Brain Blogger

How Obesity Affects the Human Brain


The number of overweight and obese people (those with BMI above 25) around the world is approaching the two billion mark. This is more than 20% of estimated 7.4 billion people currently populating the planet. The connection between obesity and various chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer is well established. Not much, however, is known about how the excess body weight influences the structure and function of brain.

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Borderline Personality

A Letter to My Borderline Brain

Dear Borderline brain,

I know you want to go to the hospital. I know. But you are okay, you are not in crisis, and you do NOT need to be there. There will be times that you do. You remember the boy who cried wolf? This is important. Are you listening to me? It’s nice to have people take care of you, but please remember that people ARE taking care of you. Your therapist and your psychiatrist and your nutritionist and your outpatient program leader are always on your team. They are not going anywhere.
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Anorexia

Eating Disorders: Learning to Be Okay in the Rain

Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy looks like a pyramid, with each level building on the one below it. The very bottom, basic need a person must fulfill is entitled the "physiological needs." A component within the physiological needs is food, i.e. eating. So, this may pose a thought for some: Why, if food were available, not scarce, would this basic need in life be so hard for some people to act upon?

This leads us to the question: What is an eating disorder?
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Eating Disorders

Fitness Trackers: Fun Gadget or Serious Weight Loss Aid?

While many media outlets are promoting the new Fitbit Charge 2, fitness trackers may turn out to be not as helpful as many of us believe when it comes to helping us lose weight. Although not marketed specifically as a weight loss tool, many people use fitness trackers to monitor their daily activity primarily in an effort to lose weight.

A new study should cause us to pause in our belief that technology always helps. Sometimes, the answer is simply not that clear.

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Binge Eating

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Weight Management

Countless people feel unhappy with their bodies. Some have eating disorders, and many others deal with issues surrounding weight management. They may have tried the standard self-help techniques, from exercise and dieting to grueling weight loss programs, without success.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective and widely used therapeutic approach that can be applied to issues including self-esteem, body image, and weight management.

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Bulimia

The Healing Power in Doing What Scares You

While volunteering at a Los Angeles animal shelter, I met a brindle, 10-month-old pit bull named Sunny. She was so skinny that even her shadow looked bony, and her tail looked like it had been chopped in half and then stomped on in three places. Yet despite her dire circumstances, a joyful energy moved through her. Every time I slipped inside her kennel, she came barreling into my arms and sprawled across my lap, her whole body wagging along with her stub tail.

The outdoor kennels gave the dogs little relief from scorching summer sun. Sunny often panted with saliva dripping from her mouth, and I knew she was excruciatingly thirsty. Sometimes she approached her water bowl, but then would back away with her ears flattened on top of her head. And soon enough I realized what she was afraid of: her reflection. Sunny's body told her to drink, but her mind told her a scary, dangerous dog was in her way.

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Bipolar

New Quizzes on Bipolar, Eating Disorders, Paranoia & Stress

Here at Psych Central, we're always developing new quizzes to help you better understand yourself. We believe self-knowledge is power, and so the better you know yourself, the more in control of your life you will become. It's a simple equation that works.

That's why I'm pleased to introduce a number of new self-help psychological quizzes that we've been working on over the past few months. We now have two new ways to test for bipolar disorder and eating disorders (which join our existing quizzes on these topics), and two new topics we've never had quizzes on before -- paranoia and stress.

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Brain and Behavior

Building a Guilt-Free Relationship with Food through Mindful Eating

The primary role of food in young children’s lives is one of sustenance. Young children tend to eat when they’re hungry and push away food when they’re full. Food is a source of nourishment and joy, one of the many joyful things life has to offer.

This role can change as children grow, depending on the messages received. Some children may be told to finish everything on their plate even if they’re full, a lesson telling them they can’t waste food. Parents may restrict eating due to what they perceive is a weight problem for their children. These children may grow up feeling shame for eating, resulting in binge behaviors or eating in secret. Children may witness unhealthy habits, eating only processed foods or having a lack of structure around eating. This can result in making poor food choices throughout their lives or a lack of moderation with eating.

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Disorders

Are You Dieting Again?

Is food your enemy and your best friend? Do you despair when you catch sight of yourself in a mirror or even when friends applaud your slender figure? A nagging voice in your head warns, "Watch out! The pounds are just waiting to sneak in there."

Women in particular wrestle with how they feel about the weight and shape of their bodies. According to surveys, four out of five women in the United States are dissatisfied with how they look. Weight control is a hot topic in every magazine for women.

"It's not fair!" complained Janelle. "How come I suffer like this when my sister, Aunt Patti, and Carol at work eat exactly what they want and never step on a scale?"
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Addiction

Daily Rituals to Reduce Anxiety

Who among us has not experienced their fair share of anxiety? Whether it be from finances, school assignments, career troubles or relationship issues, we all - at least occasionally - get caught in the rainstorm that is anxiety. Some prefer to outrun this brewing downpour. I say, save your energy, and just bring an umbrella.

An anxiety umbrella can take many forms: medicine, therapy, self-reflection or alterations in one’s daily tasks that reduce the burden of anxiety and allow you to focus on more important matters. Here are a few examples that you can use when that cloud of stress turns threatens to turn into a perfect storm:

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Eating Disorders

9 Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating During the Holidays

For anyone with an inclination to use food as comfort -- which basically includes all of us -- the two months between Halloween and New Years provide one temptation after another.

For me it starts the hour the trick-or-treaters have left and I assess the supply of tootsie rolls, Kit Kats, and Reese’s Cups that did not make it into the pillow cases or plastic pumpkins of our guests. I tell myself they are absolutely off limits as I climb up on the kitchen counter to hide them in a place that requires much physical effort to get to.

Then come all the holiday festivities where everything I am not supposed to be eating and drinking (sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol) is there, available, in my face, taunting me … “come on, you know you want me … I can make you feel better.”
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