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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday science news

Today's discussion begins with an article entitled Willpower: It's in Your Head in a column entitled Grey Matter by Greg Walton and Carol Dweck in Sunday's NY Times. The controversy is between the biologists and nutritionists who believe that the hypothalamus in the brain controls our ability to lose weight, for example, and the psychologists who proclaim that experiments they conducted prove that people who do not believe that willpower is limited do better on difficult tasks.
On the one hand we need glucose to function well and on the other hand, we need to know that we can manage our own behavior even if that includes measured doses of sugar to keep us going.
Of course the both sides are correct.The problem arises when we need to maintain a difficult behavior which needs constant monitoring, such as counting calories, in the face of other events which are stressors. The stressful situation calls for more glucose in order to manage the stress and there goes the diet! We women all recognize the connection between PMS and chocolate.
The trick is to recognize the stressors, learn to de-stress by exercise, meditation, conversation and by problem-solving techniques, to get back on track with the difficult task which needs monitoring without giving up or feeling depleted.
As you can tell, I have been feeling stressed this past two weeks; I have gained three pounds of hard lost weight, have intestinal problems despite strict adherence to the gluten and dairy-free diet.Some of the stress is good stress; the book is almost ready to have the"publish" button pushed.Some of the stress is caregiver stress, which I am planning to solve by scheduling a meeting with the supervisory staff at the assisted living center. I also have a gastroenterology appointment tomorrow to deal with the biology.

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