Posts Tagged how to avoid weight gain

Too Many Decisions Can Lead To Weight Gain

Here is a very insightful article about decision fatigue. Too many choices wear out your brain. Difficulties in compromising—like shopping among many possibilities, when you have limited money to buy your preferred item—also make you punchy. So guess what happens next? Your brain craves sugar, the real thing, glucose…no artificial sweetener. The result is additional calories. Who’d have thought it? And there are many other consequences as well, unrelated to diet, but affecting judicial sentences, your lack of willpower to keep exercising or reject other temptations (your neighbor’s wife?), your ability to keep on working. Check it out after looking over some of these excerpts.

No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue—you’re not consciously aware of being tired—but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain…

These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. Willpower really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

The brain, like the rest of the body, derives energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. The sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions:

Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects.

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control—and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.

2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

As the body uses up glucose, it looks for a quick way to replenish the fuel, leading to a craving for sugar. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Simplest Way To Lose Weight

This is so obvious it seems dumb. But if people get it, they don’t do it. There must be reasons why ordinary people can’t follow such reasonable and clear guidelines. It has to be that ‘reason’ is not playing the major role in directing human behavior. I am going to address this in a future post.

“As the nation’s obesity crisis continues unabated, federal regulators on Monday issued their bluntest nutrition advice to date: drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed foods filled with sodium, fat or sugar.

“More important, perhaps, the government told Americans, “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” Many Americans eat too many calories every day, expanding their waistlines and imperiling their health.

“…make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

“Before, the dietary guidelines said, ‘Eat more fruits and vegetables,’ but that could mean add a slice of tomato to your hamburger…”

You can check out this entire article by Andrew Martin at this New York Times link .

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Can Anyone Fit In An Hour Of Exercise Each Day?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Healthy middle-aged women in America will be hard pressed to get in the full hour of moderate exercise it will take to avoid gaining weight as they age, and it may be too challenging for some.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday found that middle-aged women need to get at least an hour a day of moderate exercise if they hope to ward off the creep of extra pounds that comes with aging.
“Time is a four-letter word,” said Eva Lazarra, 48, a pharmacist at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, who was taking a break from work to lift weights at the facility’s fitness center.

“In a realistic world of a working mom with a family, it can be difficult. I’ve done my best,” said Lazarra. “I have done marathons. I have done triathlons. Unfortunately, we have to start looking at prevention, and that being part of our daily life.”

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are already waging a war on childhood obesity. It may take a similar push in adults to help them avoid the health consequences of obesity such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

Already, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese — a condition that increases their risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Read the rest of this entry »

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