Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen answer listener’s questions about pandemic weight gain, how to lose it, and how to maintain healthy habits going forward.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like Brain SPECT Imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
The Brain Warrior’s Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We’ve been talking about letting go in this week’s episodes. But today, we’re going to be answering your questions. We would love to hear from you. If you learn anything, please post it, tag us, tag someone else that you think would benefit from this and leave us a review. We’d love to hear from you guys. So if you leave us your review, we will enter you into drawing to win one of our books, either Your Brain is Always Listening, I love that book that you just wrote, or my new book, the Relentless Courage of a Scared Child. But you have a review?
I do. JNS Hilman, “Wonderful. This podcast has been wonderful. I’ve only been listening for a short time, only because I just found it, but I fully intend to binge it. I’ve been struggling for years. Now I’m trying to find a way to make a scan happen for me. I bought the cookbook.”
“And just started reading Your Brain is Always Listening. I came across Daniel and Tana Amen, listening to Robin McGraw’s, I’ve Got a Secret.” Thank you, Robin. “I’m trying the Happy Saffron now. I’m hoping with this and work on my part, I can clear the 10-plus years of brain fog. As my grandmother would say, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
I would actually love to hear back from you and see how it’s working. I want to know what’s going on with your brain fog after you used the program for a few months. Because that’s our experience. We’ve actually studied the outcomes on our six-month class. And one of the biggest results was that people had more clarity and more focus.
Well, and I know when we have guests, we often don’t have a chance to get to people’s questions, but now we do.
Now we do.
First question, Tana, what’s your favorite healthy snack to eat on the go?
Okay. So I want to start by saying not the same program is great for everybody. So some people want more healthy carbs, I tend to go high fat, low carb. So I love coconut wraps. Coconut wraps are… Pure Wraps, makes a great coconut wrap. They make curry flavor and plain flavor. I will put sometimes some nut butter on them or I’ll use some salmon or tuna or leftover chicken that we have. Love that with avocado. That’s a quick snack that I can make. Nuts are always a good snack. I do like a lot of greens. Even though I’m low carb, I don’t include greens in that because they’re high fiber and they don’t have sugar in them. So lots of greens and I will sometimes dip those into avocado or something like that. So those types of snacks are my favorite snacks, high fat, low carb, high fiber.
Well, mine, I actually make mine, brain and [inaudible [00:03:36] bars.
It’s a brain healthy chocolate. Chocolate is super big.
And my other one is your hot chocolate that you make me every night. So much fun. I love that. It’s so comforting.
So Costco organic vanilla unsweetened almond milk, a heaping teaspoon of raw cacao and a organic raw [inaudible [00:04:00] cacao. And some chocolate stevia from Sweetleaf. Mix it up, tastes amazing.
And I turn it into a keto snack by adding some MCT oil or some gee or grassfed butter to it. And you don’t want the calories, but for me, believe it, I mean, it’s just my metabolic makeup is as long as I’m having really healthy calories and I’m eating a high fat diet, low carb diet, I tend to lean out and have way more energy and focus. But that’s because my brain type is I tend to be a little foggy when I eat carbs. So.
And if you’re an OCD person.
Oh, like my daughter.
What are healthy snacks for them?
So she tends to eat a lot of different types of veggies with hummus, is one of her go-to snacks. Another one that we both like actually is a basil spread on those coconut wraps that I talked about with chicken, but she will add some sort of a carb to it. Some sort of veggie to it that’s more carbohydrate-based. She’ll eat sweet potatoes.
Like carrots, or.
Yeah, carrots or something like that. I don’t, I skip that.
Butternut squash would be another one.
Right. Right. And she’ll often have sliced apples with almond butter, those types of things. I tend to avoid fruit, most fruit with the exception of berries and occasionally I’ll have things like apples.
Are there certain ages at which a body’s metabolism slows down?
Oh, yes. Oh my gosh. My biggest frustration, I was always so proud of myself because I thought I had trained my metabolism. Because I had a really, really high metabolism all the way up until the last year and a half. And I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be this way forever.”
You mean until you turned 50?
Until I went into menopause, yeah. Until I started menopause. And I’m so frustrated now, because now I actually have to pay attention. I used to be able to eat so much because I worked out and I [inaudible [00:05:57] healthy food, but I would eat so much and never really paid attention to it. And I was lean, lean, lean, really lean. And now I’m like, “What is happening?” I actually have to pay attention. So menopause is a big time for women. After a baby, but breastfeeding will help you. So after a baby, that can be a big time. But middle-age, that’s the time
And for men it could actually be in their later 30s.
Well, and they also, when their wives get pregnant [inaudible [00:06:25] they gained sympathy pounds. Yeah.
I never noticed that.
Oh no, it’s true.
I just noticed that when I was a teenager, and I worked out a lot, I could eat anything I wanted.
It’s sort of, Chloe’s boyfriend can eat anything he wants and he’s skinny as a rail. And I know that’s not going to last.
It’s not going to last.
