The Brain/Weight Equation
Many factors influence weight.
Not just motivation, not just food, not just exercise.
It's a complex topic, so it's not surprising that it challenges so many people of all ages.
Many factors that affect weight are external yet constantly present in our environment.
Food advertising, social media, health headlines, TV shows and societal pressure from friends, families, teachers, even strangers dramatically influences our feelings, thoughts and actions around food, fitness and health.
For example, virtually every ad from soda, snack and fast food companies is designed to highlight the "palatability" of that food.
To maximize their profits, they bombard us with messages that link an enjoyable life to processed, calorically-dense, sugary foods.
These “highly palatable” foods are purposely engineered to create the exact brain-mouth-feel connection that makes you reach for more. They trigger a receptor in your brain that tells you to eat more. You may want to make different decisions around food -- yet your brain sabotages your efforts without your even knowing it.
There are also many biological factors that affect weight. For example, humans alive today are biologically engineered to hold onto fat for survival.
Centuries ago, this made sense.
We had to store fat to survive -- to fight off everything from harsh winters to saber-tooth tigers to diseases we couldn’t cure.
When food was scarce, we couldn’t order pizza or grab a jar of peanut butter. So we're grateful that our bodies naturally adapted to hold onto weight and fat to keep us alive.
But the world we live in has changed faster than our bodies can keep up. Most of us no longer worry about where our next meal is coming from…or what happens if we’re unable to forage for food.
Yet our bodies haven’t caught up with this abundance. So until we re-train it, our brain still thinks it needs to hang onto weight in preparation for times of famine.
THE NEW SCIENCE OF WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Retraining The Brain
Fortunately, it is possible to re-train our brains to properly handle these biological and environmental factors.
And as we re-train our brains to deal more successfully with these biological, emotional and external factors, the brain stops signaling the body that a crisis is underway – and your body can release the extra weight.
It’s a process that feels like your brain and body are aligned -- not struggling against each other.
Executive Director Eliza Kingsford explores this relationship in her book Brain-Powered Weight Loss.