This week, I tried something new. Most of my meals over the weekend were restaurant meals, and I basically ate whatever I wanted, with the exception of desserts. Friday night’s dinner was a hangar steak served over polenta, Sunday brunch was a delicious chicken and spinach crepe, and it was all topped off on Sunday night with a delicious fried calamari. Yum! On Monday through Thursday, I ate 200 calorie meals every 2 hours. That’s right, every 2 waking hours, for a total of 1600 calories per day! I really expected to gain a bit. As you know if you’ve been following this blog, I have failed to lose weight on 1200 calories per day. So I was fairly certain that 1600 per day would send me over the edge. I didn’t really put any restrictions on what I ate as long as it was 200 calories, although I tried to stay nutritionally balanced. I ate lots of whole grains and very little processed sugar, although I did not count the sugar grams in regular foods. At least one meal a day was a cup of plain yogurt sweetened with stevia and maybe a little fruit. I did not count carbs at all. My exercise level was the usual moderate; a few walks and a few sessions on the elliptical trainer. I did set the elliptical trainer on the “total body workout” setting, which is a little more interval training.
It really is all in your head
I have been reading The Younger (Thinner) You Diet: How Understanding Your Brain Chemistry Can Help You Lose Weight, Reverse Aging, and Fight Disease by Eric R. Braverman . According to Dr. Braverman, when we have difficulty losing weight it is because our brain chemistry is imbalanced. He explains how different chemicals in the brain affect aging, weight gain and energy levels while outlining how different foods, spices and teas can help to bring these chemicals back into their proper balance. Braverman discusses the brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acetylcholine and explains how imbalances can affect personality, weight management, food addiction and aging.
The book starts with a series of quizes designed to help the reader identify which brain chemicals they may be deficient in. Dr. Braverman also has a modified version of theses quizes on his website to help you get started. The diet itself is sensible and well-balanced, emphasizing lots of vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices. I’ve been following some of the suggestions to boost up the nutritional value of my meals. Braverman’s work on brain chemistry is interesting, and it extends way beyond dieting into overall health, well-being and aging. It’s a good read even if you’re not dieting; can’t we all use a little more balance in our brain chemistry?