Admittedly, I began to Shar-Pei just a tad in my 40’s. My once svelt body developed an unattractive teensy-tiny fold or two. No amount of dieting or sporadic exercise erased the effect, and I grew accustomed to my new look. For much of my life I ate with no thought of calories or waistlines, but no more. I refused to actually count calories, but I looked at them thoughtfully prior to ingestion.
Then this bombshell hit. Did you know that after age 20…20, mind you, you lose about a gram of brain mass per year? If you started out with an average 1300 gram brain, that loss of 38 grams might not seem significant, but which 38 grams are we talking about? The part that remembers where I put my keys? The part where I keep track of appointments and events? Both of those vital brain functions began deteriorating a few years back, requiring lists and routines to make me look normal. As desirable as weight loss may be, I find this disturbing, almost frightening.
I used to subscribe to Erma Bombeck’s harebrained philosophy: “A brain is like a computer. It will only take so many facts and then it will go on overload and blow up.” Our parents had a few phone numbers to memorize. Now we have landlines, cell phones, work phones, email addresseses, and a few million passwords to remember. No wonder smoke blows out our ears! Our physiological computers are blowing up. Literally. Or so I thought.
Now that I’ve been enlightened about cerebral weight loss, however, I do recommend brain building exercises. No need to leave your couch. Crossword puzzles. Memory games on your phone. Learn something new. Remain vital. Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Non-weight bearing exercise, (off the couch with you, after all! See how I sort of snuck this in there?) In short, stop this weight loss!