Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DAY 313 -- Obesity and the brain.

Last night on Biggest Loser, a doctor from Johns Hopkins (Dr. Linden) shared some information with the contestants.  He's a brain scientist studying how the brain experiences pleasure from food.  It was an interesting segment.  Here are the things Dr. Linden shared:

  • A lean person does not crave food as much as an obese person (no surprise there) but the lean person gets a greater pleasure response in the brain when eating.  An obese person ends up eating far more in order to get the same amount of pleasure response in the brain.  Dr. Linden suggests that obese people don't necessarily overeat because of wanting more food, but because they are less satisfied when they eat.
  • Stress hormones go right to the brain and cause cravings (especially for comfort foods).  He recommended exercise, meditation, and playful recreation to reduce stress.
  • Be mindful when eating.  Sit at the table and give full concentration to the experience of eating.  (Don't eat while distracted, like in front of the TV.)
  • We can "rewire" our brains to enjoy healthier foods and healthier eating habits.  It can take weeks... or months.  However, our brains will quickly revert to the old "wiring" when we eat poorly.  So, for instance, if a person decides to live it up on vacation and strays from the healthier diet, the brain quickly re-wires or reverts back to the old habits.
Obesity and the brain.  Mind over platter.


  1. Mind over platter?! cute! but don't forget to use a small plate!

    I am finding that I am full so much faster with the foods that are not on my sensitivity list. What's up with that?

  2. Lynn... Yeah, what is up with that? I wonder why you feel full faster. Interesting. I wonder if....

    * When you were eating foods your body was sensitive to, maybe they didn't process properly in your body, therefore you felt hungrier and unsatisfied?

    * Perhaps since you are trying new recipes you are now paying more attention to flavor and texture and noticing your body's signals when feeling full?

    * Perhaps you are eating less processed foods and more filling foods like grains and veggies?

    Whatever the reason, it seems like a great benefit to following the foods your body needs, huh?