Weight Loss Meds & The Modern Brain

The following is a transcript of the “Weight Loss Meds & The Modern Brain” video posted on YouTube.

So, a couple of weeks back, I talked about the primal brain and the role that it has in making it seem like Wegovy or other weight-loss medications are no longer working

We reviewed how it is a hedonistic horndog that is always going to be looking for that apple pie. And that if you don’t take care of a few important factors which I mentioned in the previous video, well, then the medications are gonna seem like they’re no longer working. 

But today, I think we have to finish the story by telling you a little bit about, well, what the medications are kind of helping or which part of your brain the medications are helping and supporting. Because clearly, on a day-to-day basis, we’re not all just sitting around and eating apple pie. So, today we’re gonna discuss the modern brain. 

Welcome back to the program, you beautiful people. My name is Dr. Dan. I am a pharmacist turned obesity expert. And as always, I, of course, need you to hit that Subscribe button down below so that you don’t miss another episode as well. Turn on your notifications and, hey, check me out to my other channels @TheOfficialDrDan. I’m on The Tik, The Tok, The Gram, you name it, we are out there. And you can also check out my website, healthevolved.co. Again, that’s healthevolved.co O as in orange. 

So, yes, we have a very hedonistic lizard primal brain So, yes, we have a very hedonistic lizard primal brain that has the sole function of keeping you alive at any cost possible. And it is constantly going to be wanting that apple pie over the apple. But regardless whether you’re on one of these weight-management medications or not, clearly, we’re not all just sitting around, crushing apple pie all day long. And that is because of the modern brain. 

The modern brain or our higher brain, our executive functioning, you name it, there’s multiple different ways you can think about it. But essentially, this part of our brain is unique and interesting, and it is one aspect that separates us from the animals. Despite it kind of conjuring up all kinds of catastrophic thoughts and causing us to have anxiety and existential crisis on a weekly basis. It does play an important role in trying to keep that primal brain in check. 

And the reason it can keep the primal brain in check is because it has the ability to kind of have foresight so it can look into the future and be like, “Hmm, if I ate apple pie every day, as delicious as that would be, probably not gonna be the best thing for my health. It also has a role in our goals, values, and various things like that. So, it allows us to kind of put that longer-term perspective on what is life, and why we do what we do. 

Now, as amazing as it might seem that our modern brain is and allows us to have all of these great ideas, and has built the society that we currently have it, unfortunately, does have a few of its own quirks that ultimately allow it to be run over by that primal brain sometimes. 

And those quirks are, number one, it tends to be very lazy. And number two, it gets tired. It gets tired very easily and very quickly. What I mean by it being lazy, well, let’s kind of use an example. 

Let’s say after watching my video, you’re all psyched and pumped, and you’re ready to go and lose some weight. But you get home, and you know you’re thinking, “I need to eat apples to lose weight.” But all you have at home is apple pie. So, if you were to get apples, well, that means you’re gonna have to get in your car, drive to the grocery store, pick up the apples, drive home, take the apples, wash them, cut them, and then finally, you can actually eat them. And so, suddenly that sounds like a lot of work. And you know what, you’re probably thinking, “Ah, today, we’ll just eat the apple pie, and then tomorrow, I’ll get the apples. Tomorrow, I’ll pick ’em up on my way home. 

So, whenever your modern brain feels that something is too challenging, it’s too hard, it is going to default to your primal brain. It is going to say, “You know what, I put my hands up. We’re done for today.” We’re just gonna default to that primal brain and we’re just gonna crush that apple pie that we have at home. 

Now, the second aspect of the modern brain and the reason why and what I mean by it getting tired very easily is that every morning you wake up, you have a certain amount of cognitive capacity or cognitive fuel if you will. And so, your day-to-day tasks and the people in your life are going to consume some of that cognitive fuel. And ultimately, what that cognitive fuel is needed for is, yes, managing those tasks and things that we need to take care of in our day but it also is needed to keep that primal brain in check. 

If we have a lot of things going on, or it gets to be the end of the day, that tank starts to get pretty darn low, and so, suddenly, you don’t have much cognitive capacity left over to keep that primal brain at bay. And in particular, if you haven’t been properly nourishing your body through the day and maybe allowing your hunger to get a little out of control or what have you, well, you’re really gonna have a tough, tough time keeping that primal brain at bay. And like many of us, your hunger in the evening probably skyrockets and you ultimately do more of your eating in the evening time or feel like you maybe can’t control yourself as well in the evening hours. 

Just like how you get tired by the end of the day, so does your modern brain of trying to implement things like restraint and willpower. And ultimately, it just caves and gives into what that primal brain wants. 

