The Psychology of Hunger and Its Shocking TruthAug 22, 2018
An eight month study explored why simple calorie restriction and exercise has failed so many of us. The findings totally blew me away.
The Brains of The Matter
It turns out your brainstem, specifically the hypothalamus, might just be the culprit keeping you from losing weight. When you crave those cookies leftover in the break room, pre-dinner buttery rolls served temptingly by your favorite restaurant or a soda with your mexican food, it’s your brain telling you consuming them would be a good idea.
The hunger or fullness you feel doesn’t just come from your stomach. More often than not, these feelings come from your brain! This is based on multiple factors. Some of it is physiological, where your brain senses presence or absence of nourishing fats, protein, blood glucose levels, temperature, and more.
BUT, and this is where it get’s interesting, some of it is also your brain responding to a pattern of behavior you’ve established.
Interfering with your hypothalamus will trick your brain into giving you misinformation (i.e. making you feel hungry and unsatisfied).
This happens in three main ways: a high carb diet, a low fat diet, and calorie counting.
High carbs increase hunger
Eating lots of carbs will make you hungry. Sneak in those little snacks of bread or pastries or cereal, and your hypothalamus will keep you in a state of perpetual hunger.
Fat reduces hunger
Because the 1980’s told us fat makes you fat, you probably STILL avoid fat. You order the skinny latte, the low-fat muffin, the fat-free yogurt, all in an effort to CUT fat from your middle. Instead, you interfere with your hypothalamus and ADD inches. Fat signals to your brain actually decrease your feeling of hunger. Remove the fat, and you feel dissatisfied.
Calorie-counting stimulates weight gain
This one I’ve experienced first-hand. The day starts with the best intentions. You skip breakfast. You skimp on lunch. You set your face like flint, and your mouth like a steel trap never to open. You get hungrier, but you determine to fight through!
Only…it doesn’t work. Somehow you find yourself driving home stuffing your face with sugary carbs. Science, and your secret binging, are telling you calorie restriction doesn’t work.
Set Boundaries, Slim Down
Bottomline? Let your hypothalamus do the work. Set the boundaries to reduce your carbs. DON’T restrict calories. When you set healthy perimeters (like adding fat and decreasing carbs) your brain will kick in and begin to function properly. One man did it, and lost 50 lbs!!
I know. It feels too easy right? Weight loss is just a constant uphill battle!
Good news is it doesn’t have to be. Practice a healthy mindset to eat clean and eat well. Say goodbye to food guilt, and hello to a new day of weight loss.