HSSS | The Science Behind Weight Loss | Everyone knows that to be successful in losing weight, two things work hand-in-hand: a healthy, balanced diet, and proper exercise. But who hasn’t tried these at least once in our lives and failed? If this is general knowledge ever since we were young, then weight loss fads wouldn’t be multibillion-dollar businesses as they are now. Various diet programs, weight-management training, and surgical procedures are gaining momentum as they are being adapted more and more by a vast part of our population. But if these weight-loss programs truly worked, why are people still buying into them months and years later? What is really the root of why people keep on gaining weight and resist lasting change?
While the diet business and the fitness industry would have us believe that weight loss is just about counting your calories and hours of exercise, this is not the truth that we actually need to chew on. Though it has, indeed, helped some people temporarily, the evidence that proves that its effects do not last is time itself– the benefits just don’t last. Most dieters put on the weight again after giving up eating certain foods, even with routinary exercise.
Scientists have been studying the answers to this puzzle, and they have discovered that in weight loss, the psychology of human beings plays a heavy role in this subject. Weight reduction is inextricably linked to our psychology, emotions, and beliefs.
If we want to make a difference that will last, we need to understand the three key reasons related to our psyche that affect a person’s weight reduction. The first is stress. Stress slows down our body’s capacity to reduce body fat. This is because stress builds up cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies, and when cortisol levels are consistently elevated, our bodies will not burn fat; instead, they will slow down our metabolism in order to store more energy in case our body will require it. This means that we will not lose weight. This is our body’s defense mechanism to be able to survive.
Achieving weight loss in the midst of a chronically stressful existence requires retraining the body’s stress reaction into a relaxation response. To go from tension to relaxation, we may use the methods of breathing, slowing down, and incorporating mindfulness into our meals and lives.
Pleasure is another fundamental component in the psychology of weight loss. Just like how stress operates against weight reduction, the opposite– a healthy mental and emotional climate– improves it. If stress triggers the “fight or flight” reaction and causes our bodies to slow down our metabolism, relaxation or the experience of pleasure assist in our body’s process of digestion. When we engage in activities that bring us joy and peace, we activate mechanisms in our bodies that help us deal with stress and maintain a positive outlook on life. One of these is the production of endorphins, which are hormones that make us feel happy. It is triggered when we feel an affectionate touch from loved ones, engage in meaningful conversations, or even by just taking a delightful stroll in the park. When we’re experiencing pleasure, we practice mindfulness even while eating. Thus, we are able to pay attention to what we’re putting into our bodies and respond appropriately to the signals that tell us when we’ve had enough to eat.
Lastly, the key component in the psychology of weight loss is our behavior– our core beliefs, values, and emotions. These serve as the foundation upon which our eating habits are built. Our psyches form the basis for our actions. Unless we truly believe that we deserve a healthy and fit body, it is not probable for any weight loss habit to stick. Even if all the recommendations on how to lose weight are spoon fed to us, it’s doubtful that we will really implement any of them unless our emotions and worldview (our psychology) are aligned with our goal of improving our health. The harder reality for all of us to grasp is that people require compassionate help in dealing with feelings, attitudes, and beliefs in order to lose weight long-term and achieve good health.