Working With Your Brain, Not Against It, For Easier Weight Loss

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If you get my weekly newsletter (and sign up here if you don’t!  It’s a fabulous, free, uplifting health resource!) than you already know I turned 50 this year.  On my birthday I shared my mindframe heading into the second half-century of my life, along with some holistic longevity tips:

Well turning 50 had me noticing perimenopausal symptoms — there is no more denying it — and with that has come a bit of weight gain.  I found myself routinely internally shaming myself for this every single day until I caught myself.  What the heck?  No way, I know what shame does to the health of the body and I’m not standing for that.

In fact, medical studies suggest that fat shaming alone — not the weight itself — can directly increase a person’s risk for metabolic syndrome and subsequent health issues.  Letting go of the internalized stress associated with weight will decrease diabetes risk, heart disease risk and the rate of metabolic disease in general, as shown in this study published Jan 26, 2017 in Obesity.

In that study, researchers found that participants who internalized stress from weight-related stigma were over 40% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than participants who did not internalize stigma.  These results were independent of the actual degree of obesity and other confounding issues such as depression. Weight stigma was found to cause a direct physiological stress response in the body, elevating blood pressure and increasing the body’s inflammation.

The researchers conclude that weight stigma alone is a form of chronic stress that creates physical disease when internalized.

These results suggest it is not necessarily the weight, but rather the stress that our society places on larger sized individuals and their internalization of that stress, that increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and puts folks at higher cardiovascular risk than they would otherwise have.

This is totally unnecessary. If the stress of being overweight was reduced, so would the disease burden. So as a reminder to stop beating myself up and instead review some of the positive things I can do to care for my body better.  Then I created a video for you on those tips, so that you too can become more aware of (and banish) and body shaming you are doing to yourself, even subconsciously.

This is about supporting your body, not tearing it down.  You can make that easier by understanding the way our brain is wired to make us overeat — truly!  It’s not just something you are choosing to do — it’s literally how our brain and brainstem functions —  and ways to work with the way our brain functions, not against it.

Here we go:


Use The Neuroscience Of Weight Loss To Your Advantage!


I highly recommend watching that video because I go into detail on why your brain is wired to make sure you eat, eat some more, and than eat some more, and how this is absolutely normal and no reason at all to shame yourself.  Instead, working with your biological need to eat will help you eliminate poor self talk, relieve some of the stress that is on you, and realign you with the healthiest weight at the perfect set point for you.

After you understand why these particular tips will be so much easier than any diet you’ve ever been on, these changes become very easy to make:

8 Tips To Help You Lose Weight More Easily:



 1. Don’t bother with portion control


Your brain is hard wired to consume as much food as possible, when it is available.  Watch the video above for more on why that is and why it is actually a good thing.  But in order to work with this biological drive, instead of against it, we don’t want to rely on portion control to manage our food intake.

Portion control is extremely unnatural and I would say is almost a traumatic experience to put on your body — don’t do it.  Instead, assume you will literally eat every single thing you bring into your home, and only bring into your home what you feel good about eating.

If you are going to shame yourself for eating it, don’t bring it into your house in the first place.  That’s abusive to yourself and we are not going to tolerate that any more.



2.  Stock your home with ingredients, not packaged foods


This tip helps to mimic the more natural ebb and flow of how our body is meant to eat — food is not really meant to be so easily attainable, so poor in nutritional value, and so filled with chemicals that make food artificially taste better and look better and even addict you to it.  Remember, food companies are manufacturing and packaging food to get your money, not to feed you.  And certainly not to improve your health.  Read this article for more on that:

Meanwhile, stock your home with ingredients that require some preparation to eat.  If food is not easily consumable (meaning it takes more to be able to eat it than just opening a bag or a box) then you are less likely to bother to prepare it unless you are actually hungry.  Eating then becomes something you have to work for, which you will be motivated to do when you are hungry, not just bored.  It’s a more natural way to eat that your brain can understand and vibe with.


3.  Intermittent fasting:


Fasting can profoundly boost your health in ways that go way beyond weight management, so I recommend this tip to everyone, not just those looking to lose weight. From reducing diabetes risk to reducing dementia to reducing cancer rates, fasting has head-to-toe benefits… and doesn’t have to be difficult.

