The battle against the bulge is a battle most people have encountered at least once in their life. Between the holidays, the food advertisements, and fast food joints on every corner, you can see why this can be an issue. When one is ready to slay their bulge, they are usually advised by many to exercise, count calories, and make healthier food choices.
However one important aspect of weight loss is usually left out and that is the brain. The brain plays an important part in weight loss success and there are many techniques that one can do to help retrain the brain for weight loss success.
What role does the brain play when it comes to managing weight loss?
If you think about it, our brains have been programmed unbeknownst to us to correlate food and certain activities, or to eat in certain situations, or to tell us to eat when we are feeling stressed, sad, happy or any other emotion. The following are some situations in where I felt like I had to eat even if I was not hungry
- birthday parties
- staff meetings
- at 9 am for breakfast, and 12 pm for lunch
I also developed a bad habit of eating when feeling the slightest bit stressed. When I became a holistic nutritionist however, I learned how to reprogram my brain through a myriad of techniques.
Techniques that retrain the brain for successful weight loss
There are many techniques that can be used to retrain the brain. They are not one size fit all. Some techniques work better than others for certain individuals. The most common behavioral techniques used are:
- food journaling
- stimulus control
- removal of junk food
- portion control
What is the benefit of food journaling?
With food journaling, one can take a notebook or print off some food journaling sheets, and record what they ate, what time, and how they were feeling at the time of the food consumption. This can help one learn to see what emotions provoke them to eat certain foods at certain times.
Food journaling can help people learn new behaviors that are not food involved to deal with the emotion involved. This process takes time, and is not an overnight process but will help the person retrain their brain so that they can be more successful at weight loss.
How does stimulus control retrain the brain?
Certain situations can cause one to believe that they are expected to eat. This is more commonly known as social eating. Think about it, if we are at a friend's house for a social gathering like a birthday party or any other party, we feel like we have to eat. We do not have to even be hungry. However one can say oh just have a bite of this, or have a bite of that, and we feel like we are not being true friends or good guests if we refuse to eat.
One can help retrain their brain in social situations by doing certain things such as informing friends and family that they need their support, and to resist offering them food when in these type of situations. One can also do other things, such as truly socialize with their friends or whomever is at the social situation that you may be in, so you are less tempted to eat.
Stress relief without the junk food teaches your brain new tricks
Another technique that retrain the brain for successful weight loss is removal of junk food from the home. If there is no junk food in the home, we can retrain ourselves not to reach for anything sugary or fat laden to eat in times of stress, boredom or loneliness. If we replace junk foods with things such as fresh fruits and vegetables, this can help us retrain our brain to make healthier food choices.
Too much on your plate? Teach your brain how not to take on too much
Last but not least, is portion control. Portion control is something we all are relearning. One way we can monitor our portions is learn the true size by looking up portion sizes online or asking our physicians. We can also use smaller plates, so that we eat much smaller portions than if we do so if we eat on a larger plate. This will help us retrain our brain to learn correct portion sizes so that we are successful on our weight loss journey.
As you can see, it is possible to retrain your brain and make it a powerful ally in your weight loss journey.
Jessica Ainsworth, certified holistic nutritionist with a concentration in weight loss management and is owner of proactol reviews, which was started to share her strong interest in healthy living, losing weight and staying fit.