I was going to write about something completely different today, but this blog post got me thinking about something that’s been going on with me lately. I’ve been sick and in and out of the hospital for the past three months. I’m basically all good now, but I’ve lost about 25 pounds in that timeframe. Everyone has been commenting about how good I look, and I’m happy to be back at what I weighed when I first met my husband. But in the past week since I’ve been fully back on my feet, I’ve felt as though my brain were sabotaging my efforts to keep the weight off. I’m constantly craving more carbs, more sweets, just more food than I have ever eaten, even when I was heavier. This article seems to confirm for me what I am starting to realize– my brain hates when I’m hot. Le sigh.
Originally posted on TED Blog:
Standing on the TED stage looking stunning in a blue dress, neuroscientist and author Sandra Aamodt reveals that three and a half years ago on New Year’s Eve, she made a decision: She gave worrying about her weight. Instead, she learned to eat mindfully — and lost 10 pounds. For Aamodt, who had been dieting unsuccessfully for 30 years, this was a major life change. She started her first diet at age 13, and found that the weight always came back.
As a neuroscientist, she wondered what made losing weight so hard. Turns out the brain is an incredibly efficient regulator of body weight. Isn’t weight loss about how much you eat versus how much energy you burn? Nope, it’s not that simple an equation: it turns out that hunger and energy use are controlled by the brain, mostly behind the scenes, and this unconscious force is stronger than mere willpower. The brain has its own sense of what your body should weigh — no matter what you believe — called the set point, which has a range of about 15 pounds. While lifestyle changes can shift your weight within this range, it’s much harder to move outside of it.