4 Ways Your Brain Inhibits Your Weight Loss Goals
Losing weight is more about changing your brain and the way you think.
The function of the brain is to help us survive in any way that it can.
Restricting our diet can trigger this survival mechanism and switch on intense cravings.
Understand that the brain is not your enemy and learn how to work with its natural functions.
When you can do that, weight loss becomes effortless.
Do you believe losing weight is only about changing your diet or how much you eat?
It would be great if it was that simple. It would certainly put a lot of weight loss supplement and dieting companies out of business. But it’s not that simple. More and more people seem to struggle to lose weight these days.
Weight loss is more about changing your brain and the way you think.
To achieve lasting weight loss, you need a better method you can use.
You need to understand what you’re up against
Achieving optimum health and reducing your weight permanently will take a lot more than dieting and exercise.
You’ll also need to fully understand the psychological barriers that cause your weight loss attempts to fail. You can’t just sit around engaging in wishful-thinking either.
You need to be on the ball when dealing with the brain.
It has developed over thousands of years to keep you safe from perceived threats. Restrictive dieting is a threat as far as the brain is concerned. It will enforce its control over you if you trigger it.
The brain will use intense cravings, hunger pangs and weakness to force you to eat.
As far as our brains are concerned, we must eat to live. Eating equals survival. It’s something we’re expected to do every day. Of course, we can use our willpower to override this urge, but not for long.
Dieting just isn’t an option for extended periods.
Your body literally demands food, and your mind has lots of influence over your ability to focus and enjoy life when you don’t listen to these cues.
We’re not driven by logic and reason. Your food choices, or at least food cravings, are often driven by brain biochemistry, habit, addictions to the substances found in food, and external stimuli.
Our emotions motivate us the most.
Stress, depression, and other feelings heavily influence our food choices. We usually end up rationalizing for our inability to maintain a particular way of eating.
The brain isn’t your enemy
The brain isn’t trying to trick you or cause you problems.
It’s focused on keeping the body safe. The only reason we crave unhealthy types of foods is that, historically, these were the foods that had the most survival benefits. So we crave fatty, sugary, and high carb foods.
The brain isn’t actually making you crave junk foods.
It just so happens that the food industry understands our evolutionary psychology and has developed the foods and smells that trigger us. Clever, right?
Simply, the brain just wants us to eat enough of the foods that help us survive.
If you give it healthier foods that supply what it needs, it’s satisfied. It’s not forcing us to eat food that’s bad for us. It just probably doesn’t know the difference.
Aren’t we the ones that are putting the food into our mouths?
We’re the ones that are actually choosing the foods to eat. With a lot of help from the corrupt food industry, of course. Our brain is making the choice to eat, but we can decide what that is.
There is virtually no limit to how far people will go to rationalize their unhealthy choices or explain their poor eating habits.
Realizing this power of your brain is helpful in overcoming any excuses for eating unhealthy foods.
Food cues are everywhere
Every day, these food cues bombard our senses.
When your body feels hungry, it releases hormones that make you notice food more. It’s an evolutionary response that’s designed to keep you alive. That makes sense, right?
The trouble is, in today’s world of food abundance, it’s difficult to ignore.
And this hormonal response makes you notice those things that deliver the highest amount of energy, like fat and carbs. Your attention will focus on the cupcake more often than the healthy salad.
These psychological cues can be hard to overcome.
Depriving yourself creates temptation
Trying to cut out foods or categories of foods creates cravings.
Your brain will automatically want these more. It will amp up cravings to get them at much higher levels than if you had just enjoyed them in moderation.
When you tell yourself you can’t have something, it’s in your nature to try to “sneak” these treats. You’re more likely to overindulge in the food you’re avoiding.
It’s better not to restrict your diet too much.
It’s okay to eat indulgent foods sometimes. Rather than feel guilty about eating them, really enjoy them. You’ll be happier and your brain will feel satisfied. And you’ll be less likely to overeat.
What’s with the “All or Nothing” rules?
Rigid rules are always difficult to follow, especially 100 percent of the time.
When we make a mistake or go off our plan, we’ll just give up for that day, week, or month rather than just get back on track. Isn’t it funny how we do this? It’s like an excuse to go back to eating badly until we start up again later.
Many people start thirty-day challenges only to fail after a week or two. It seems they can’t restart their healthier food choices until the beginning of the next month.
This is because they can only think in terms of all or nothing, black or white.
Now that you understand that your brain works this way, the psychological rules that govern your thinking can be helpful in overcoming these forces.
You can successfully change your eating habits in a way that allows for sustainable weight loss.