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Weight-Loss: Mind – Body and Cannibalism (Part 1)

2012 Mental Health Humor - The Limbic System’s Primitive Brain - by Chato Stewart image1In this three-part series, I will discuss how weight loss affects the mind and the body and cannibalism… okay, I’m sure you understand cannibalism (no pun intended), but is is a tongue and cheek attempt at humor. Like what my son said once:  “I know Cannibals are good people, because inside of them they have the heart and souls of many people.

Yeah, my boy has the same twisted humor I do!  However, there is nothing funny about pushing 400 pounds.

March 10th marks a very special day for me. It’s  the 70th straight day I’ve been committed to changing my physical health.  NO,  I’m not “on a diet” – being on a diet only means you can go off a diet! Nope, what I’m doing and have been doing the past seventy days is to overhaul the way I eat. Rethinking proteins, fats, dairy and starches.  I’m finding out what works for my body. In 2003, I weighed 230 pounds – In 2010, I maxed out at 383 lbs.

Weight-Loss: The Mind’s Primitive Brain

Dr. Daniel Amen MD, author of, ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Body‘  was on PBS (Public Television Stations) the other day. While watching it, he mentioned “Limbic Brian” or “the Primitive Brain” (to help you understand this part of the brain, see my cartoon illustration below) referring it to the center for emotional eating for The Sad Overeater.  Dr. Amen says:

These (emotional eaters like me, Chato Stewart) are people who tend to be sad or depressed — they eat as a way to medicate underlying feelings of sadness, depression, loneliness, or boredom. High activity in the deep limbic system is associated with this type. Exercise, focusing on the things you are grateful for, and getting rid of the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that steal your happiness can calm this brain region and reduce the desire to eat when sad.

2012 Mental Health Humor - The Limbic System’s Primitive Brain - by Chato Stewart Cartoon image2

The mix of emotional eating and Bipolar Disorder with its medications packing on the pounds, can have devastating effects on The MIND.  Early in  2010, I met the criteria of Metabolic Syndrome, also called metabolic syndrome X . This includes 5 risk factors which occur together. The way my doctor explained it:  I have a Thyroid issue, High-Blood pressure, High cholesterol, Obesity (I’m super obese; BMI 51) and type 2 Diabetes!

If I don’t do anything about it, I will die! She said the “good” news is that Syndrome X is 100% treatable with proper diet! While I took it seriously back then, I was not committed to change; just committed to a diet.  After 60 days, I was off it and back to my old ways.

Why did I not take it as a threatening call to action? I talked a little about in in my blog post on March 2nd titled: “Weight-Loss: Is It The “Pandora’s Box” Of Mental Health?” The reason was because I sabotaged myself in my MIND!  Whether you’re dealing with a mental illness or stress or other emotional issues, when it comes to weight-loss, if your head is not in the game -that is your mind is not balanced and focused – then you are setting yourself up for failure right out of the gate.

Another thing that is directly connected to my emotional state or my mind is the anxiety I had  about leaving the house. Agoraphobia is a debilitating anxiety where you never feel safe unless you know you’re in a safe place. For me, it’s always been right here in front of my computer in my room that I control.  I’ve been forcing myself to do the unthinkable – get out and go outside for no reason!  The result has been beneficial for my body and mind!

Traditional weight-loss programs normally rely on changing our beliefs system and attitudes toward food by trying to convince the conscious mind that we’re not  hungry…

To be continued

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Mental Health Humor Cartoons

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Check out who made the list of top 10….I’m number 4!


Weight-Loss: Mind – Body and Cannibalism (Part 1)

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels).

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2012). Weight-Loss: Mind – Body and Cannibalism (Part 1). Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Mar 2012
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