Last year, Renee came to see me in tears. She was a 32-year-old executive who said, “I can’t lose weight and I don’t know why. I’m 160 pounds, yet I exercise all the time. I eat less than my skinniest friends but I can’t lose weight. I limit my carbs and salty foods but even when I eat just a little of them I blow up like a balloon. I’ve strictly followed most of the popular diets, but I’m still 20 pounds heavier than I want to be. I’m exhausted, depressed, and angry with myself all the time. I just want to be thin.”
I realized immediately that Renee was a woman with a young, vibrant mind trapped in an old body. I explained that her brain metabolism must be low if she is restricting her food intake but not losing weight. I told her that together we were going to figure out which brain chemicals she was deficient in, and then build a personalized program for success.
After some simple testing, I recognized Renee was low in serotonin and dopamine. I clearly explained that even with all her best intentions, she would never lose weight without addressing her brain chemistry. In fact, every diet she has ever been on has been a failure because they never addressed the brain chemistry component. So I assured Renee it wasn’t her fault she couldn’t lose weight, she just needed to learn how to address her personal brain chemical deficiencies.
I put Renee on the Younger You diet, focusing on her dopamine and serotonin deficiencies. Once her sleep was restored and her metabolism kicked in, Renee lost ten pounds almost instantly. Now Renee continues to lose weight, and she looks amazing.
Sarah first came to me when she was 33 and miserable. She weighed 155 pounds, which was a lot of weight for her to carry on a 5’5 frame. She told me, “I’m so unhappy with how I look. I get anxious every time I walk into a room, because I know people are staring at me. I feel old, even though I should be in the prime of my life. I need to make a change, fast.”
Sarah told me that for years she’d been counting on the rush from carbohydrates, salt and sugar when she felt she wasn’t as sharp as she should be. Sarah’s BMI was an unhealthy 34% — which is considered obese. Her girth and her complaints made me think she probably had a brain metabolism imbalance, so I suggested a BEAM mapping. The BEAM results proved me correct. I showed Sarah her test results: her sluggishness and weight gain was due to a dopamine deficiency. What’s more, Sarah’s GABA was unbalanced which was why she felt lethargic and anxious.
Sarah’s personal prescription was easy to determine: we needed to increase her metabolism and decrease her appetite. I started Sarah on the Younger You Rainbow Diet, heavily emphasizing to her the importance of drinking as much as 5 cups of tea throughout the day. She also started taking dopamine-enhancing supplements, including thiamine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and chromium. I also instructed her to take my Brain Calm supplements, which would help balance her GABA and keep her on an even keel.
Months later, Sarah came back to my office. She has gone from 34% body fat to 21%, and maintains a healthy weight of 135 pounds. She has a new lease on life. Today Sarah is healthy and active, and feels like she should: 33 and thriving!
Some people can become addicted to foods the way others become addicted to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Food addiction is a compulsive craving for food, and the desire to fulfill that craving. It results in poor eating patterns and binging, (the over-consumption of food), and choosing foods that are detrimental to health, such as those that are high in processed sugars and fat.
For example, Lauren T. was 28 when she first came to my office. She stood 5’7 and weighed close to 270 pounds. Lauren’s body scan showed she had a 42% body fat, which is considered morbidly obese. Her blood pressure was elevated, and blood sugars showed she was pre-diabetic. She was clearly in denial about her food addiction, but that began to change when I asked her to keep a food diary for a week before she came to see me for our next appointment.
Initially she said to me, “I’ve tried every diet imaginable. I exercise, though not as much as I should. I have a small appetite but I can’t seem to lose any weight.” When I asked her what a typical day’s food was like, she shrugged. “I usually skip breakfast. Lunch is maybe a light salad from the deli.”
That “salad” turned out to be anything but light. Lauren wrote down in her food diary that her “salad” often consisted of a plate spilling over with pasta salads loaded with mayonnaise, and hot foods like fried chicken and barbecued ribs. Even when she filled her plate with greens, she often doused them with salad dressings that were loaded with fat and sugar. Her daily salad was weighing her down. Lauren discovered that she was creating a vicious cycle every time she sat down for lunch. Her excessive carb-laden meals often led to overeating at lunch and the desire to continuously consume even more unhealthy carbs throughout the day. When I pointed this out to her, Lauren realized she was really addicted to food.
I started her on the YOUNGER YOU DIET, and taught Lauren how to increase her dopamine so she could break her food addition. By focusing on high protein meals and restricting her carb intake to vegetables and limited whole grains (initially, until the addiction is overcome, avoiding most carbs is best), Lauren was able to finally control her eating. I also taught Laura how to eat slowly, savoring every bite. I explained to her that as she gained weight of the year, the brain allocates the sensations to eating greater and greater importance and slows the time that food signals reach the hypothalamus. Eating slowly allows the brain to receive the message that we are full, and we will learn to eat less.
