Losing weight is no easy feat. If it were, we’d all be at our goal weight right now, and there would be no such thing as obesity.
If you’ve ever been on a diet for weight loss, you understand that it can be a struggle. Sometimes it seems as though the minute you decide to lose weight, start eating healthy and exercising, you feel like a switch has been flipped enticing you to eat everything and gain weight. Is it really all in the mental game? For those that can stay on track with the diet du jour and lose weight, there often comes a plateau in weight loss and then a gradual return of pounds lost. What are we doing wrong?
According to science, it’s actually our brains that may be working against us in our goal to lose weight.
Sure, we know that a healthy weight is often linked to a lower risk of various lifestyle diseases, not to mention extra achy joints and too-tight jeans, but our brains are wired for survival, and they perceive weight loss, especially rapid or extensive weight loss, as a threat to survival.
In a recent article from NBC News, the brain’s drive to preserve weight and what we can do to balance it are explored in more depth. In the article, Sandra Aamodt
, Ph.D., the author of Why Diets Make Us Fat
, sums up the brain’s response to weight loss as, “Whenever your weight changes too much, your brain will intervene to push it back to what it thinks is the correct weight for you. And you might not prefer the same weight your brain prefers. Many of us don’t.”
Does that mean you have to give up on diets and finding your healthy weight? Yes and no. It’s about working with your brain to make it more comfortable with a lower weight (and less fat), and that means skipping the starvation diet and focusing on eating adequate amounts of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean proteins.
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When eating out, search for dietitian-recommended menu choices near you that can help you eat well without sacrificing.