Weight loss over 50? Brings to mind all the diets I tried as a kid, all the way back to the grapefruit diet that my mom used to do, which actually helped her lose weight!
Lots of protein coupled with 1/2 a grapefruit. Come to think of it, she was middle aged when she did that diet, but as not as old as I am.
So what do we over 50 folks need to do to manage our weight? We all know it is important. We have all been seeing the almost hourly update on this or that diet plan or program or berry or phytochemical for many years now, and many of us have tried some of them probably.
We are past the stage of our life where we are taken in so effectively. We know that there are no short cuts, that we need to change some very basic things about the three things in our lives that we can hope to manage, our thinking, our feelings, and our behavior.
That is where the Beck Diet Solution and the Body Media tools come in to play. Before you groan about yet another quick fix, please take a look at Judith Beck's Ph.D. ideas.
She says we can train our brains to think like a thin person.
In fact, we work her cognitive behavioral thinking plan for two weeks before we begin using a diet plan. And she says this model will work with any diet plan which is healthy. Make sure to exercise physically and the brain and weight and quality of life issues move in a very positive direction for us.
So what evidence do we have that this 'change the thought to change the feeling, or behavior', in this case, which is straight out of the cognitive behavioral therapy play book, works?
Besides the testimonials, I am encouraged when I see references to Dr. Beck's work at the SharpBrains blog, which is the brain child of Alvaro Fernandez, who is hoping to provide some insight into the brain fitness marketing being done to Baby Boomers who are afraid of Alzheimers.
Mr. Fernandez interviews Dr. Beck, who sites research using fMRI to confirm that a brief course in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)actually changed the amygdala activation of folks with a spider phobia. (Paquette, et.al.)
I have used CBT with my domestic violence and anger management folks for years, not for brain fitness, but to give them a sense that they can change their feelings by changing their thoughts, which will give them more behavioral choices.
So there is evidence the CBT is effective.
One of the things that really struck me about Dr. Beck's ideas is that we need to learn the difference between a craving and hunger.
A craving is experienced in the throat and chest and hunger is in the belly. I have can have a very full tummy right after Thanksgiving dinner and still have a craving if I see the whipped cream going on the pumpkin pie.
Which brings me to a very interesting book Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who speak to how much less exercise we get today than even a generation or two ago, and how it impacts our weight, exercise, and brain health in a negative way.
Are there any parallels between what Beck has discovered and what the neuroscientists are saying?
Evans and Burghardt write about the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences.
The most important component of brain fitness and weight loss is physical activity/exercise.
Physical activity/exercise is the one thing we can do which enhances neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Yes, our brain can continue growing new brain cells, which is the neurogenesis, until the day we stop thinking, and those new neurons go to the hippocampus for memory, and anytime I learn something new, my brain forms new connections between neurons, which is the neuroplasticity aspect of brain fitness.
So that important aspect of weight loss over 50 also increases my brain's functioning.
Stress management is one of the key pillars of brain fitness, and eating to reduce stress is one of the major causes of weight gain.
Is their a tool to help with all of them?
According to Alvaro Fernandez, in his just published book, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fitness, the emWave tool from the HeartMath folks is one of the top five stress management tools out there, which can end emotional eating and the associated weight gain, and also opens higher perceptual centers in the brain.
OK, it sounds like the tools we are uncovering for weight loss over 50 also have a wonderful synergistic impact on stress, brain fitness, neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity.
Perhaps now you are thinking about an exercise program to do with your emWave, your Beck CBT work, and your brain fitness work. I like the model put together by Scott and Angie Tousignant because of the testamonial from Bill and Pat who are 89 and 82 respectfully.
Please check out The Aesthetic Muscle Plan, and book, More Love, Less Fat, by Angie and Scott Tousignant.
If they can do it, so can I. Scott and Angie's model does not require sophisticated equipment or gym club memberships, or expensive coaches, just some of that Boomer dedication and experience.
And while you are at it, try some to the computerized brain fitness tools in conjunction with your exericise routine. The research on them is amazing.
In particular, the IMPACT study just done on Seniors says that the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program is just excellent for our brains.
Now for my one month old trial with the Body Media tools. While my wife Julie has been using the Body Media arm band for awhile, I was not convinced until I saw an article in Wired Magazine, and then the kicker for me was that Body Media has an affiliate program, which means that I could make some money from online sales, so I decided to try it out.
Long story short, in the last five weeks, (April-May 2012), I have lost 11 pounds and Julie, who got her arm band back in use, has lost 15 pounds.
What is really different for me is that the tool reminds me of itself on my arm when I have a craving, and when I record my food intake every day, I get an eye popping measure of how many calories I have consumed. It has been very easy to incorporate the use of the tool in to my daily routine, and I am excited about the results.
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