Does a lack of willpower cause weight gain? Or is it something genetically determined? But more importantly, do we have control over our weight, and, if so, what can we do to manage it?
Some say that you should burn the same amount of calories you ingest. Others say you should eat a specific amount of protein, carbs, and fat.
Read on to find out our take on weight management.
Fundamentals of Weight Management
To answer the questions from above, let’s have a look at the system that determines our cravings, appetite, and metabolism. It is time to dig deeper into its components!
- The cortico-limbic system is the ‘cognitive and emotional brain’ that controls food cravings. It responds to the stress levels and quality of food.
- The hindbrain is the ‘metabolic brain’. He’s made of sensors found in the gut that record the amount and quality of nutrients of the foods you eat and ‘tell’ you whether you’re full or hungry.
- The hypothalamus is the brain part that regulates appetite and food intake by merging the signals from the limbic system and the hindbrain. However, the emotional brain can disorient the hypothalamus.
This system regulates your set point.
But what is the set point?
The set point is the weight and fat storage that your body tries to maintain. It's why our bodies are so different. It's also why a diet works for some people, but it doesn’t for others.
If the body senses that you go below your set point, it starts increasing your appetite and decreasing your metabolism. If it senses you go above the set point, it does the opposite thing.
For the people struggling to lose the extra weight, the body stops functioning normally, because it enters starvation mode, thus lowering metabolism and storing more fat.
So, can you do anything in terms of weight management?
Yes - for the most part. Some genes determine your appetite and energy control systems. Others determine how fast the brain receives the signals that you're full.
Yet, you still get to decide what happens to your body.
Here are five goals to consider for healthy weight management.
Goal 1: Avoid Processed Foods To Improve Your Weight Management Strategy
Obesity rates slowly rise despite the increasing popularity of low-fat options that appear in more and more stores. How’s that?
There are three ways in which processed foods affect your weight.
1. You Eat More Calories Than You Need
If you eat too many calories, that is because processed foods sneak extra calories on your plate. These extra calories are not nutritious. They come from fats and sugars that leave you even hungrier than you were before. Here’s why.
The metabolic brain senses the quantity of food that ends up in your stomach, not the number of calories. It also analyzes how many nutrients you take in and, if they’re not enough, it sends signals to the brain asking for more.
Processed foods are mainly empty calories, as opposed to natural foods that are full of nutrients. So, you end up eating more calories to reach your nutrient threshold.
2. Eating Processed Foods Doesn’t Make You Feel Full
Highly saturated foods create inflammation in the body and damage some brain cells in the hypothalamus. The injured cells become leptin (satiety hormone) resistant, and you eat more before you become aware that you’re full.
Thereby, the set point rises.
3. The Brain Is Convinced That Processed Foods Make Life Better
Processed foods overstimulate the reward center in our brain.
Our body is not used to receiving fats and carbs altogether in the same meal. So, when it does, it’s overwhelmed by the dopamine release.
And when the reward system is overstimulated, food becomes addictive, and you start binge eating junk food. As a result, you drive up your set point.
Tip: For better weight management, make a habit out of checking the labels on the packaged foods.
While you try to avoid those foods full of additives, preservatives, fats, and sugars, you might overlook some healthy options that come in a package. So let us be clear.
By processed food, we mean highly modified foods that don’t resemble all-natural foods. There are processed but healthy options, such as canned beans, frozen fruits and vegetables, nut butter, and canned fish.
Goal 2: Switch Processed Foods With Whole Foods
If processed foods eat away at your health, whole foods make you feel healthier, happier, and more creative.
Whole foods are lightly processed or raw and clear of preservatives and additives.
Too many studies show that whole foods are your safest bet if you want to maintain a healthy weight. Why?
- They are low in calories and high in nutrition value, so you can eat more of them without exceeding your recommended daily calorie intake.
- They don’t mess with your appetite hormones and are full of fiber, so they keep you full for long periods.
