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Trick Your Brain Into Losing Weight ; What's Stopping You Getting Slim? Lack of Willpower And Time? Your Genes? Stress, Perhaps? Well According to One US Expert, It's Because Your Diet Doesn't Suit Your Brain.

Sunday Mirror


Yep, it's the latest weight loss idea, direct from the States - find the diet that's tailored to your grey matter.

According to doctor and psychiatrist Daniel Amen, different people have different brain types which in turn influence weight. His clinics use cutting-edge scans to identify patterns in the grey matter which he reckons cause obesity. Knowing how your own brain works is critical to getting the help that will work for you - 'One prescription does not fit all,' says Dr Amen.

Luckily you don't need a degree in neuroscience to figure out what's going on in your brain. We've taken four of the most common brain types linked to weight gain so you can take a peek inside your own mind and discover your bespoke brain diet prescription.


You are if you...

Get stuck on thoughts of food and on compulsive eating behaviour

Get fixated on depressing or anxious thoughts

Get locked into one course of action

Have trouble seeing options, and want things 'your' way

Tend to hold grudges

Commonly gorge at night, rather than during the day

THE SCIENCE BIT: 'The most common brain scan finding in this type is increased cingulate gyrus activity, usually caused by low serotonin.'


Exercise, as this allows more of the serotonin precursor, tryptophan, to enter the brain.

If you get a negative or food-orientated thought in your head more than three times, immediately get up and do something to distract yourself.

Make a list of 10 things you can do instead of eating so you can distract yourself.

Choose a diet that gives choices - people with this brain type don't do well with rigid rules.

Steer clear of high protein diets and diet pills, they don't suit your brain type.

Supplements such as St Johns Wort and 5-HTP can help.


You are if you...

Eat to try to cheer yourself up

Suffer from low mood - anything from mild seasonal blues to actual depression

Feel unable enjoy activities you used to find pleasurable

Experience low energy or feelings of guilt, helplessness or hopelessness

Find it harder to control your weight in winter

THE SCIENCE BIT: 'Low levels of vitamin D and the mood- influencing hormone DHEA are common in this brain type.'


Exercise, to boost blood flow and mood-lifting neurotransmitters.

Change your thinking. Your body reacts physically to negative thoughts like, 'I ate cake, my diet is ruined'. Reframe any negatives thoughts with a positive: 'I enjoyed the cake and will eat less at dinner to keep my diet on track.'

Write down five things you are grateful for every day - this has been shown to increase happiness within three weeks.

Surround yourself with gorgeous scents.

Vitamin D supplements and bright light therapy can be helpful for this brain type.


You are if you...

Begin the day intending to eat well, then give in to temptation

Regularly say 'I'm starting my diet tomorrow'

Act impulsively, without thinking through the consequences

Find yourself easily distracted

Get bored easily

Struggle with sticking to plans and motivating yourself

THE SCIENCE BIT: 'Little activity in the prefrontal cortex, the brain's supervisor. Low levels of calming neurotransmitter dopamine.'


Exercise, to increase blood flow and dopamine levels in the brain. Try to find an exercise you love.

Make a clear list of your weight and health goals, and display it where you can see it every day.

Get outside supervision - check in regularly with a person or diet support group you trust to help you stay focused.

Avoid impulsively saying yes to offers of food and drink: practise saying, 'No thank you, I'm full.'

Green tea and rhodiola supplements can be helpful for this brain type.


You are if you...

Use food as a way of soothing anxiety, tension or fear

Have physical symptoms of anxiety such as muscle tension, nail biting, headaches, abdominal pain or palpitations

Expect the worst and feel fearful of the future

Get easily startled and tend to freeze in social situations

Struggle with sleep

THE SCIENCE BIT: 'Increased activity in the basal ganglia, caused by low levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.'


Exercise: try calming things such as yoga.

Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing.

Counter any negative thoughts (see The Emotional Overeater).

Consider therapy or valerian root to improve your sleep.

Supplements of vitamin B6 and magnesium help boost GABA, reducing the tendency to overeat in response to anxiety.

Adapted from Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Dr Daniel Amen (Piatkus, Pounds 9.99)

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