“I am going on a diet tomorrow!” How many times did you say that to yourself or did you hear one of your friends say that. Dieting; more often than not the statement itself spikes a wave on anxiety combined with a sense of approaching doom.
Did you find that on that same day you made the announcement you raided the refrigerator, and the pantry? And that you had the ice-cream and/or the cake that you did not really have a problem resisting before? And do you see how all that happened because the diet is starting tomorrow!?
Our brains are such complicated things. We have thoughts driving our emotions and emotions driving our thoughts. Both our thoughts and our emotions affect our actual physiological responses.
You think that you are eating more today because you know, logically, that tomorrow you are starting a diet, but that is only partially true. The part that you may be missing, is that a real physiological response is going into high gear. In order to prevent any possibility of nutritional deprivation you are being ‘sent’ to eat. Your brain had been there before. It remembers what happens when you go on a diet and it is already in stress mode. It is determined to not be put in what it would consider jeopardy and so, it will trick you in, oh, so many ways. You can read Dr. Emily Cooper’s book The Metabolic Storm if you want a deep understanding of all the different factors involved in this intricate balance. http://www.amazon.com/Metabolic-Storm-Science-Metabolism-Making/dp/0989690210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426360468&sr=8-1&keywords=the+metabolic+storm The feeling of hunger is one way for the brain to trick you into eating. It revolves around a hormone called Ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced in both the stomach and the hypothalamus. Since food is needed to create energy in the body, ghrelin is created when energy levels get too low from lack of food. Ghrelin then signals the energy imbalance to the brain. The brain then responds by creating the feeling of hunger to alert you to the need to eat. However, it’s important to note that feeling hungry does not always mean you’re actually in need of energy. Hunger may also be initiated due to a lack of water, or may be initiated due to learned patterns of eating — such as feeling hungry at noon because you always eat lunch at noon, even if you had an over-sized breakfast. http://www.livestrong.com/article/482050-how-does-not-eating-affect-the-brain/ Or, consider this, hunger can be initiated by the thought that you are going to be depriving yourself of food because you are now going on a DIET. Leptin joins Ghrelin in being recognized to have a major influence on energy balance. Leptin is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance, suppressing food intake and thereby inducing weight loss. Ghrelin on the other hand is a fast-acting hormone, seemingly playing a role in meal initiation. As a growing number of people suffer from obesity, understanding the mechanisms by which various hormones and neurotransmitters have influence on energy balance has been a subject of intensive research. Leptin goes up and your appetite goes down. Ghrelin goes up and your appetite goes up. That is how it should be in an ideal world. In overweight individuals the circulating level of the hormone Leptin is increased. It should suppress the appetite but the Leptin just does not work. The opposite of what you would expect! It is now established that obese patients are Leptin-resistant. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793 Let’s talk about Leptin resistance. When that is the case, you can have a lot of fat making a lot of Leptin, but it doesn’t work. The brain isn’t listening. No drop in appetite. No increased metabolism. Your brain might even think you’re starving, because as far as it’s concerned, there’s not enough Leptin. So it makes you even hungrier. So we have a brain that thinks it is starving despite the fact that the person carrying that brain on their shoulders is overweight! Now make that person restrict their calories dramatically and go on a diet and what do you think will happen? The brain is already in starvation mode and is going on barricades to not lose the weight. You may just find yourself hungrier than you had ever been in your life…. It’s a vicious cycle: 1. Eat more, gain body fat. 2. More body fat means more leptin in fat cells. 3. Too much fat means that proper leptin signaling is disrupted. 4. The brain thinks you’re starving, which makes you want to eat more. 5. You get fatter. And hungrier. 6. You eat more. Gain more fat. 7. And so on. Regardless of the actual mechanics, the important point here is that past a certain level, having more body fat can screw up your appetite signals and actually make you hungrier. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/leptin-ghrelin-weight-loss There are other players in the game. Insulin plays a very important role and the thyroid hormones are crucial for regulating our metabolic rate. Less known players such as Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) and NPY are important and are being researched as well. I do not want to get overly scientific on you. If you are interested email me for more information. Or read Dr. Cooper’s book. But what is the solution????? • First and foremost: Do not allow yourself to go hungry! You think easier said than done? Here are some suggestions: Eat a big plate of vegetable soup before your main meal. Go for high volume low calorie foods: Large salads with your meal. Eat plenty of cooked vegetables; go for lots green and some orange! Drink plenty of water during your day, when you are thirsty, Ghrelin is secreted and you think you are hungry…So don’t get thirsty • Small frequent meals: Do not go more than 3 hours without food. Snack can be an apple, a few nuts, a small protein bar. This way your ghrelin will not shoot up. • Do not think diet! Think: Healthy, slimmer, happier, in charge….Think: “from this day on I will be eating in a way that is healthy and good for me. I will make sure I will feed my brain at regular intervals”. • Of course you know this, but I have to say it: No processed foods and sugar! Eat whole grains, lean protein; use good oils (olive, coconut, walnut, grapeseed…), fruit in moderation, berries, vegetables, nuts and seeds in moderation. • Exercise on a regular basis. If you are going for an intense workout make sure you eat something before. If you don’t, you will again stress your body and your brain and cause that vicious cycle to escalate… You do not have to exercise intensely to lose weight and gain health benefits. 45 minutes of a good pace walk, or a bike ride, will have a great effect it if you are just beginning your program. • Work on yourself in other ways. Use meditation to keep calm and avoid emotional eating. If you are upset, instead of going to the food, go to your meditation app and listen to it for ten minutes. • I use hypnosis to help my clients and together we tell your subconscious that we promise to feed you on a regular basis and that it can now let go and lose the weight. We tell your brain to let your body work properly and trust you to do what needs to be done to take care of it. Of course, I help you get on a program to take care of your body. It works very well. Make a commitment to take charge of your life and to live a clean and healthy life. Treat your body and your mind with the respect they deserve. Be mindful of what you think and be mindful of what you eat. Choose well and take your time to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Give your brain and your heart the opportunity to be balanced and happy. Don’t drive yourself crazy and never, never starve yourself. The price that you pay emotionally, behaviorally, and physiologically is not worth it. You can consider consulting with your doctor for some blood work. Ask your doctor to test for Ghrelin, Leptin, MSH, NPY, and Insulin. First ask if they will be able to interpret the results…. You are always welcome to come see me for a full program that combines mindfulness and hypnosis with the nutrition to support your body and mind. I am here to help.