It can be intimidating to think about trying fasting, as images of going without food for days on end run through our minds and hunger pangs set in quickly. But fasting can be as simple as increasing the amount of time you are not eating at night by just 2 hours. Medical research shows that simply not eating after 8 PM can actually be measurably beneficial to your health.

Fasting has been shown to:

  • Decrease inflammation: Published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2007, researchers found that fasting for 12 hours daily decreased all measured markers of inflammation by a statistically significant amount, including interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and homocysteine levels.
  • Decrease heart disease: A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2009, showed that fasting just one day a month (one day a month!) was enough to significantly decrease risk of heart attack risk by reducing coronary artery disease. In addition to that, a study published in Nutritional Research in 2012 showed that fasting for 12 hours a day decreased blood pressure, and when fasting was increased to every other day for just four weeks, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced by more than 25%.
  • Decrease asthma attacks: Published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine in 2007, reducing calorie intake every other day by just 20% allowed asthma suffers to lose 8% of their body weight in only two months, decrease their blood markers of stress and inflammation, and decrease asthma symptoms while improving quality of life.
  • Protect your brain: Improved memory, improved mood, decreased Alzheimer rates, and decreased Parkinson’s rates… all from fasting? Yep. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research in 1999, the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience in 2000, the Neurobiology of Disease in 2007 (as well as many other studies) researchers have found that intermittent fasting can improve neuronal connections, increase the proliferation of neurons, and even protect against amyloid plaques.
  • Decrease cancer recurrence rates: Prolonging the amount of time spent fasting — skipping evening snacks all together and fasting for 13+ hours each night — significantly reduced the risk of breast cancer, according to a study that spanned thousands of patients followed for over a decade. Published on March 31, 2016 in JAMA Oncology, researchers found that fasting at night for 13 hours or more was found to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence by one-third, as well as drop HbA1C levels and increase sleep length at night. Another study (published in Teteratgenesis, Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis in 2002) found that alternate day fasting helped decrease tumor formation, while yet another study (published in Science Translational Medicine in 2012) found that a wide range of cancer cells exposed to fasting showed increased responsiveness and sensitivity to chemotherapy treatments as well as directly decreased tumor growth. So fasting for 13+ hours each night is an effective, drug free, holistic, all natural way to decrease cancer recurrence and help boost cancer treatment.
  • Boost longevity: One study (published in the Journals of Gerontology in 1983) showed that fasting had a greater impact in improving longevity than even exercise did! And a more recent study, published in 2000 in the Mechanisms of Aging and Development, showed short term repeated fasting throughout life resulted in a lifespan that was 75% longer. In fact, a study published in Nature in 2009 stated that intermittent fasting is “the most effective and reproducible intervention to extend lifespan” that we know of… capable of significantly extending lifespan by reducing age-related disorders.
  • Encourage long-term weight loss: Published in Nutrition Reviews in 2015, researchers looked at all forms of fasting… including alternate day fasting, whole day fasting, and even simply time restricted fasting (like a 13 hour nightly fast) and all of these techniques resulted in significantly reduced body fat, significantly reduced body weight, and reduced blood lipid levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Fasting mimics the way our brain thinks about food — that there is times of abundance and times of scarcity.  A time to eat (even overeat!) and a time to go without.  If you can get the hang of fasting, then you truly can allow yourself to eat and overeat as much as you want during the shortened window of the day that you are free to eat.

If you want to try fasting I’ve got the two best ways to do it and I’ll walk you through it right here:



5.  Fix your sleep


Shorter sleep duration as well as inconsistent sleep patterns are associated with obesity.  We have know this for over a decade now, and you can review studies like this one, published in 2011, and this one, published in 2014.   So I always ask patients who are having trouble loosing weight about their sleep.

One medical study (that I shared with you back in August of 2013) even showed that poor sleep for only a few nights caused study participants to gain weight 9 times faster than participants who slept well.  Nine times faster weight gain after just a few nights!

