Retraining Your Brain and Dieting Success
Guest Blogger: Jessica Ainsworth
Most people would like to lose at least some weight, and most of us have been on at least one diet. It is difficult to avoid food, as advertisements for tasty treats and fast food restaurants are everywhere, not to mention calorific holiday food. Anyone planning to battle their excess pounds is generally advised to eat healthier foods, take exercise, and count calories. While this is pertinent advice, it does leave out one important factor—which is the brain. Getting your brain into shape is essential for successful weight loss, and there are lots of techniques which can help.
How Can the Brain Help When Trying to Lose Weight?
Stop for a moment and think about how the brain works in certain situations. It has been programmed to tell us to expect to eat in certain situations, or while doing certain activities. It also tries to tell us we will feel better if we eat when feeling certain emotions, such as when we feel happy or stressed, or sad. Situations in which I felt obliged to eat, even when not hungry, have included:
- Celebrations such as parties for birthdays
- Work meetings
- Regular mealtimes
I am also more prone to eating when I feel even slightly under pressure. This changed when I trained to become a holistic nutritionist as I learned how to retrain my brain using a combination of techniques.
Techniques Which Help Reprogram the Brain to Aid Weight Loss
There are lots of different techniques which can help reprogram the brain, and it’s a question of finding the right one. Some people will find certain methods more successful than others. Behavioral techniques include:
- Keeping a food diary
- Controlling stimuli
- Cutting out junk food
- Eating correctly sized portions
Why Keep a Food Diary?
Keeping a food diary is a great way to keep an eye on eating habits. It is easy to record the time, foods eaten, and emotions experienced before and during eating. It is important to record the emotions felt while eating foods as this can help identify the triggers which spark a need for a particular food, enabling them to be replaced with new behaviors which are not food related. Don’t expect to resolve this problem overnight, as it can take quite a while to retrain your brain to think differently, but persevering will lead you to becoming more successful at losing weight.
Retraining the Brain to Control Certain Stimuli
Certain situations, particularly social situations, often place pressure on you to eat food as it is considered to be sociable. If you meet up with friends at their house, or attend any kind of social gathering, such as a party, you will generally be offered food. Most of us will accept this food out of politeness even if we are not particularly hungry as we tend to feel we are letting down our hosts or are being antisocial by refusing food. It can often help to let your friends and family know in advance that you are trying to lose weight so they are far less likely to put temptation in your way. Facing less temptation makes it easier to retrain your brain not to automatically expect food in social settings. Another idea is to plan outings with friends and family which don’t involve food so that you don’t associate socializing with them with eating.
Training Your Brain to Cope without Junk Food during Stressful Times
Stress is a well-known to trigger the need for junk food, and many others also turn to sugary or fatty foods whenever they feel bored or lonely, and this can be a pretty hard habit to beat. The easiest way to try to retrain your brain to think differently is to eliminate all junk food from your home. If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it. Replace junk food with healthier snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables so your brain gets used to making healthier choices.
Train Your Brain to Expect Smaller Portions
Are you piling your plate too high? Learning proper portion control is an important part of retraining your brain, as many of us put far too much food on our plates and then eat everything. It can help to use smaller plates which trick the eye into believing the portions are larger, at least until the body gets used to eating smaller portions. By this time, your brain will have been retrained to expect a proper portion size, enabling you to lose weight.
Hopefully, now you can see that retraining your brain is a crucial part of successfully losing weight.
Certified holistic nutritionist, Jessica Ainsworth has a considerable involvement in living healthily, losing and maintaining weight loss and keeping fit. Proactol reviews was started to help her share this interest.
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