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EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week, we interviewed neuroscientist Georgia Andrianopoulos, author of the eye-opening new book, Retrain Your Brain, Reshape Your Body (McGraw-Hill). In this fun follow-up, Andrianopoulos rolls out her Wobble Test. Ready to learn more about yourself?

The Wobble Test
by Georgia Andrianopoulos, Ph.D.


This test is essential because you can’t sit down and have a
conversation with your brain. If you could, you might ask it key
questions outright: “So tell me, how is it going in there? Are you comfortable? Can you handle all your jobs without feeling
drained? Are you getting enough oxygen and nutrients? How
about supplies for manufacturing the chemicals that you need
to do your job right â€" got enough? Are you fully in charge of
your systems, or are you so overwhelmed that you are letting
some things go?”

Since you can’t get direct answers to those questions, you must instead look at factors like mood, attention, sleep, physical comfort, and more as your telltale indicators of your brain’s
strength and performance. That’s effectively what you’ll do now
in the wobble test. It will show you how your wobble is affecting your entire life and how the eating habits that have made you overweight are part of a pattern of suboptimal brain performance.

Gaining that understanding will be just the right preparation
for the next step, which is understanding how to tweak
your brain to improve its performance and lose the weight you
want to once and for all.

Answer the following questions based on what’s true for you
in general. Choose the ranking that most closely describes your
experience, and trust your first response. When you’ve finished, add up your total. The minimum possible score is 40, the maximum is 200.

Legend

1: Very much like me

2: Like me

3: Neutral

4: Unlike me

5: Completely unlike me


Take the Test

1. I feel satisfied and pleasant most of the time.

2. I usually wake up feeling rested.

3. I don’t worry about what others think of me.

4. I find it easy to fall asleep.

5. I have a lot of pleasure in my life.

6. I speak softly and slowly.

7. I find life interesting â€" a big learning experience.

8. I sleep through the night without waking and worrying
about the day before or the plans for the day ahead.

9. I can usually control my temper.

10. I quickly get over feeling angry, sad, or hassled.

11. My sadness is usually linked to a life event â€" a personal
setback or the illness or death of a loved one.

12. I tend to find the positive in any situation.

13. I have achieved a position at work that is in line with what I know my abilities to be.

14. I can limit my eating to what I have decided are reasonable
amounts and choices.

15. I can say that my life is close to my ideal.

16. I find time to help others.

17. I find it easy to remember what I have just read.

18. I am a spiritual person.

19. I like playing devil’s advocate and thinking of exceptions to or arguments against what someone is saying.

20. I plan my actions; I don’t act on a whim.

21. I look at what’s right with a plan before I look at what’s
wrong.

22. I am free of sugar cravings.

23. I am free of carbohydrate cravings.

24. I maintain a healthy blood pressure.

25. I am physically active.

26. In general, I have a good memory.

27. I am very aware of my surroundings.

28. I can comfortably manage what I need to do in a day
without feeling overwhelmed or pressured.

29. I am strong and healthy.

30. I maintain a healthy body weight.

31. I am patient when it comes to waiting my turn.

32. I stay on-task until I get the job done.

33. I prefer doing one thing at a time.

34. Things just turn out well for me.

35. I have many friends.

36. I see the outside world as if through a clean windshield, with clarity and awareness.

37. I rarely fret or worry.

38. Life is to be explored and enjoyed.

39. I am very attentive when I need to be.

40. I find it easy to express my feelings.

Total

Calculate Your Score

0â€"80: Mild turbulence (Smooth sailing)
A smooth, efficient nervous system is typically behind smooth-running lives. In a word, you are likely “thriving.” Organized and focused, you set goals and meet them almost effortlessly â€" or at least it seems so to others, to whom you seem lucky and are an object of admiration. You may be the favorite teacher, parent, or friend who exudes warmth and has the sage advice for someone in need. Whatever your chosen job â€" chef, forest ranger, software analyst, doctor â€" you are likely to find joy and fulfillment in the inherent challenges it presents.

You’re creative, thinking outside the box to find practical
solutions to problems.

Where weight management is concerned, weight gain may
come from social overeating â€" two or more restaurant meals per
week. You may also be eating too much healthy food, which
could result in excess weight especially in middle and later life.

(See the book for your in-depth analysis.)

81â€"120: Medium turbulence (A bit bumpy)
Even a perfectly engineered system has its flaws, and the brain is no exception. Your daily functioning depends on whether your score is at the upper or lower limit of the range and on how attuned you are to fluctuations in your energy and mood. Mild turbulence may have little impact on your everyday life.

What impact it has most likely shows up during times of transitioning or periods of stress.

It may manifest as irritability (“Why are all the lights on in the house? Why is the TV so loud?”). You may also find that you are vulnerable to using food inappropriately during such transitions. Emotionally raw from the reentering stress, you reach inside the refrigerator for ice cream or leftovers before calming down enough to plan out the next meal. Typically, this type of eating is done while you’re standing up, still dressed in work clothes or clothes you’ve been in for most of the day, and still not quite acclimated to the environment you have just entered.

Mild turbulence is also likely to impact your eating during
times of excessive pressure â€" if, for example, you find yourself
taking care of a sick family member or adapting to a new job.
Since connecting to life events and emotions is sluggish, the
joy and satisfaction inherent in just being alive may be compromised. Some people look to food, alcohol, or multiple relationships in their search for balance and comfort from this state.

(See the book for your in-depth analysis.)

121â€"160: Serious turbulence (Hold on!)
Chances are your system is wobbling a lot as it tries to compensate for being out of equilibrium. Think of this type of disturbance as a mild mental fog that keeps you from being fully tuned in to what’s around you. You are functioning but not thriving. With this score, your turbulence is present almost daily and affects many areas of your life. You may find you cannot focus on something long enough to finish it.

Sleep may be affected. You wake up way too early or have
trouble falling asleep at night. Both sleep and wakefulness suffer; each intrudes on the other. You sort of sleepwalk through daily life; the brain’s dominant brainwave patterns may be more indicative of sleep than of wakefulness. This is a huge constraint on everything you do.

Serious discomfort usually means serious overeating to soothe the discomfort. Sleep disruption alone can contribute over 20 percent to your weight! When in serious wobble you may find yourself barely having ...    Continue



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@ 12:21pm ET on May 27, 2008
I scored an 80, just made it for smooth sailing. Woohoo!


@ 11:39pm ET on May 28, 2008
I scored a 115. It describes me to a T. I think I need to get this book. YIKES

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