Lauren also incorporated spices and herbs into her recipes, and started drinking tea. She was surprised she enjoyed the changes as much as she did, and she loved my suggestion of creating tea cocktails: combining several tea flavors. Within two weeks, Lauren started dropping weight. Adding breakfast to her day gave her the nutrients and energy she needed to start right. Eating protein at breakfast filled her until lunch, so she was able to avoid sugary mid morning indulgences. Within a month, Lauren no longer had food cravings, and the pounds continued to melt away.
Tara, a 45-year-old overweight mother of two first came to see me in 2005. She told me she was having difficulty losing weight. At 5’5, Tara weighed 150 pounds. Her body composition showed her body fat was 25%. Her BEAM testing confirmed a 68% decline in dopamine. The reason why Tara couldn’t lose weight was because low dopamine levels had slowed her metabolism.
I started Tara on the Younger You Diet to increase her metabolism. Luckily for me Tara had a great disposition, and she took to the plan with much enthusiasm and determination. When she checked in a few weeks later, I could see she was being compliant with my recommendations.
By the following year, Tara showed a 28 pound weight loss, and her body fat composition had dropped to 20.5%. She also reported she was able to have deeper, more consistent sleep, as well as an increase in energy and self-confidence throughout the day. Best of all, a childhood friend remarked that she looked just as beautiful and even more radiant at 46 than she did on her wedding day.
Anita was a gentle, sweet-faced woman who arrived at my office in dangerous shape. At 47 years old and 5’5, Anita weighed 198 pounds and had been diagnosed with diabetes. With a BMI of 33, she was severely overweight. Her son was the one who prompted her to seek help. He’d just graduated from college and told her he wanted her around to dance at his wedding — and babysit her future grand kids.
Anita wiped away her tears as she told me how difficult it was living with her excess weight. “I can barely climb a flight of stairs. My ankles and knees hurt. I feel more like 90 than 47!”
After a complete assessment, including BEAM testing as well as taking the Younger You Diet Quiz, I determined Anita had an acetylcholine imbalance. Her blood sugar levels were also too high. I told Anita that her elevated blood sugar can have a deadly impact on her health. But I reassured her that health problems caused by diabetes — even the diabetes itself — can be treated and even reversed.
I started by boosting her acetylcholine through the Younger You Diet, which increased her metabolism and decreased her appetite. I recommended additional spices, like cinnamon, garlic and turmeric, which are terrific at decreasing insulin resistance, improving blood sugar levels, and have anti-inflammatory properties. In Anita’s case, because her blood sugars were dangerously high, we changed her current diabetes medication to one that would more effectively lower her sugars to a normal level. I assured Anita that when she took off the excess weight chances were excellent she would no longer need the medication at all.
Anita lost 45 pounds in the first six months of the program, which she continues to follow. She lowered her cholesterol from 221 to 186, and as I had predicted, was able to stop taking diabetes medication. Today, Anita is fitter, healthier and younger than she was when she first walked in my door. Better still, she has a new outlook on life.
Jessica is 50 years old, stands 5’3 and weighs 185 pounds. About a year ago, she’d had enough. When she came into my office, she complained about her weight, but she also told me she was having trouble concentrating at work. She was upset because she had held the same high power job for more than 20 years, but suddenly she felt she wasn’t good at it. This loyal, giving soul was finding every day she had less energy to accomplish the demands of her job. She heard, saw and understood what her tasks and duties needed to be but lacked the resources to complete them. She was desperate to keep up with her genius memory, but found her lack of energy impossible as well as frustrating. When she found herself feeling out of control she ate bagels, cookies and other junk food in large quantities in an attempt to feel some sort of energy rush. But all Jessica got was more, not less: now she was heavier than ever before.
Every doctor Jessica saw had a different opinion, yet none were able to help. One was sure she was hypothyroid; another tested to see if her leptin levels were elevated. She was prescribed medication for depression, uric acid crystals, and chronic inflammation from elevated homocysteine and other markers of stress.
While some of these issues might have been real, resolving them did not allow her to lose weight or regain her concentration. Instead, I decided to work with Jessica using my head-first approach. I gave her a complete physical, including BEAM testing, and found that while she had a 99-percentile memory, her ability to concentrate had deteriorated to 50%. I told Jessica her weight was driving her into perimenopause and if she didn’t take control of her eating, she was looking at a further increase of 40 more pounds over the next decade.
I had Jessica start the Younger You Diet, with an emphasis on dopamine and GABA producing foods and nutrients. I made sure she drank lots of tea, which contains theanine to help enhance her attention and focus. The results were instant and long-lasting. Her dopamine brain chemistry was boosted, her GABA chemistry was stabilized, and her weight began to peel off, like the skin of an orange, strip by strip. Now when Jessica comes in she’s got a determined look on her face and a spring in her step. This is not only because she’s lighter, but because her internal energy has returned so she knows where she’s headed.
Melissa D was 59-years-old, 5’6 and 205 pounds when she came to see me. This divorced mother of three was extremely unhappy with her life. With nearly 65 pounds to lose, she thought she was locked in a hopeless situation. “I don’t understand what’s wrong with me,” she said. “It’s like I have no self-control. I eat constantly. I eat when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m anxious. Afterwards I feel numb.”
