Are you having headaches because you cannot lose weight? You might want to hold your brain responsible for your difficulties. But what does your brain have to do with weight loss? Can you trick it into helping you with your efforts?
Why Your Brain Might Stop You from Losing Weight
So why is it that you cannot lose weight? Experts like obesity psychologist Jim Keller offer some valuable insights.
Mr. Keller has conducted 14000 psychological interviews with people who are mulling over having weight loss surgery. The expert reveals that obesity isn’t about laziness or emotional imbalance. It’s the result of complex genetic, biological and environmental factors. Of course, eating unhealthy food worsens the condition.
Another behavioral expert, Dr. Howard Rankin, shares that it’s hard to lose weight because human resolve isn’t constant. While you may want to lose weight on Monday, you may find your favorite chocolate fudge sundae hard to resist on Tuesday.
Dr. Rankin also suggests that it’s difficult to persuade our brains to like something for which you don’t have an affinity. It explains why people make excuses when they cannot lose weight.
Why You Cannot Lose Weight: Ways Your Brain Tricks You
So your brain’s programmed to get your body to eat, not resist food. It explains why you cannot lose weight. Perhaps knowing how it tricks, you might ease your weight loss efforts.
1. Food prompts
First of all, do you feel an insatiable hunger when you smell pot roast cooking in your mom’s kitchen? The smell is what triggers a craving for it. A study shows that impulsive people are susceptible to food prompts. Food Cue Exposure Therapy might help you control your food urges. Many experts believe that repeated exposure to food may help you predict overeating.
2. Paying too much attention to food
You may have what psychologists call attention bias (you’re too attentive to good food). Making food less visible may prevent distraction.
3. Poor Working Memory
Working Memory is your ability to control your attention. It’s what prevents you from texting as you cross a busy street. It’s also what helps weight watchers keep their attention on their dieting efforts. Keeping temptation from distracting you will aid your weight loss efforts.
4. Drinking Too Much
Do you notice yourself eating more after you’ve had a glass or two of wine? Alcohol, taken in excess, makes you lose self-control. Experts recommend reducing alcohol intake if you want to hasten weight loss.
Also, you may give yourself permission to eat as much as you want after losing five pounds. You may also reward yourself with food after a stressful day at work. In short, your difficulty becomes your excuse to eat.
6. Letting a minor lapse snowball
Did you forget to avoid ice-cream? You may have gorged on it since you lapsed anyway. People tend to eat the foods they shouldn’t because they abandoned their diets once. They do this with the desire to keep to their diets later.
7. Time Discounting
Furthermore, you may binge after avoiding food for some time. The longer the delay, the greater your impulse to eat comfort food. This phenomenon is ‘delay discounting.’
Experts suggest using a strategy known as episodic thinking. It prompts people to focus on weight loss goals instead of what’s enjoyable at the moment.
8. The Hot-Cold Empathy Gap
Another reason you may crave food is the Hot-Cold Empathy Bias, otherwise called the ‘Projection Bias.” You may claim to avoid junk food when you’re feeling full, but forget this when you’re hungry. A study confirmed this theory.
The participants were willing to pay more for cheese when they were hungry than when they were full. That bias makes you overconfident about resisting temptation. You may expose yourself to it as a result. To avoid this scenario, plan for situations when you’re likely to face it.
9. Loss of Willpower
Moreover, stressful situations can lower your resistance to temptation. They deplete the will you need to resist comfort food. When this happens, take some time to relax.
Finally, consuming junk food can ease negative feelings such as anger, boredom or anxiety. You may turn to comfort food because it improves your sense of well-being.
Here’s some help if you cannot lose weight
Are you tired of the way your brain tricks you into bringing? Play a few tricks on it in return.
First of all, when you feel like reaching for a hot dog topped with delicious Jalapeno sauce, imagine a pause button or stop sign. Consider your decision for a few minutes before eating.
Substitute junk food with healthy alternatives that look, and even taste like it. Have soy chips instead of potato chips. You might want to put a veggie patty in your burger, instead of one made of beef.
Also, imagine yourself eating According to Carnegie Mellon researchers, those who visualized eating M & Ms ate fewer of them later on.
Denying yourself the food you crave is a failure trap. Amy Goodson is the author of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat The Complete Guide to Fueling Your triathlon. She suggests that forgoing your favorite foods at once will make you crave them. The key is to eat what you want in moderation.
Finally, you may wonder if you are greedy or hungry. According to Goodson, like yourself, if you’d eat an apple. If you would, you’re probably hungry and deserve a small snack. If not, drink a glass of water to stop the craving.
In all, if you cannot lose weight, you may want to counter the tricks that your brain plays on you.