- They are a source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory chemicals, and healthy fats, such as mono and polyunsaturated fats.
- They regulate your set point in healthy ranges.
Tip: Don’t concentrate so much on the fat intake that you forget about the other macronutrients that enter your body.
Instead of following a restricting diet - like low fat but high carb - focus on the quality and diversity of foods. Include more whole foods, like vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
If you have a hard time switching to a healthier diet because of the constant hunger and cravings for junk food, integrate Ultra Blend Weight Loss Support into your diet. One pill gathers five powerful ingredients that work together as a natural appetite suppressant, blocking fat production and boosting metabolism.
Goal 3: Control Stress So It Doesn’t Control You
While diets are the first to blame when a weight loss program doesn’t work, researchers suggest that people often overlook stress as a factor.
How does stress affect weight?
- When stressed, we eat comfort food to soothe negative emotions and worries. Emotional binge eating starts from within as a chemical response. As we said before, junk food triggers the release of dopamine. Hence, food becomes a coping mechanism for chronic stress.
- The stress hormone cortisol signals your body that there’s a challenging situation coming up. As a result, your body gets ready by increasing the cravings for energy-boosting foods, like carbs and calorie-dense foods.
- Cortisol and insulin determine fat to accumulate in the belly.
- Cortisol promotes inflammation and leads to insulin resistance, leading to more weight gain, accumulation of fat, and a rise in the set point.
Tip: Since you can’t avoid stress, change your attitude towards it.
A good weight management strategy is to learn how to handle stress better. Let’s do what resilient people do!
- Try optimism: Perceive stress as a challenge rather than a threat.
- Be grateful: Gear your mind towards being thankful for what you have rather than what you wish you had.
- Nurture relationships: Healthy relationships are known to stifle the stress response, so spend more quality time with your partner, family, and friends.
Goal 4: Move More To Boost Metabolism
Being sedentary is one of the biggest offenders for weight control.
Working out is a terrific tool in wellness. It balances hormones, regulates the immune system, relieves stress, helps you think clearly, and reduces inflammation while being an effective appetite suppressant.
But there is this common belief that only working out in the gym yields results. When, in fact, three workouts a week aren’t sufficient.
That’s because when you sit for more than one hour, your muscles stop taking glucose and triglycerides out of your blood, thus lowering your metabolism.
Tip: Move around all day.
If your job requires you to sit for long periods, try taking a short break every hour or hour and a half. During the break, pace the office, use the restroom, do a chore that requires you to move, or have a short conversation with your colleagues while standing.
It will be enough to reawaken your metabolism.
Aside from that, don’t forget that your body needs structured exercise as well. Try doing 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise, like running, swimming, and dancing. Add to this two days a week for strength training, like weightlifting and yoga.
How to speed up your metabolism, you might wonder? Well, complement physical activity and exercise with a natural metabolism booster made from apple cider vinegar to lower your body fat faster and healthier.
Goal 5: Get Enough Sleep To Lose Weight
Sleep also shapes your weight. That’s because sleeping fewer hours than recommended - meaning seven to nine hours - triggers some hormone reactions that support weight gain.
We feel hunger because of the hormone called ghrelin. Sleeping less than seven hours a night increases the release of this hormone and decreases the satiety hormone called leptin.
So, because of this unfortunate mix of bodily responses to lack of sleep, we feel hungrier when, in fact, we’ve eaten enough.
Tip: The tip here is obvious. Sleep between seven and eight hours each night.
And remember that getting enough sleep won’t be of help if the quality of your sleep is poor.
Bottom Line: How to Bravely Approach Weight Management
The journey towards better health and a weight you can feel proud of is not a walk in the park. Otherwise, all of us would look and feel incredible without even thinking about it.
While it may take some trial and error until you find balance in your eating habits, sleeping schedule, and exercise program, it will be worth it once you do.
So keep practicing and be patient with yourself. In the meantime, have a peek at our all-natural weight management supplements.
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