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We've been going about dieting the wrong way, and this book gets to the source of our weight-loss problems.

Photo credit: CreateHER Stock

This post is sponsored by Harmony Books, publishers of The Prime.

When it comes to weight-loss motivators, the start of a new year is up there with wedding and bikini season. The new year rolls around, and we make plans to eat better and exercise more, trusting that sheer willpower will melt away the pounds in time for whatever deadline we’ve set on January 1.

Yet, as we all know, it rarely works out that way. But it isn’t because we’re “bad” or unable to lose weight; it’s because our bodies aren’t neurologically adapted to accept these new changes we’re imposing through our resolutions. We’re actually “doing it backwards,” says integrative neurologist Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, the author of The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss.

“There’s this really important biochemical step missing,” Dr. Chaudhary tells mater mea. “It’s a little bit like sending somebody out to climb a mountain, then saying, ‘I’m sorry, I forgot to give you the rope, and the shoes that you need to be wearing.'”

Positive neuroadaptation makes you crave…habits that keep you healthier

According to Dr. Chaudhary, that biochemical step is overcoming your own biochemistry. The way we eat today has essentially hijacked our bodies, making us addicted to food that creates toxic inflammation, which can damage our bodies and brains. These foods reward our brains with feel-good sensations that unwittingly make us addicts to behaviors that hurt our bodies (and unable to stick to a diet, despite our good intentions). When we try to eat well, we don’t get the same “high” and biochemical response we’re used to; by using a mix of herbs, teas, spices, meditation, and mindfulness, The Prime prepares the body to accept better choices instead of fighting them.

“Positive neuroadaptation makes you crave, require, and be ‘addicted’ to habits that keep you healthier, feeling better, thinking clearer, and at a normal body weight,” she writes.

The Prime is a weight-loss system unlike any I’ve ever encountered before. For one, it wasn’t meant to help you lose weight, and doesn’t tell you to change the way you’re currently eat.

Dr. Chaudhary created a system rooted in the Ayurvedic practices of her youth for her patients suffering from neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Along with the intended purpose of reversing symptoms and increasing brain function, many patients were also experiencing dramatic weight loss, she says. Thanks to her recommended lifestyle changes, patients were choosing to eat better on their own, as they became more attuned to what their bodies actually needed.

While reading The Prime, I also felt like I had more of an understanding of how bodies work. If you’re like me, the most you know about your body—the way it really works—is based on what you can remember from a handful of biology lessons (read: not much). Before delving into the process, Dr. Chaudhary walks you through how our bodies and brains are affected by our food choices, and what The Prime system does to correct it in laymen’s terms that are easy to digest. (I found myself saying “Oooh, so that’s why I’m so bloated/sleepy/hungry/etc.” at many a passage.)

After taking a Gut IQ test to determine your current state, The Prime is composed of four stages, all working to reverse the damage done by clearing the body of toxins and inflammation that cause low energy, weight gain, depression, and disease:

Stage One: Activate A Biochemical Shift

Stage Two: Crush Cravings

Stage Three: Ignite Energy And Fat

Stage Four: Biohack Your Lifestyle Choices

Each stage takes two to four weeks, depending on how you did on the Gut IQ. (My answers landed me in the Moderate Track—three weeks per stage.) It’s a deep detox, unlike the juice cleanses we’re so used to seeing.

“Shorter cleanses take care of the toxins on the ‘surface,’ which is important,” Dr. Chaudhary writes, “but they don’t even begin to address the toxins that have been held by the organs for so many years.” And much like an addict going through a detox, there are some side effects—headaches, breakouts, and irritability, to name a few. But, she writes, “trust me when I tell you that these uncomfortable symptoms will subside.”

Reading through each section, I encountered concepts I’d never heard of before—dry brushing with a silk glove to decrease cellulite, drinking bone broth for its nutrients and anti-inflammatory powers, taking berries and herbs like triphala and brahmi to increase colon and brain function, respectively. And even though most of these items can be found in health stores and online (this site packages everything that you need for The Prime), it started feeling a little out of my reach, like it was one more thing to do.

But Dr. Chaudhary gave two convincing reasons why The Prime is worth a shot. One, it works and the results last. And two, taking control of how your body fundamentally works is the best form of self-care there is.

“I think for women in particular, we have so much responsibility. No matter what else we’re doing, the responsibility of the household always weighs heavy on our minds and our hearts,” she says. “We’re trying to take care of our families, we’re trying to contribute to our household, [and] to society as much as we can. You can’t do that until you have a strong physical, mental, and emotional basis. If this program didn’t help anyone to restructure that, I would say, ‘Yeah, this is just one more thing.’ But it genuinely helps you to completely restructure your life. 

“So it’s not self-care, like, ‘I should go get a pedicure,'” she continues. “It’s self-care, like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to completely transform myself on a cellular basis and be this tsunami of influence in my family.'”

And if you can lose a few pounds while doing it, it doesn’t hurt—I’ll definitely be trying out The Prime in the new year.

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Tomi Akitunde is the founder of mater mea.


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