Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose weight without getting up off the couch?
Actually, that’s possible though it takes a little longer than doing it the more conventional way with training and diet.
That said though, a large part of your success or failure in weight loss will come from your psychology and the way you think about your diet. In many ways, it’s possible to ‘think yourself thinner’ which is due to the crucial role of the brain in hunger.
Combine the right mental discipline, a little cognitive behavioural therapy and maybe an appetite suppressant and you can actually get your cravings under control, thereby enhancing your weight loss!
How the Brain Understands Hunger
Hunger does not really originate in your stomach but rather in your brain. Hunger is modulated and triggered by hormones called ‘ghrelin’ and ‘leptin’. When you consume food, your brain produces leptin to indicate satiety. When you’re empty though and your blood sugar levels drop, you produce ghrelin which motivates you to seek out food.
(Actually, ghrelin is produced mainly in the stomach but it’s the brain that reacts to it.)
This is what causes many of us to head off and try to find food then – the brain’s response to ghrelin. Unfortunately, ghrelin and leptin don’t always work precisely as intended and this can then lead to weight gain and even obesity.
How Hunger Goes Wrong and How to Get it Back Under Control
One problem that can lead to weight gain is being desensitized to leptin. This can happen if you constantly eat more than you need.
Another issue is that you can sometimes stuff yourself before leptin has a chance to kick and tell you you’re full. The solution to both these problems is to eat more slowly and to chew more as you do. By doing this, you give your brain the chance to receive the signal that you’re full and you don’t end up with stomach ache, wracked with guilt.
Another trick to get your hunger hormones under control is to ensure you are getting enough sleep. The longer you sleep and the more rested you are, the less ghrelin will be in your blood and the less hungry you’ll be.
Note as well that hunger passes – your stomach produces ghrelin in waves so if you’re very hungry now, you can actually ‘wait it out’ and you should feel better in 10 minutes or so until the next wave.
Additionally, you can try ‘distracting’ yourself from hunger. This might come as a surprise but just like pain, hunger is actually predicated on our attention. If you are engaged in a computer game, having fun with friends or otherwise keeping busy, you’ll be less likely to notice the effects.
Keeping yourself happier works well too. Serotonin actually reduces our appetite while depression is correlated with high levels of ghrelin!
Finally, consider using some kind of appetite suppressant. These work by either directly or indirectly altering hunger hormones to help you feel less hungry and thus raid the fridge less.