2.2 Body Mass Index; Brian, Betty, the Hippo & “US”

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most commonly used measures when discussing weight, obesity and our health. It is a measure that indicates overall percentage of body fat. Body Mass Index is computed by taking is a person’s weight in kilograms (or pounds) and dividing it by the square of their height in meters (or feet). A high BMI can be an indication of high body fatness that may lead to health problems but it is NOT a diagnosis, it’s simply a number that does not take individual characteristics into account (CDC, 2022). The term BMI is used sparingly in this course and only when necessary in discussion of baseline levels and the clinical research that supports this course.

Baseline Levels

Following on the previous topic, it’s up to us to recognize that WE can determine our desired baseline level. As this program has a focus on weight, a familiar measurement level we may be trying to adjust and regulate downwards is Body Mass Index (BMI). If our BMI is 35; the peanut tries to maintain our percentage of body fat at 35. If our BMI falls say to 32% too rapidly, the peanut (thinking we’re dying) ensures our survival by having us experience intense cravings for food high in sugar and fat until our BMI is restored back to 35. This is why rapid weight loss plans often fail. It takes at least four weeks for the new set level to be supported by other parts of the brain, namely the hippocampus (the part that stores memories). This chapter, and those that follow, will dive deep into how you think and teach you how you can o

To keep things fun in this course we’ve assigned names to several parts of the brain which we will discuss in greater detail moving forward.

  • Brian: The peanut-sized Hypothalamus or central part that works behind the scenes deep inside our brain to monitor and coordinate body functioning that keeps us alive.
  • Betty: The Amygdala, otherwise known as the emotional part of our brain that records, processes and stores (Hippocampus) our emotional experiences and responses. Betty can influence our perception of everything that happens to us from birth throughout our lives.
  • The Hippo: Short for the hippocampus where our memories and new learning are sorted for storage. The Hippo can be accessed by multiple areas of the brain and is closely connected with Betty & Brian.
  • WE or US: The frontal cortex – or executive system. This is the rational logical part of our brain, it’s US! WE can control the other parts, because we’re conscious, capable of learning, and taking charge.
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