Columns and Commentary

Qwick Takes: can the brain be rewired for weight loss?

January 18, 2022

Posted by Irina Slav

This week on, Deputy Editor Erica Thompson reached out to Qwoted’s community of experts to ask them if it is possible to rewire the brain for weight loss?

Check out some of the top commentary:

Dr. Christopher Cortman, Doctor of Psychology / Psychologist at The Social Black Belt

Physiological addiction and psychological reliance are two well-known concepts, but what MOST people don’t know is that even nasty addictions, like nicotine, are broken if the person can remain nicotine-free for about five days. This is also true, give or take a few days, for other substances like cocaine, ethanol (alcohol), and sugar. It is also a well-known fact that you can create a habit in approximately three weeks, just by doing the same thing every day.

One of my patients decided that she would go to the gym daily for 100 straight days, rain or shine. She noted after a little more than a month that she not only looked forward to getting to the gym, but she felt as if she “needed it.” She had essentially rewired her brain to realize that exercise was important and absolutely necessary to her happiness and well-being. In the course of her rewiring, she lost 62 pounds in eight months.”

Angela Karanja, Psychologist at Raising Remarkable Teenagers

Most people know that a slight shift to the steering wheel can take you to a whole different destination. So, it is with a change in beliefs – brain rewiring. Body weight is a reflection of our beliefs about self, i.e thoughts, feelings and actions whether we know this consciously or not.

To change this, requires that we make firm intentional decisions to challenge current beliefs by creating an ideal image of ourselves that has an energy greater than our hardwired programming about our weight and then rehearsing it. This is a neuroscientific mirroring process that installs the circuits in our brain so that the brain and body begin to believe this image to be real.

The rehearsing process helps the person get to a point where this new image is transcendent of the former existing image of self. Then there’s the process of getting your feelings in harmony with that image(i.e) there’s no polarity, disbelief or resistance.”


Doug Sands, Consulting Hypnotist at Anywhere Hypnosis LLC 

Our weight ultimately comes down to habits. That’s what every single type of change – including hypnosis – is all about. We default to our habits because our brain has so much information to deal with daily.

Sometimes our habits don’t actually help us in the long run, but they solve a short-term problem. So many of us use food for reasons other than hunger. We use it to avoid feeling certain things – stress, anger, boredom – and to feel other things – connected, valued, loved.

Your brain isn’t broken. In fact, it’s running perfectly. It’s simply running an imperfect program perfectly. That’s a habit. But habits can be changed, whether with willpower, hypnosis, or something else entirely.”

Kathrine Brown, Founder and Coach at Conscious Weight Loss

With binge eating, my brain would get hijacked by the trigger food and couldn’t stop. Instead of diving to the bottom of a family-size bag of cheese puffs, I learned to portion them out into snack-size bags but then put all the snack bags into the larger bag. This gave my brain the visual cues it needed to pause between servings but still retain my choice to have more, which is critical. And yes, I would have more, but the amount trended downward. 

Food addictions can blindside the brain. One minute, I’m entering the mall door to run an errand; the next minute I’m jonesing just for a whiff of the food court. Physically walking out the door and granting myself a ‘do-over’ is enough to switch my brain from its emotional function to its executive function – where choice resides – to realize I wasn’t even hungry for anything a moment earlier. With practice, we can do this mentally.”


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