Demystifying Food Addiction – the Brain Circuits that Fuel Unstoppable Cravings - Emotional Brain Training (EBT) National Seminar November 15, 2010

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Rewiring the drive for sugary fatty foods offers a promising new strategy for the treatment of food addiction. Emotional Brain Training (EBT), developed at the University of California San Francisco, is based on neuroscience and uses brain-based tools to rewire those circuits. A special teleconference on food addiction and free introductory course on EBT will be offered through November 15th Register at EBT.ORG.

Each morning millions of Americans swear off sugary, fatty foods, but by late night, they are downing a pint of ice cream, that bag of chips or the leftover pizza. The next morning the cycle starts yet again.

Laurel Mellin, national expert on obesity and founder of emotional brain training (EBT) will host a national teleconference on food addiction on November 15th. (Register at Mellin is an associate professor of family and community medicine, University of California, San Francisco and is a NY Times bestselling author. Her latest book, Wired for Joy (Hay House, 2010), is based on EBT.

Mellin reports, "About two years ago, I started teaching clients how to use a new tool to erase the circuit that triggered their overeating. Rather than forcing themselves to diet, I suggested that they focus on erasing the root cause -- their own wiring. Since then, I've never looked back, as the technique has proved so powerful for people."

She explains: "It's all about stress. The seeds of food addiction are often encoded before the age of three. Stressed out parents in challenging circumstances often process stress ineffectively. Their repeated contact with their children downloads that less-than-perfect wiring into the kids and increases the child’s risk of stress reactivity."

"Children typically do well, but if there is a stressful event, such as a divorce, bullying, or a move, the child’s brain responds to this stress with a full-blown stress response -- abject terror. They reach for sugary, fatty food to feel secure, and inadvertently encode a wire that associates overeating that comfort food with survival."

Mellin refers to that wire as a "survival circuit" and until it is rewired, stress activates that wire, which can trigger overeating. Even the thought of dieting will trigger a scarcity panic, an emotional shut down, or they go into overdrive organizing their lives around "fixing" their food problem.

Mellin continues, "Asking an individual, whose emotional brain is encoded with one of these survival circuits, to stop overeating is akin to asking a person who is drowning to stop reaching for a life raft. Yet in health care that is a routine practice in the treatment of obesity and binge eating disorder."

The approach in EBT is focused on dismantling the offending circuit, so that behavior change becomes easier. In addition, the tools of the EBT method encode new wiring of effective stress processing, so that survival circuits will be less likely to form in the future. The emotional brain only changes with repeated experiences over time, so training in EBT requires completing six courses ("the EBT Kits") with online, by telephone or with on-site support.

A teleconference on food addiction and the emotional brain is scheduled for November 15th, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM (Pacific Time). Visit for information and to register. A free introductory course in emotional brain training (EBT) is available at the same location.

Health professionals who are certified EBT providers facilitate on site groups and coaching. Many are providing special orientations and sessions on EBT to coincide with the national conference. A registry of providers is available on the program's website. The pediatric obesity application of EBT, the Shapedown Program, is available at

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