The Hungry Brain

The Hungry Brain

Have you ever wondered why some otherwise very successful people cannot lose weight? High achievers obviously cannot lack willpower. Of course, it may be a question of priorities in life, but we are now talking about those who are extremely motivated to lose weight. There is something besides willpower and motivation that sabotages our weight-loss goals. It is our “hungry” brain influenced by our hormones! No motivation and willpower can withstand this.

The weight-loss book of the year, The Hungry Brain by S. Guynet, explains how these mechanisms work and how to deal with it. Anyone who struggles to lose weight should read this book.

Here are the main practical applications of the science behind the “hungry brain”:

  1. Fix your food environment. Reduce your exposure to food cues:
    • get rid of bad foods at home and at work (ice-cream in the freezer and cookies in the cupboard), don’t give an option
    • reduce exposure to food cues (even healthy snacks), avoid food adverts and chocolate aisles in supermarkets
    • create effort barriers to eating, e.g. peeling an orange, nuts in shelves
  2. Manage your appetite – choose satiating, low-calorie density, moderate palatability, high fibre, high-protein foods. Add physical activity, enough sleep, lower stress levels
  3. Beware of food reward: stay away from food high in fat, sugar, starch, salt, dense in calories and those highly processed. These foods make you crave more, even after you reached the satiety point.
  4. Make sleep a priority. The non-conscious brain is affected by the lack of sleep. This negatively influences your eating behaviour: you crave not only more food but more bad food.
  5. Move your body. Burn calories and readjust the “lipostat” in you brain
  6. Manage stress:
    • identify if you are a stress eater
    • identify your stressor
    • mitigate the stressor by making a plan and taking control
    • mindfulness and meditation: intentional non-judgemental awareness of the present moment
    • replace stress eating with more constructive coping methods
    • remove rewarding foods from your cupboard (and office!).

The book touches heaps of exciting topics, for example, the success of low-carb diets, “lipostat” set point, why we can get better results on an unrestricted bland diet as compared to portion control of tasty foods, why exercise may work for fat-loss (and why it may not!) and many, many more breath-taking discoveries!

You can buy it on Amazon here.

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Olga
Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.