Some of what you are about to read in this article may go against what you think you know about weight loss and dieting.
I’m going to show you how fad diets are actually setting your body up for weight gain, rather than weight loss!
I’ll tell you why that in the unlikely event that you achieve (or even get close to) your desired weight you will have primed your brain and body to be absolutely obsessed with putting it all back on and more!
I’m going to dispel some myths along the way and I’m going to show you how – with your new knowledge – you can start the process to gain control of your hunger.
With hunger, just like everything else that I concentrate on… it’s all down to your brain.
Its a myth that fat / obese people enjoy food more
This may come as a big surprise to many people, but people who are over weight do not enjoy food more than people who are not overweight. In fact, the opposite is true. People that are not overweight actually enjoy food MORE than their overweight counterparts… and therein lies [part of] the problem… but we shall come on to this in a moment.
First of all I want to illustrate to you HOW we know that obese people do not enjoy food as much as non-obese people.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain that makes us experience the feeling of pleasure.
Scientists have measured the amount of Dopamine produced by the brains of non-obese people and obese people using brain scanning machines (fMRI) and were able to conclude that less dopamine was produced and therefore less pleasure when obese people ate the same food as non-obese people.
What makes this lead to increased weight gain is that overweight people still want the pleasure that food gives all of us. However, unfortunately they simply need more of it to get the same pleasure as thinner people.
The positive of dieting and the catastrophic negative of dieting for losing weight
So if overweight people need more food for the same pleasure maybe you can rely on absolute, laser focused motivation to cut food out?
This is how most diets “work”. You lower your calorie intake so that you body is operating a deficit of calories rather than a surplus. It’s simple mathematics, if you’re burning more energy that you’re eating you’ll lose weight. Right? This is actually correct. It’s the reason why people are able to lose weight on a calorie reduced diet.
The problem is that our brains make this approach unsustainable. Not just unsustainable, but our brains will actually look to make you put this weight back on (and then some!) when your motivation wilts and finally fails.
You see, our brains are primed for survival. Not just survival in today’s world, but survival 1000’s of years ago. Way before all of the all you can eat buffets or the kitchen cupboards were filled with all manner of food almost within arms reach at any time. In these old times we would need to forage and hunt for our food. We never knew where or when our next meal may be coming from.
So the reason why we are doomed to fail with dieting is because of our brains inbuilt survival mechanisms, or more precisely 2 hormones. Leptin and Grehlin.
Leptin is produced by the body that gives us the feeling of being satiated or full. Grehlin is the hormone that is opposite to leptin and is what makes us feel hungry and a desire for food.
Our brains are not concerned with how much excess fat we have stored. What they are extremely concerned with is if we are losing fat or their is a significant drop in calorie intake. You could weigh 250Kg and be morbid obese. Yet, you you start denying your body the food it needs to maintain this unhealthy weight the brains survival instinct will take over.
Your brain will slow the production of leptin in the bloodstream and pump your bloodstream with the hunger hormone gherlin.
In effect, what you’re actually doing by dieting is creating a body and brain that is actually food obsessed!
When your motivation gives in, and there will always be a point where it will, you’ll be coerced by your brain and these hormones into binging on as many calories as you possibly can. Your brain is convinced that you’ve been under the stress and potentially life threatening issues of famine. Not only do we need to take on more calories to get us back to where we were before, but we should also eat more to protect us from more of these famines!
So what approach can I take right this moment to lose weight?
The reason why I’ve told you the above is because if I told you what I’m about to, without letting you know what is going on in your brain and body, you would instantly dismiss this. You’d see it as ridiculous advice. Within a couple of minutes of reading you’d be on a different website eagerly inputting your credit card details on the promise that you can lose 10kg in the next week with their great new diet.
However, I’m hoping this new understanding of you and how you operate illustrates why this approach will ultimately only see you losing weight in your purse and ultimately gain more weight in the long run.
So my two techniques to helping you create a sustainable and long lasting weight loss program both revolve around learning to enjoy food more.
Without knowing what you now know that piece of advice would likely sound ridiculous. However, studies have shown that if we pay more attention to eating that we will become fuller quicker and at the same time we are likely to enjoy our food more.
So try to adopt the following mindful eating patterns that will allow you to not only enjoy your food more, but will help you to become fuller quicker and guard against over eating.
1. Whenever you eat, stop everything else you are doing
Studies have shown that when we eat and our minds our occupied doing other things we are far more likely to overeat.
So turn off the television, stop browsing social media and quit daydreaming about the events of the day.
Every time you are eating, condition yourself into the habit of doing nothing else. This way you will be much more aware of the sensations of leptin in your body and make you less likely to overeat.
2. Focus on every part of your food.
Every bite. Every mouthful, be consciously in the moment and aware of everything. From the smell of the food, the texture, the subtle tastes and how they change with each bite. Take your time to really experience every bite.
This will enable you to condition yourself to enjoying your experience with food more. Also, by slowing down your eating, studies have shown that you are more likely to eat less. This is because the release of leptin into the bloodstream to signal that you are full is not instantaneous.
If you’re wolfing down your food, then the delay between the release of leptin and the time you actually feel full can be the difference between a lot of calories.
These two approaches are known as mindful eating and can be incredibly powerful in your long term weight loss plan. Not only will they reduce your number of calories, but at the same time you’ll actually be releasing more dopamine in the brain and leptin (the feeling full hormone) will be released quicker.
These two techniques require consistency, but they do not require the discomfort that fasting or dieting for weight loss can bring.
You might not see 10kg losses in your weight in the first fortnight, but you’re also not likely to see you putting it all back on and them some in the fortnight after either.
These techniques should be used in a long term strategy for gradually decreasing your weight in a sustained and comfortable manner. Rather than a crash diet that sees you lose weight, feel terrible and put it all back on quickly, think of how you will feel in 3 months from now. 6 months from now. 12 months from now.
Try this sustainable method of losing weight that helps you to enjoy food more! Try it next time you eat and notice the difference that it makes. You’ll get better and better at the techniques and the amount of food that you need to feel full will reduce.
Comment below and let me know how you get on.
Watch the quick video above for another benefit of eating healthily that you might not haver thought about.