alzheimer’s.

Diet may play a role, too. Studies in mice have shown that eating a very-high-fat diet increases brain inflammation and disrupts brain function. And the onset of brain decay may itself play a part. Since the regions of the brain most affected by obesity appear to be those involved in self-control and the regulation of appetite, erosion of these abilities may lead to greater obesity, which may lead to more rapid brain erosion, in a downward spiral.

Whatever the causes, the implications are grave. In the United States today, around one-third of adults are obese. At the same time, dementia is already one of the most costly and devastating health problems of old age. The possibility that obesity today will lead to higher rates of dementia in the future is, therefore, deeply alarming.

The obvious question is: can obesity-associated brain damage be reversed? No one knows the answer, but I am hopeful that it can. Those two old friends, a healthful diet and plenty of exercise, have repeatedly been shown to protect the brain. Foods like oily fishes and blueberries have been shown to stimulate the growth of new neurons, for example. Moreover, one study found that dieting reversed some of the changes to brain structure found among the obese. Which suggests an interesting study. The most effective — and radical — treatment for obesity is bariatric surgery, whereby the stomach is made much smaller or bypassed altogether. Do people who have taken this option show a reversal, or at least a slowing, of brain atrophy?

But whether you are fat or thin, young or old, the best hope you have of guarding your brain is to eat well and exercise. Anyone seen my running shoes?

By Olivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life for The Times

For more information on a healthy eating plan to get you to your perfect weight, tap here or contact me at wendy@fitfoodcoach.com