in Healthy Eating

One Simple Tip To Increase Your Chances of Losing Weight and Eating Less

When we talk about dieting, healthy eating, losing weight, and so on, we often forget one really important issue that overshadows the food choices we make when we decide to start eating healthier.

While I have already written that eating in a Paleolithic fashion is something we should strive for to get the most out of our meals in terms of healthiness, there is, however, one really important aspect that cannot be overlooked.

The fact is – the majority of diets and eating campaigns that we usually undertake are very likely to fail. The problem itself is a most complex one and cannot be summarized in one post. What can be summarized and explained, however, is that eating patterns we can stick to on a regular basis, are patterns that are not too restrictive, and are healthy at the same time. These are the ones that are most recommended.

(If you just want to read why this is really important – skip to the last part of the post).

We can pretend that we only eat to fill our hunger, but sadly that is not the case. If that were true, food addiction wouldn’t exist, neither would night eating syndrome , emotional eating, nor a multitude of other disorders and irrational eating behaviors. Through different studies, where scientists were observing the reward components for drug addiction, they have come to the conclusion that some drug addicts are taking certain drugs only because of the “wanting” aspect of the reward that drugs give them, and not only because they like them.

What do I mean by that?

The reward mechanism in the brain is divided into two aspects when talking about drugs. One is “liking” and the other is “wanting”. Both of these are controlled by different brain areas. ‘Liking’ has been connected to the nucleus accumbens, among others. Whereas ‘wanting’ has been connected to the transmission of dopamine in our prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and some other areas.

And why is this important, how does this come into play when talking about food?

Basically, when you start a new diet you are committing yourself to a change of eating patterns. You are doing it with the intent of eating healthier. And the mentioned “liking” vs. “wanting” differentiation is what becomes important here. Liking and wanting food takes the lead when we are talking about eating patterns that are strict enough for us to still enjoy them, yet healthy enough for us to lose weight.

 

What am I actually rambling on about?

One very interesting study was observing whether people would react differently when they would eat something they really liked, as opposed to eating something they had no real preference for. [1]

And the results?

When people ate food they liked, their craving (wanting) for more food decreased more afterwards, when compared to a situation where they had to eat something they had no real preference for. So when they ate something they liked, they wanted to eat less food afterwards, in comparison to a situation where they were eating something they didn’t like nor hate.

This has some profound consequences to be honest.

Imagine you are just starting your diet and you obviously want to healthy. You are planning your meals and are picking out food you know to be healthy, but you never really liked the food you’re picking out in the first place.

How do you think that will play out in the long run?

People like to believe that sticking to a certain diet for two months is enough. They think that after a certain time period they can switch back to their old eating habits and the weight will magically stay down. That’s not how it works sadly. And that is also one of the key issues why most such diets fail.

Now imagine another scenario. Imagine you are starting your diet but are picking out healthy foods that you actually enjoy eating.

How do you think that will play out in the long run?

You will be eating less food because of the mentioned food craving (wanting) reduction, and you will actually enjoy your meals during your dieting. Doesn’t that sound intuitively right when undergoing a change like this?

 

To summarize

When undergoing a diet, eating foods that we like will cut our desire to eat more food afterwards – more than if we ate something that was just healthy, but we never really liked. So by eating foods we enjoy, we in return eat less food. This, together with healthier foods in our diet, makes us lose weight with a greater chance. It also gives us the needed flexibility to stay on track with it for a longer period.

One more thing, before you click away.

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