Melissa also had trouble sleeping, was feeling more depressed each day, and said she cried at the silliest things — including TV commercials. She would plant herself in front of the TV and blindly eat whatever she’d set in front of her: popcorn, potato chips, a pint of ice cream, Chinese take-out. It didn’t matter what she ate, Melissa no longer found enjoyment in life. She was unproductive at work, and she avoided her family. Food had become her closest friend.
I tested Melissa for a range of obesity-related symptoms and conditions. I found that she was pre-diabetic, and suffered from a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I immediately recognized her serotonin deficiency and started her on the Younger You Diet, paying attention to her serotonin needs. I also started her on a unique serotonin-enhancing supplement formula that I have developed called Brain Rest. This formula contains thiamin, niacinamide, folic acid, Vitamin B-12, Pantothenic acid, 5-hydroxy tryptophan, and St. John’s Wort. I also asked Melissa to keep a food, exercise, and sleep diary so she could see what she was doing — and eating — throughout the day.
These journals proved to be invaluable. Once Melissa realized the quantity and frequency of her binges, she was able to tackle them head on, as well as confront the emotions that she had been burying under all that food. She is also trying to improve her sleep routine, so that she does not get up at night and eat. Eight months later, Melissa is 60 pounds lighter, with only five pounds left until she reaches her goal weight. She is much happier at work and spends time with her friends and family, often visiting her son and daughter-in-law. She feels better than she has in years, now that her eating is under control.
Sophia, a 57-year-old mother and grandmother, came into my office complaining of annoying aches and pains. A bone density scan revealed significantly low bone density for a woman her age. This was surprising, given that she exercised frequently and maintained an active lifestyle taking care of her very active grandchildren. According to her DEXA scan, she was at a healthy weight and had relatively low body fat. Sophia was doing all the right things to keep her body healthy. Yet for some reason, her bones were failing her.
I wrote Sophia a prescription for bioidentical hormonal supplements, but when she left my office, she chose not to fill it. Instead, Sophia chose to alter her lifestyle. She began to step more softly, and she stopped caring for her grandchildren. Soon she noticed she was leaving her home less frequently, and gave up her daily walks. In a few weeks Sophia noticed that her aches and pains were dissipating, but so was her quality of life.
Sophia came back to see me a few months later, and I tested her bone density again. The results were the same. But what had changed was her weight. Sophia had gained the equivalent of 7% of her overall body weight and increased her body fat by 3%. After this startling news, Sophia decided that limiting her activity wasn’t working, even though she was feeling better. This time, she agreed to medical treatment for her bones. I recommended that she start parathyroid treatment to lower her slightly elevated parathyroid hormone levels and to increase her calcium absorption. She also started taking Forteo, a bone-building medication I frequently prescribe to prevent osteoporosis.
After one year on the Forteo, Sophia had her bone density rescanned and there was significant improvement. And Sophia told me that she was once again walking daily and enjoying her grandchildren. The weight she gained came right off, and she told me that she felt younger than she had in years!
Remember, virtually all bone density loss can be reversed, though you won’t regain the height you lost. In the most successful examples, we can reverse the first stages of osteopenia and first stages of osteoporosis.
Larry came to see me when he was 50. He was recently divorced, and while he said his body was feeling fine, he told me he was beginning to gain some weight and was complaining of anxiety, tension and lack of sexual activity.
His AgePrint and routine physical examination revealed he was worse off than he believed: Larry’s cardiopause was at 60 with mild hypertension. He was slightly overweight, but his EKG and pulmonary function test (PFT) were within the normal range. Larry’s prostate was mildly enlarged; his Penile Brachial Index was within normal parameters, with the penis exhibiting normal circulation.
By any standards, Larry’s health was borderline. Many doctors would send him home with just a pat on the back and a “wait and see” approach. But I knew that when overall health even minimally declines — especially with symptoms such as hypertension and obesity — sexual function may also be impaired. I also knew tension and anxiety are symptoms of overall brain deterioration. So I had Larry go for further testing.
A full body Doppler ultrasound was performed to detect blockages of the arteries and veins. It turned out to be the best thing to happen to Larry, including his divorce. The ultrasound indicated a significant loss of circulation to the brain, originating in the left carotid artery. His BEAM revealed severe voltage suppression; his memory testing showed loss of verbal skills; and his personality profile indicated extremely high levels of anxiety. Blood testing revealed low testosterone, with normal levels of DHEA and IGF-1.
Larry was treated with the Androgel testosterone patch; the antidepressant Paxil to address the anxiety, verbal memory loss, and overall brain function decline; DHEA, and nitroglycerine cream. I put him on the Younger You Diet and monitored his vasculopause carefully. A few months into his treatment, Larry reported that he had started dating and had improved sexual functions. Additionally, he lost ten pounds and felt as if he had calmed down. His AgePrint was down to 40 in every aspect of his health. He was ten years younger than when he first walked in my door.