What does losing weight have to do with executive functioning? As it turns out, lots.
For me, executive functioning is all about understanding my brain’s needs so that I have maximum control over my time and productivity. I want time for both work and fun. Time for myself. Time for my family. Time for giving to the community.
To do all of that takes energy. Carrying around extra weight saps energy. I know. I have been overweight in my life. I also realize how hard it is to lose weight. It requires incredible metacognition to make the necessary choices to lose weight. What can you do? Learn more about your brain.
I recently brought home an interesting book, The Amen Solution. Dr. Amen is a psychiatrist whose passion is understanding the connection between the brain and behavior. His clinics have scanned more than 50,000 brains. He has found that our excess weight shows up in the pictures of our brains! And, it turns out, the brain of an overweight person is not a pretty picture to contemplate. Lose weight, and your brain gets healthier!
While I’m not overweight at this point in my life, reading Amen’s book was a wake-up call. I have lots of plans for the rest of my life and I need a brain and body in maximum shape to be able to live those dreams. After reading Amen’s book I did “little” things like starting to measure the sugar I use (and consequently cutting back). I make sure my breakfast choices are eaten out of very small bowls. I record my weight every morning. I’m using metacognition to notice my portion sizes, choosing not to fill up my plate to overflowing or having seconds.
The result? Without any particular effort, beyond my usual exercise (CRITICAL!), little by little, I have lost 5 pounds over 3 months!
Amen has discovered that different brain types need to use different solutions to lose weight. Check out his book at the library or investigate his web site. He may just inspire you to improve your executive functioning by understanding the connection between your brain and your weight.
Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.
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