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Strange Ways Your Brain Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts


If you’ve ever hit a plateau when you’re trying to lose weight but can’t exactly pinpoint the cause, the reason might be stranger than you think. It’s not always just repeating the same workout over and over or having an extra drink over the weekend. Here are some ways that your brain might be stopping you from dropping the last few pounds.

Thinking About Exercise

Sure you need to think about exercise to get it done, but thinking about it in regards to how much you’re going to eat can be damaging to your caloric intake. One study found that when people think about exercise they end up eating up to 50% more since they anticipate needing energy and the calories that they are going to burn. This is the wrong way to do it. If you must eat a snack before you hit the gym keep it in the 150 calorie range. And other than that, eat as if you weren’t burning those extra calories at all.

Shopping With a Credit Card

It’s unlikely that cash is your normal go to for food shopping unless you work in a tip oriented industry, but studies have shown that people who shop with credit cards tend to buy less healthy food than those who use the cash. It’s not that the credit card hides the calorie count on those chips, but without feeling the financial burden of it the purchase feels less frivolous and more accepted in general.

Thinking that Your Meal is Isn’t Going to Fill You Up

Here’s another reason to believe that it isn’t just about one calorie in and one calorie out. You could eat the same meal two different times and feel different amounts of satiety levels based on how light or filling you think the meal is. If you look at a salad and think it’s not enough food your brain will start to release more of the hunger hormone ghrelin which will legitimately make you feel more hungry. To get around this, focus on the more nutritionally dense aspects of your meal like the avocado or lean steak. You’re more likely to walk away feeling full that way.

Sitting Too Much

If your work (or play) day involves sitting around your brain might start to burn less calories since it gets the message to stop producing lipase. Lipase is responsible for burning fat, and if you don’t have that going on it’s going to be much more challenging to lose weight or to keep it off. Now some of us can’t get out of sitting at our desks, but anything you can do to move around will help. Taking standing breaks or walking around is best, but fidgeting will work in a pinch. If you can get up one and hour to stretch out your body you can increase your metabolic rate by about 13%. Take that phone call on the go or walk your messages to co workers instead of emailing them.

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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.

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