Obesogens …what an ugly name. As defined in Endocrine Disruption and Human Health, these are chemicals that inappropriately alter lipid homeostasis to promote adipogenesis and lipid accumulation.

I have been working on a Weight Loss Resistance Assessment to identify risks of metabolic dysfunction and how they trigger unintentional genetic switches correlated to obesity and weight gain.

The medical POV defense that it’s lazy, apathetic, weak-willed people “letting themselves go” is insulting when a biological reaction drives over 50% of our current obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease epidemic.

Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters (NT) team up with other NTs and hormones in the body and can override normal behavior.

Dopamine is the reward/pleasure enhancing NT.  When the brain determines an action, substance, or food is valuable for survival, it does all it can to keep it coming. Dopamine stops being an NT at that point and becomes the molecule of MORE!

Dopamine is released just before we “do” the actual action or behavior, and it is secreted due to our anticipation of getting something, not necessarily from obtaining it.

Interesting, right?

With gambling, we push the slot machine button in hopes of winning, although it’s not the winning that brings pleasure. It’s the moment just before.

Once we decide there is a potential payout, dopamine is released. Interestingly the more sporadic the actual payout is, the GREATER the pleasure response of dopamine. 300% greater!

This means the pursuit of “happiness” makes this change.

Happiness IS the literal process of striving to be happy and alive.

If we reframe our expectations, change our perceptions, and curb the dopamine response to lessen the intense drive and impulsivity, our actions and behavior will change.

According to Stanford, certain “reframing” exercises will dramatically alter our perception of stress. This Means stress at work,  life changes, or starting something new affects our pleasure centers, but it also impacts and predicts the outcome of our actions to it, and it all changes by our view of them.

What was considered “stressful,” “emotionally activating,” “unhealthy behavior,” or even “addictive” can be re-written in our mind as beneficial or healthy if we redefine what we “think” is “bad” for us?

These are significant advances in perspective and how we culturally view stress and reward. We can shift the responsibility focused on “bad choices” and “negative behavior” and reframe it as “supportive learning” and “perception training” and start to focus on the other half of the equation…

The elephant in the room….. The unknown biological, chemical and environmental influences impact our physiology and brain chemistry with laser precision and drug-like effects, setting the stage and priming our behaviors and “choices.”

The goal is to keep an eye out for environmental triggers and look for a way to assess the risk we have all around us and cannot see.

Stay positive, my friends. There is much more we can do to pursue happiness, healing, and healthy living!

We can do better! 

Dr. Don