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Inner Chimp in Diet mode - a chat with Professor Steve Peters - author of the Chimp Paradox
30 March 2016

Professor Steve Peters is a medical doctor and consultant psychiatrist who treats many people in all walks of life by using his own mind management technique, explained in The Chimp Paradox. He has used this system to explain why we know what to do but we don't do what we know, especially in the world of elite athletes and all is revealed in his TED talk here, click here and watch it to find out about the alter ego in your head who has the power to sabotage you - it's fascinating.

One you've watched it, if you'd like to buy his book the Chimp Paradox, go here on Amazon. I enjoyed the audiobook which Steve actually narrates himself.

When I first read this, something clicked. I realised it was the reason why I personally was not getting things done, why I succumbed and self-sabotaged and why I could then feel more able to handle the problems that came my way.

So in Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 - tips and tales to inspire, the follow up to my semi autobiographical weight loss book 2.0, I included an up to date chapter incorporating how to handle the mindset of another being inside of us and how to get the better of it when it comes to listening to your body and therefore doing full Freedom Eating.

But then I started hearing all about the gut brain connection. In a previous book of the week, Gut, by Giulia Enders, and others since, I discovered much evidence that changes in gut bacteria affect the brain. in 'Brainmaker' Dr David Perlmutter explains how the lining of the gut is connected directly to the brain via the Vagus nerve and signals sent that way can be affected by the condition of the gut, namely of the microbes that live there. Which we can change, amongst other things, via diet. And pro biotics. (and stress, sleep, exercise etc) So I wondered whether changing your gut bacteria to be more healthy might actually affect our Inner Chimp and its manageability.

Yes, says Professor Peters.

He also described how his work with many different types of people including the overweight, had led to the firm belief that one of the main indicators of obesity was low self esteem. He told me about a woman who he treated as part of a Sky TV reality series helping them lose weight, Biggest Loser style. She came in to see him with her hoodie pulled up over her head hiding her face, otherwise her hair would be down covering her face. She had such low self esteem, her goal from taking part in the series was 'to feel like a woman.' He was aghast. 'you are a woman,' he said, and proceeded to help her use the Chimp technology to regain her self esteem. The end programme showed her tucking her hair behind her ears, taking pride in her appearance etc.

Self-esteem can be linked with feeling isolated, and he then mentioned how not having someone to confide in was another big correlation in extreme comfort eating. So even if you got the gut right, if someone lived a solitary life and felt disconnected, with few friends, and noone special, it would be doomed to failure.

That's why I think it's so vital to join the Facebook group or have a buddy. Several of our ladies on the Till the Fat Lady Slims facebook group have used each other as a buddy system, to great effect.

We also discussed how you have to find out what is important to your own particular chimp, as everyone is different, which was of course music to my ears since that's the basic premise of Freedom Eating. You have to do what's right for you - and in Steve's guidelines, what's right for your own chimp.

Is someone affected by others' opinions, for instance, or is it important to fit in? Well you may do well on a diet. if you're like me, though, and you rebel if you're told to do something, even if you didn't want to beforehand you now do - then your Chimp may need autonomy. Feed the chimp, to reassure it, and in my case, that's with education.

And he also  said to value your chimp since it's at times you are your most happy that it's really the chimp that's emanating the joy and your 'human' is just going along for the ride.

It was truly enlightening to hear his views on this topic and I hope to go to one of his psychology based workshop events, including possible weekends which he holds in Sheffield every autumn. More here.

Meanwhile do go to youtube and search his name - there are lots of videos of talks and interviews - utterly fascinating.

I will be putting the whole audio interview up online soon so do come back to hear the whole thing at the weekend.

And absolutely there will be another segment added to my TTFLS series at some point in the future.

I love learning - or rather, my chimp does.

Have a great week






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