Weight Loss with HEALTHeME

Weight loss and good health made simple

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lose Weight by Tricking Your Brain

Weight loss can be complicated.
There's more to losing weight than just willpower.

Has this ever happened to you:  after working hard to lose weight, the scale starts tipping in the wrong direction?  Ever get utterly  frustrated throw in the towel?   A new study explains why there is more to this situation than just willpower.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed 50 people for over a year. What they found was that as people lose weight, their hormones respond by stimulating hunger and sending messages to “eat more”. The hormone gherlin tells us to eat more; the hormone leptin tells us to stop eating. When we lose weight, it appears that the body produces more gherlin and less leptin to try to encourage our body to regain the weight. From an evolutionary stand-point, this makes sense: if your body senses calorie restriction,  it sends messages to eat more in order to survive. But, from a dieter’s perspective, this is frustrating and explains why it is so difficult to maintain weight loss.

Here are simple strategies to help you “outsmart” your body for weight loss:
  • Weigh yourself daily. One study found that people who weighed themselves daily were able to maintain weight loss; their counterparts who didn’t weigh themselves gained back at least 5 pounds. And being accountable for weigh-ins (like texting HEALTHeME or using your online tracker) helps people be more successful maintaining weight loss!
  • Re-fuel with fruits & vegetables. Not only are they naturally low in calories and fat, they’re also high in fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling full and satisfied. So, when you’re body is telling you it’s hungry, fruits & veggies make a satisfying snack with staying power!
  • Re-train your brain. One 2008 study found sugar can be an addictive substance. Get rid of the Halloween candy and make sure you only have healthy snacks on hand. Eventually, you can train your brain to crave healthy foods!
  • Move your body. Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight. Plus, exercise fights stress and boredom – both of which make you think you’re hungry, even when you’re not!
  • Think before you drink. People who drink sodas, even diet sodas, weigh more than those who drink water. Plus, the signals your body sends when it is dehydrated can mimic the messages sent when you’re actually hungry! Aim for 6-8 glasses of water each day!