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New Year Resolutions - are we still good? How physiology can help us in staying true to our new year resolution's inspiration and motivation? 

Like the focus function on our camera, everything becomes clearer if we channel the energy to it. If our photo is not focused well, it becomes blurry. 

Obstacles are all we see when we take our eyes off our goals. 

We need motivation to help us focus and be inspired.

Can physiology help us in getting our new year resolution inspiration and motivation?  Well, yes! 

The answer is dopamine. 

Dopamine in the brain, functions as a neurotransmitter, a chemical released by our nerve cells (neurons) to send signals to other neurons.  One of the dopamine pathways plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour. 

Dopamine promotes feelings of focus, enjoyment and well-being and it also promotes motivation by giving us the drive to perform and achieve.
People who are always motivated and goal-oriented have higher levels of dopamine. Dopamine is also responsible for feeling of excitement upon achievements or reaching a goal.
To stay motivated all the time you need an optimized levels of dopamine.
Dopamine boosters:
  1. Exercise regularly. Apart from the happy endorphins, your brain releases serotonin - to relax you;  and dopamine - to excite you.  Do a HIIT (high intensity interval training), zumba, stair climbing or even walking your dog. 
  2. Norwegian salmon contains tyrosine which is the building block of dopamine. Eat it 3 to 5 times per week. You can also increase your tyrosine from these protein rich foods: almonds, avocados, beef, chicken, eggs, green tea, coffee, milk, watermelon, bananas.
  3. Reduce sugary foods and thus the lethargy associated with the after-effects of sugar rush. 
  4. Avoid fatty foods. It  Fatty foods are built from lipids and polysaccharides. If you have too much of lipopolysaccharides, it slows down the production of dopamine. These are also called endotoxins and as the name says it, they are toxins. With high concentrations of these in the body, your immune system will be impaired. 
  5. Eat probiotics and fermented foods like tempeh, kefir, kimchi and yoghurt.
  6. Get your beauty sleep of 7 -8 hours daily. Lack of sleep increases the acidity of the stomach which in turn affects the production of dopamine. 

  • So 2018 challenges, everyone? 
  • Bring it on! 
  • Stock up on dopamine, people!  
  • And Empower On!
Dee Dee Mahmood, m-award winning Celebrity  Exercise Physiologist & Nutritionist, is currently the Academic Adjunct (International Collaborations) Senior Lecturer of Edith Cowan University Australia. Labelled as the Asia Health and Fitness Icon by Berita Harian. Dee Dee is also a TEDX Speaker. Her science-based signature programmes include Fat2Fit Asia and Walking Football for Health Asia. Ambassadors to Reebok, Celebrity Beaute and Norwegian Seafood Council, her current portfolio includes health and wellness corporate & community projects and international research collaborations. 

Read more about Dee Dee on


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