Friday, February 25, 2011

Now That's Weird! Your Fat Has Brains

Dear Yin Weaver,

Well knock me over with a feather. Whoever thought fat was an endocrine organ? I mean, it's like finding out your slouchy, couch-potato brother just got accepted into mensa.  Yes, your fat is intelligent, in a common sense sort of way; it is always trying to help you know when you've got enough fat. 

Apparently, this "endocrine organ" releases a messenger called Leptin which tells the hypothalamus you've had enough to eat. I think, anyway. I'm a bear of little brain when it comes to reading scientific articles. So if you want to read it for yourself, and maybe draw a different conclusion, here's a fairly readable one on the subject of obesity and inflammation.

There's also a paragraph in that article that will tell you exactly why too much fat will lead to chronic inflammation, and that inflammation can lead to dementia later in life. Yet another reason to start a diet. Here's a little tidbit which says the same thing from the oh-so-much-more-readable article I keep quoting here.
Jeans size

Adults who have larger abdomens in their 40s are up to 3.6 times as likely to develop dementia in their 70s, even if they weren’t overweight, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. One possible reason for the link is that compared with subcutaneous fat (the noticeable fat that lies just below the skin), visceral fat (the dangerous fat that surrounds the organs) secretes more of the inflammatory hormones that are associated with cognitive decline.
Prevent it: Eat a portion-controlled Mediterranean-style diet. Research shows that the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in foods such as olives, nuts, seeds, avocado, and dark chocolate prevent the accumulation of visceral fat.
Yeah, you just stick with that dark chocolate and those avocados, and your spare tire will soon be a thing of the past. Maybe. Because while your busy almost eating all the right foods (everyone cheats, right?), your stress level may be busy eating up all or at least some of the benefits. I'm telling you, this is a good article on obesity I'm quoting from. Listen to what it says about the relationship between inflammation, stress, cortisol and overeating:

The constant state of increased inflammation as described above then brings another hormone into play. That hormone is cortisol. Our adrenal glands react to this constant state of low grade inflammation by pumping out high amounts of cortisol. Under short periods of stress, cortisol is actually anti-inflammatory. It results in increases in blood sugar which gives us energy to fight a predator or a disease. However, when the body is constantly bombarded with high levels of cortisol, such as under chronic low-grade stress from work or social pressures, several deleterious effects occur. The first is that a “catabolic state” is created resulting in the breakdown of our muscle tissue for energy. This then triggers appetite, causing us to consume more calories than are needed. These excess calories are primarly stored as fat (especially visceral fat), due to high circulating levels of pro-inflammatory proteins like NfkB which block the effect of insulin, creating insulin resistance. High circulating levels of insulin promote further fat storage and prevent breakdown of stored fat.
What we're talking about here, people, is emotional eating, right? My husband and I started the South Beach diet a few months ago precisely because we were experiencing the results of insulin resistance--high cholestorol, high blood pressure, and an inability to lose weight. Well, I've lost weight and am loving the reappearance of my waist and a flatter tummy. My blood pressure is down, and I'm assuming the cholesterol is following suit.

What I'm not loving is realizing what an emotional eater I'd become in the past few years. I didn't realize I'd been giving myself all sorts of permission to eat whenever I felt stressed. Or to borrow an acronym from AA, whenever I was Hungry (emotionally), Angry, Lonely or Tired. So now I have to manage not only my weight but also my stress differently. Yet once again Energy Medicine comes to the rescue! Here're a couple of exercises I've found most helpful to dieting successfully. They're quick and dirty, and very effective. Try 'em! You'll like 'em!

Cover the Eyes
This exercise activates your radiant circuits, calms Triple Warmer and energizes spleen. If you’re dieting, but having a hard time breaking old eating habits (like emotional eating), do this exercise six times a day. Yes, six. It takes a nanosecond to do. A couple in the morning, a couple in the afternoon, a couple at night. Try doing it right before you eat.
• Place thumbs over index finger nails and hold "oh my God" points on the forehead with middle, ring, and little fingers until you take a deep sigh, yawn, or feel a release.

• Cover eyes with fingers. Inhale. Exhale.

• Inhale with eyes still covered. Exhale while dragging fingers across eyes and out to temples

• Inhale while dragging fingers up over ears, and exhale while dragging fingers down behind ears to shoulders. Hang fingers on shoulders at neck.

• Cross arms, placing fingers on opposite shoulders. Inhale, smoothing hands down arms to forearms. Exhale.

• Inhale, place hands flat across ribs under bust area.

• Exhale while sweeping fingers down legs and off feet at toes

• Inhale while sweeping fingers back up legs to under arms.

• Exhale while sweeping fingers down and off body at side of waist.
The second exercise will keep your adrenals healthy. A healthy adrenal will not dump the stress hormone cortisol into your system. Do this one from two to one thousand times a day. In other words, you can't overdo it.

Adrenal Neurolymphatic Massage
• Find your belly button.
• Move your fingers one inch out from, and one inch above your belly button.

• Massage deeply for 10-30 seconds.
If it hurts, it means you need it. You may be flirting with adrenal exhaustion.
Last but not least, I discovered a very inspiring on the use of energy medicine for weight loss, check out A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Scale, especially, June 2010 and on.



  1. I have struggled with emotional eating for a long time as well and still struggle with it. I am excited to try using the points you mentioned above.

    As I have been becoming a greater part of the organic farming industry, I see the problem in part being the current food system. We are taught to deal with being overweight by dieting, instead of refocusing on whole healthy and unprocessed foods. When I eat a farm fresh meal full of fruits, veggies, and meats I notice I have less cravings. Just some food for thought to go along with your great suggestion.

    Thanks Rose :)

  2. well written, Rose. I might add that you could substitute "managing emotions" for managing stress - and to me that generally means acknowledging rather than over-riding or expressing the emotions. All they need is for us to make contact with them, in the body, where they are stored, and they will gladly dissipate. Just like humans, emotions want to be free, and not trapped in somebody's overly generous supply of endocrine producing fat cells. :-)

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I absolutely agree with you. A healthy way of eating is much better than dieting, and it does reduce cravings. Although for some, cravings can be a serious issue. I often think of the link between sugar and alcohol. Having a hx of alcoholism in my family makes me that more cautious around my sugar intake (I just ignore alcohol altogether), b/c I know I crave it in an addictive way. I've found that taking St. John's Wort helps.

    Any other suggestions out there on what supplements help with cravings?


  4. Hi Judith,

    Yes, it's so true old emotions are stored in every cell. I like the point you make about contacting and acknowledging being just as, if not more powerful than expression. It brings to mind the power of EFT, where emotions are resolved effortlessly and safely.