How to survive in the modern world and lose weight.

Will there be enough??    Photo: Brooke Lark

Will there be enough??    Photo: Brooke Lark


Deprivation conjures images of famine, homelessness and scurvy.  Not to mention desperation and loneliness.  The fear of deprivation is in our genes.  In the course of our evolution, deprivation meant death.  Fighting for survival is fundamental to our ancient brain.   

When I was growing up, I had my own fears of deprivation and abandonment.  Looking back, I can see that the fear was not necessarily based in reality.  My mother lovingly dedicated herself to raising my brothers and I.  Yet, my primal fears created a veil between that love and my heart/brain, stopping its vital absorption.  My only point is that fear of deprivation is not always real.  It can exist only in our thoughts and minds.  

How does this fear of not having enough impact our self-care? Especially when it comes to losing weight?  What is deprivation in our modern world?

Deprived: From Merriam Webster, online:

-The disadvantage that results from state of being kept from possessing, enjoying, or using something.  The State of being deprived. To strip, divest, unarm, disarm, take, dispossess, clean out, bereave.

-An act of withholding or taking something away from someone or something.  Famish, starve, refuse to hand over or share, impoverish.

From the Longman Dictionary, online:

-The lack of something that you need in order to be healthy, comfortable, or happy.

When your Nonna & Nonno or your Bibi and Babu were dreaming of your future, they envisioned a life with a good education, free from poverty, war and starvation.  Yet, our modern lifestyle and food is robbing us of our health and nutrition.  They wouldn’t have seen that coming!  Imagine, we are dying of too much, too tasty, and too available. 

Our brain is sending us the message that if we give up what we are used to eating -- the tasty food that has been our comfort, and our companion -- we will have to give up “… something that you need in order to be healthy, comfortable or happy.”  And suffer “the disadvantage that results from losing something.” 

We are now biologically programmed (due to the neural pathways created by our habits) to believe that comfort can only come from overeating incredibly tasting food.  Yet, it is the exact cause of our discomfort and unhappiness.  This is a brain buster.  We can’t imagine depriving ourselves or our families of it, despite what we know about its dangers. 


I am a proponent of eliminating flour and added sugar as well as processed food from your diet.  I want you to add fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, healthy fats and grass-fed meats and wild caught fish to your food plan in order to lose weight, get nutrients and feel satisfied.  Just like your Pa and Nana, I want your health and well-being.

My clients and I, (and thousands of others) have achieved weight loss and increased well-being because of changing the food we eat.  Eating lots of nutrient-dense, great tasting food, along with getting enough sleep and managing stress, have been proven to sustain weight loss, reset your hormones, increase good gut bacteria, better your mood and enhance brain health. 


We must disrupt a broken system in order to set it right.  What is broken? 

Your brain is being hijacked on hyper-palatable foods – food engineered for the best flavors.  Hyper-palatable foods are processed foods that taste super-good, created by flavorists, skilled scientists paid to make certain their products have that "want-more-ishness."

When you consume these sugary and highly processed foods, your brain goes crazy!  The reward center of the brain releases a surge of feel-good dopamine. Then you need more for the same effect.  This begins a downward spiral, resulting in loss of control, cravings and increased tolerance of sugar.  This is true of heroin, cocaine and sugar! This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.  This means that your biology and genes are working perfectly.  Modern food has corrupted the system.


Many of my clients start out fearing they will fail on any new weight loss program. Just the thought of giving up treats (i.e., their comfort and pleasure) sends their brain into anticipated deprivation.  This feeling of bleakness and desperation is real.  It is the dopamine neurotransmitters (that reward center) that require more and more and are now anticipating there will be less and less. 

This is the brain and biology working. 

So how do we get through this feeling of bleakness and desperation?  First off, we engage our pre-frontal cortex.  We know we are not being deprived.  We are not starving.  We call our pre-frontal cortex to the rescue, the executive functioning center of our brain.  It is expert at concentration, awareness, planning and execution. 


Eliminate the addictive substances from your body. 

Strengthen the neuropathways to the pre-frontal cortex.

Become an observer of your thoughts.

Create a plan.

Take action each day. 

Practice meditation (proven to strengthen the pre-frontal cortex).

Learn to process your emotions.

Soon the cravings will dissipate.

You will start to feel better.

You will start to look better.

You will not die, despite that message from your ancient brain.

All will be well.

I promise you are gonna look great in those jeans!