For him. And so if you have bad habits, they tend to persist until you’re like, “What happened?”
Yeah. And it’s not just when you hit a certain age, your hormones shift. That’s why, it’s because your hormones change. And so when you hit menopause or middle-age, even for men, when your testosterone drops, it’s going to change you. So when I hit that menopausal age, what happened was not only do I have to pay more attention now to not put weight on, but my muscles got softer. And so I have to work harder now to have-, because you want some muscle mass because it makes you more sensitive to insulin, it keeps you stronger so you don’t get hurt. There’s lots of good reasons.
Well, and another time in life is whenever you are under chronic stress.
Yes, cortisol is up.
And so there’s a new study out on what happened in different age groups for weight during the pandemic.
40% of people gained weight.
Significant amounts of weight. In fact, it was the youngest.
Right, because they were so stressed.
Older teenagers and younger adults that… For people who gained weight, their average weight gain was 41 pounds.
Was crazy. For older people like me, our weight gain wasn’t much, but it’s just really horrifying.
But cortisol is a killer. So stress is a killer.
Because that’s going to have a negative impact on their body, probably for the rest of their lives.
We know people who are overweight in mid-life actually have a higher incidence of dementia because being overweight is a risk factor, for dementia in midlife, not when you’re older, because a lot of people have actually died off. And frailty is more a risk factor for dementia in the elderly.
Yeah, absolutely. So to finish that off. So when I was younger and for a lot of people who have a high metabolism, you can eat more healthy carbs. You get to a certain place in life, whether it’s chronic stress, whether it’s your hormones shifting. So you get to your 50s or late and your hormones shift. That’s when for me going low carb, high fiber, but low carb and higher fat, higher protein really helps me get back on track.
We should spend more time-
Talking about food.
Yeah, because it’s a big thing in our house.
Brain healthy foods and then food pushers and food sabotagers. It’s hard.
Food is hard.
Or it’s great. It just depends.
Are there common areas of weight gain in men and women’s bodies as they age? And I often say that I dearly hope many of the overweight men will deliver the baby, because it’s belly fat.
Belly fats the worst.
And that’s the worst because it changes hormonal patterns in your body.
Yeah. It makes them produce the wrong kind of estrogen.
And it turns healthy testosterone into estrone, which is the cancer promoting form of estrogen. Can drastic quick weight loss have an effect, a negative effect on my health?
So drastic quick weight loss. I mean, yes and no, it depends on how much you lose and how fast, but the problem with drastic quick weight loss is that you tend to not keep it off. Especially if your goals around it aren’t really, really clear and you don’t have really solid habits. You don’t have really planted habits in how you’re doing it. So you want to really watch. We actually prefer that someone actually have a really good plan and they’re not starving themselves. They’re not doing crazy calorie restriction. That you cut your calories, but you cut them in a really rational way. And you’re eating really healthy food because we want you on a program that you can sustain forever.
I think that’s so important. That losing weight in a sustainable way that keeps you in the right habits over time is way more important.
Than losing weight quickly.
But the one thing I want to say about that, some people will lose weight really fast naturally, even if they’re just eating a really healthy program. Because especially in the beginning, they’ll drop a ton of weight because inflammation comes down fast. If you’ve been eating really poorly and you’re really overweight, you probably have a lot of inflammation. That weight will come down really quick as you drop that inflammation, then it will usually stabilize. So it’s not always because you just dropped a ton of fat. And that’s good to get rid of the inflammation is a good thing. So just to clarify that.
Right. And people on our program, when we did the Brain Warrior’s Way, I think our highest weight loss was 56 pounds that they lost in six months. I mean, that was pretty exciting.
But I’ve worked with people who’ve lost 103 pounds, but she did it over a year and so it was rational.
Yeah. That’s a great story.
So you can do this. One more question and then we have to stop. Does it matter how often you eat fish?
So it really depends on the type of fish. So we really like a website called seafoodwatch.org because they will talk about what’s the best type of fish and when to eat it and which fish to avoid based on what’s going on in the world, like if there have been oil spills or what’s happening. There’s so many factors that go into it so we really like that website. So smaller fish are better than big fish. So that’s a complicated question as far as does it matter how much fish, it really matters what kind of fish and where they’re from.
Yeah. Yeah. How it’s raised.
And the fact that all fish should be wild is not true. So there are some fish that are better off in responsible, sustainably raised environments, because if they’re doing it well. So.
And so think of it at least once a week.
Because research shows that you actually have more gray matter in your brain if you’re eating grilled or baked fish. So this is not fried fish, grilled or baked fish at least once a week.
But some of our friends like Tony Robbins, because he was a pescatarian was eating, and he’s a big, big guy was eating lots of fish every day, lunch and dinner. And he ended up with high levels of mercury. So you do want to be, I think the really important thing-.
And he was eating-
Right. So big fish that are-. So get tested, make sure you’re being tested.
Well, we’re so grateful for you. Leave us your comments, questions. For reviews, brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. And we have a very special week for you coming up. Stay with us.
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