The Reptilian Brain

The Reptilian Brain and how it impacts on weight loss

The brain processes can be divided in to three sections, the Neocortex is the thinker, the Limbic brain is the feeler and the primal, or reptilian brain, is in charge of our basic primal drives.  These drives are also often referred to as the four Fs: Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and…  (my mother would never forgive me if I put that F word here!)

The reptilian part of the brain is like a prehistoric man and lives by the theory that if an action feels good and doesn’t kill you then it is ok to repeat. This means that if you eat a food that is unhealthy but not instantly poisonous your brain cannot differentiate between that and a food that is healthy.

Further on this as the unhealthy option is usually sweet or savoury it can provide other receptors in your brain with a great buzz and so this reptilian brain will seek more of these unhealthy foods to make you happy. And this is one way we might easily develop unhealthy eating patterns.

Another way the reptilian brain prevents us from maintaining a healthy weight is through our adoption of eating disorders or long term poor eating habits.

When you restrict your caloric intact for too long, or too often, your mind will believe that it is being starved of nutrients and will go in to “starvation mode”.  At that time your weight loss will plateau and your body will start to store any fats and carbs that you ingest to save you from dying of starvation.  It doesn’t recognise that your body might be already storing too much fat.  It only wants to save you.

Many of us have followed bad habits of binge eating, putting on a couple of kilos (or twenty…) and then starving ourselves to become slim again.  Unfortunately in time this action will seriously impact on your metabolism.  When you return to healthy eating your body stores any fats and energy just in case you once more starve it.

Then when you restrict your caloric intake again through dieting your mind is justified in this action and will again retain the consumed energy as fat to keep you alive.

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