Many (maybe even most) of us live and function daily in a state of catching only a few hours of sleep a night for weeks, months, even years at a time. This has a huge impact on your weight.  If you are feeling exhausted from not sleeping well, than your body is going to urge you to reach for food as a way to sustain your energy. This is your body’s way of ensuring your survival!

So if you are watching your weight or struggling to understand why your best efforts are not good enough to prevent you from gaining weight, examine your sleep.  Give yourself the next month to focus on getting high quality sleep instead of focusing on dieting for the next month.

An easy place to start?  Don’t leave any lights on when you sleep, not even the glow from the TV, which is enough light to interfere with deep restorative sleep.  Then hop over here for some fantastic additional tips on deepening your sleep at night, naturally:


6.  Reduce background noise


Similar to internalized body shaming (a source of constant and chronic stress,) background noise is also an insidious cause of constant and chronic stress that truly affects your health and causes you to gain weight.   Multiple medical studies have found that background noise is associated with increased weight, studies like this one, this one and this one.   Sadly background noise is also associated with obesity in childhood, as studies like this one and this one found.

Think about your day:

  • Do you hear traffic constantly (especially consider if you hear traffic where you sleep at night?)
  • Do you work in an area where there is chronic talking (such as a hospital, a hotel, a store or a restaurant?)
  • Do you work in an area where there are phones constantly ringing (such as at an office?)
  • Do you work in an area that has music playing constantly?
  • Do you sleep with music or a television on?
If so, your risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke, cognitive impairment, higher BMI and more is much greater than it has to be.  What to do about it?  I created a free printable worksheet you can find right here to help you run through easy ways to reduce your background noise exposure.
Meanwhile, a simple place to start is to wear ear protection that allows you to hear (and even improve your hearing) of intentional noises while filtering out irritating background noise.  These simple, soft, effective silicone ear inserts decrease irritating background noise while at the same time, helping to clarify important noises that you actually want to hear.
Calmer sits barely visible in the ear and uses revolutionary, non-electric technology to reduce mid and high frequency distortion without having a detrimental effect on our hearing. You can hear more clearly what you need to hear clearly, while minimizing the constant barrage of environmental noise stressors which have a negative impact on our mental and physical well-being.



7.  Temperature extremes


Research is just beginning to show that things that wake up your body boost metabolism and encourage cell turn over.  Fasting is one of those things, and another one is extreme temperatures.  If you are up for it, ice baths, cryotherapy and polar plunges are fabulous ways to expose your body to cold, if you do this routinely, you can boost your metabolism naturally.  In this free blog post, I have a video waiting for you that I made with my dear friend Stacey when she bravely faced cryotherapy for the first time.  Scroll down to tip #4 on this page for our cryotherapy review!

Heat does it too, and I find heat exposure infinitely easier!  Here is a blog post I wrote for you on the health benefits of sauna.

8. Take supplements that work with your brain chemistry:


In the video I mention Taurine, 5-HTP and a fiber/protein based shake that you can drink before meals to dramatically reduce the amount of food you want to consume.  It’s almost impossible to overeat if you pre-game with this fiber filled protein shake before dinner.

You can find all of these supplements in the Weight Release Protocol I have waiting for you, alongside dozens of other free protocols I’ve created for you, in my online pharmacy here. 


Holistic Supplements

Want More Support?  I’ve Got You


If you want even more support to safely, easily, and effectively lose weight in a way that supports your innate health, I’ve got you.

We can work together to directly support your weight loss goals in my upcoming online health class.  Save your spot right here.

I’ve based this course directly off of the medical literature and my 25 years of experience helping to support patients with their weight loss goals. You’d be surprised that your body naturally knows what weight is the perfect one for you, and it can sustain it at this perfect weight effortlessly once you naturally align your metabolism.

I’ll show you how in a very non-threatening, supportive, uplifting way.

It’s not about being rigid or militant or hard on yourself, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. The harder you are on yourself, the harder it is to align with your healthiest version of you.   There are several other things that are even more important than what you eat that dictate what you weight… and without knowing what those things are, you just can’t lose weight.

Understand the things that sabotage weight loss and the weight releases, naturally.

Class starts June 10th and I’m excited to get started with you. Hop over here to sign up and reserve your spot today:


To your resilient, natural health!

xoxox, Laura Koniver MD