A new study finds restricting calories may be an inefficient way to lose weight because of the way your brain works.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge found key cells in our brains work similar to a thermostat, automatically burning fewer calories when we eat less and burning more when we eat more. These key cells are a group of neurons located in the brain’s hypothalamus. When they’re activated, they prompt you to eat.
And if there’s no food, these neurons spare energy by limiting the calories your body burns and slows weight loss down.
Severely limiting your calories is not a solution to weight loss. Many people often fall for fad diets because they promise dramatic weight loss. And they make it sound easy. This can be frustrating and may affect your mental health because losing weight and keeping it off is NOT easy. So here are my prescriptions:
1. Look at how you view diets and food. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, that means you need to accept the reality that healthy eating never ends. You eat healthy day in and day out.
2. Balance your cravings following the 80-20 rule. 80% of the time eat whole nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. 20% leaves room for small treats.
3. Watch portion sizes. Eat until you feel satisfied but not stuffed.
4. Weight loss is a balancing act. Combining exercise with a moderate reduction in calorie intake is a good solution to losing weight.
Fad diets are not meant for long-lasting weight loss. Fast weight loss usually means water weight and muscle mass loss. Not fat loss. Instead, you should make a lifelong commitment to eating well the majority of the time. And also move with purpose. That means you intentionally add movement into your life on a daily basis like parking farther away from the door or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.