I know it probably seems a little bit doom and gloom because we literally have this primal brain that is always wanting the apple pie, and is very powerful and seemingly relentless at times. And then we have this modern brain that kind of is somewhat on the job, but kind of somewhat isn’t. But as I discussed in my previous video, we did review that we can work on decreasing that signal from the primal brain so that whatever cognitive capacity you have in your modern brain, or maybe things are just not going your way or what have you, you’re gonna be more likely to engage in the behavior that you ultimately want to engage in. 

Now, as I reviewed in my previous video, there are things that we can do to decrease that signal from the primal brain. And medications might certainly include or be part of that, and that ultimately allows your modern brain for what cognitive capacity it does have or when it feels it particularly lazy or what have you, that it can ultimately choose that apple over the apple pie. However, that’s not the only thing that we can do. 

In order to help our modern brain to be as successful as it possibly can be, we certainly can look at number one, making things as easy as possible. Remember that brain, that modern brain always still wants that path of least resistance. And so, if you do things like hacking your environment and setting it up so that that modern brain doesn’t have to work too hard to get you to engage in the behavior you want, well, you’re much more likely gonna be successful. 

And so, some examples of that might be doing things like meal prep and planning, making sure that you have snacks with you when you’re going out. Maybe it’s you’re planning to go to the gym or what have you, and instead of going from work to home and then the gym, you go directly from work to the gym and then you go home. See what I’m saying there? The easier path you can make it, the more likely you are going to engage in that behavior. 

In terms of increasing your cognitive capacity, well, a lot of the things here are pretty hard and challenging to do. It’s a lot of the things that we all know we need to do but it’s kind of the stuff that really sucks. And so, it can include things like making sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep, setting boundaries at work, in your relationships, dealing with stressors and disagreements with your partners and friends, and those various things. And, of course, looking at how you can deal with the various traumas and such like that, that you might have going on from your childhood that may still be dealing, you may be dealing with to this day. 

All of those things are ultimately going to not only increase the capacity and amount of cognitive fuel that you’re waking up with every single morning, but they’re also going to allow to have less things consuming that fuel as you go through your day, and again, more of that fuel you have, the more likely you’re gonna be able to keep that primal brain at bay. 

And as I said, the medication certainly can come in and play a role. They can certainly help and support your modern brain by decreasing that signal from the primal brain, allowing your modern brain with whatever capacity or when things are too hard, or what have you to, hopefully, go in the direction you want. Obviously, it is not perfect because, well, we are human beings. We are an imperfect system as much as we all try to be perfect. 

So, as you can see, it is a complex interplay of multiple-fricking factors that all kind of coalesced and combine and do all kinds of wackadoodle and crazy things that are ultimately going to play some substantial roles in not only our appetite hunger and the foods and stuff that we’re eating but they are also going to play a role in how we manage our weight and how we lose weight. The unfortunate part of it all is that it is a continuous learning process. It’s not like just one day you can wake up and have all of these skills and stuff like that mastered, and that’s because, well, it’s the constant practice of it over and over again, and continually failing, falling down ultimately, learning from your mistakes, getting back up, and trying not to make that same mistake again. 

A lot of give and take. 

So, I hope that gives you a little bit more information about the rest of the story, ultimately, how we kind of keep that primal brain at bay at least, to some degree, or at least, we try to. And, hopefully, it kind of gives you a bit more understanding of where the medications are coming into play and how they’re kind of supporting our weight-management efforts. 

And, of course, over these last two videos, I’ve kind of covered a number of big topic points such as increasing your protein, getting better sleep, all of that wonderful and good stuff. So, what I’m actually gonna do in these following videos here is kind of talk a little bit about, yeah, how do we actually implement those things, what’s kind of some of the evidence as to why they’re important and such like that? And some of the things that you can do to, hopefully, be more successful in your weight-management journey whether you’re using these weight-management medications or not, because fundamentally, when it comes to the medications or even the bariatric surgery, they are just a tool that is gonna help us in trying to manage our primal brain and trying to support our modern brain. 

So, hopefully, that makes sense, you beautiful people. 

If, of course, you got any value from this video whatsoever or you think someone else is gonna get some value from it, please, share it with all of your friends that are out there. And, of course, check me out on my other channels @TheOfficialDrDan, hit that Subscribe button down below, and turn on your notification so you don’t miss when I put out another video. And also, check up my website, healthevolved.co.

And, hey, guess what? If you happen to be in the Calgary, Alberta area, definitely feel free to reach out to me, I just opened the very first pharmacist-led obesity clinic here in Calgary, Alberta where Calgarians and Albertans can come to and can see possibly me or at least our team, and get help with their weight-management journey. 

The pharmacy is called Apothecare Pharmacy, or apothecarerx.ca. All the links are down below, so be sure to check them out. 

Until next time my friends. Always remember small tweaks lead to massive peaks.

Dr. Dan

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