Why you’re not at your ideal body weight


There is one simple reason you’re not at your ideal body weight.

You’re eating too much for your body’s needs.

This seems obvious. So the bigger question is…

Why are you overeating?

(Hint, it’s not because you’re weak and have no willpower)

It comes down to 2 reasons that have everything to do with hormones and nothing to do with what kind of person you are.

  1. Your hormones are out of balance so you’re always hungry

  2. You’ve built a habit around using food for pleasure and escape

Let’s briefly explore each one.

The best intended advice of eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you are full doesn’t work when your hunger hormones are out of whack.

You have 2 hormones that govern your hunger signals: ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin increases your appetite, signals hunger and tells your brain that it’s time to eat.

Leptin decreases your appetite, signals fullness and tells your brain to stop eating.

When you live a healthy lifestyle and get adequate sleep, exercise and eat a healthy low-glycemic diet of adequate protein, healthy fats and plenty of nutrient dense vegetables, these two hormones are in balance and you can trust your body’s signals for hunger.

However, lack of adequate sleep, exercise and a carb, sugar and processed foods-heavy diet block these signals to your brain so you end up overeating because you feel hungry all the time.

I did a whole Facebook live video on that which you can watch here.

The second reason is that you’ve built a habit of emotionally eating.

(And again, it has nothing to do with being weak-willed, so please drop the self-judgement)

Our primal brain is wired to conserve energy, avoid pain and seek pleasure.

These are the 3 reasons are why you emotionally eat.

I'll explain why.

#1: Conserve energy

When your brain discovers something that delivers a reward, it tells you: “Do THAT more”. It memorizes that behavior and creates the desire for you to do it again.

Each time you repeat that behavior the neural pathway gets hardwired and eventually gets delegated to the subconscious brain. This is very efficient for your brain and it becomes a habit.

Next thing you know you’re at the bottom of a bag of chips and wondered what just happened.

#2: Avoid Pain

Life is not always sunshine and roses. Sometimes you feel stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, and bored. That’s a normal part of being a human being.

The problem comes when you think something is wrong with you because you’re not always happy and feeling great.

The fastest way to numb emotions and change your state is through food. It does the job in the moment.

The problem is, it delivers instant gratification with a long term cost (being overweight, sick and unhealthy).

Not to mention the guilt, shame and harsh self-criticism you feel from eating food you know is bad for you, which just perpetuates the vicious cycle you’re trying to escape from.

#3: Seek Pleasure

Processed food is chemically engineered to be overly pleasureful. When you eat processed foods, refined sugar and flour your brain gets a giant hit of dopamine (the reward hormone).

Your body then down-regulates dopamine and you require MORE of that food to get the same level of pleasure. So you end up over-doing it and become addicted.

...So, what to do?

The simple solution is to completely eliminate all processed foods, flour and sugar from your diet and cultivate a healthy lifestyle that keeps your hormones in balance. (I said simple, not easy!)

The bigger challenge is learning how to how to deal with uncomfortable emotions and changing deeply ingrained habits that you’ve had for decades.

This is exactly what we do in Align and Thrive using Ayurveda and behavioral change science. It’s the 2 tools that help you take your life back.

Get on the waitlist for the next session here.

Dana SkoglundComment