The Brain and Appetite Control: Can Satiety and Weight Loss Coexist?
I posted this in a Facebook group this morning, and then thought to myself "That is Blissful Nutritarian material if I've ever seen it!" and here I am! I know most of us who consider ourselves "Nutritarian" already enjoy the fruits of this explanation, but for those wondering why we do what we do, listen up! I'm about to divulge the big secret! It's easy to get to your ideal weight if you just give your body what it needs to manage your weight itself, like a good little critter! :D Yes, I just used a smiley face. This is MY blog! Deal with it! Nope, not a professional blogger, but if there were a profession for losing weight, I'd have the Ph.D! Weight used to be such a mystery to me, and now, it's just a matter of simple cause and effect. As easy and logical as going to bed on time to feel rested in the morning (yeah, right. It's 11:31pm right now. We all know how that goes!) but seriously, weight is not a mystery. It isn't even about calories. It's about getting out of your own stinking way and letting your body do it's thing without "micromanager you" sabotaging it's efforts!
I want to share something I learned via Eat to Live and my subsequent classes at Cornell University's "Plant Based Nutrition" Series (based on Dr. Campbell's work in The China Study) about our hunger drive and satiety trigger.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes we can eat a bag full of <insert evil but deceptively delicious food here> and even though we're stuffed, feel the drive to keep eating or searching for more snacks until we feel awful? Why is it, that sometimes, it feels like no matter how much we eat we are never satisfied? A common answer to this question is boredom, emotional eating habits etc, addictive food (I agree) but today I propose we search deeper, to the very root of it all. Ready?
It simply boils down to how the stomach works in tandem with the brain, and how our modern world gets in the way of our own body's ability to independently manage our weight for us. The stomach has stretch receptors (sensors) for bulk to determine how much we have eaten, in addition to micronutrient/phytonutrient receptors to determine the nutrients we've consumed and if they are adequate for our needs. These sensors send signals to the brain, which then sends signals to us asking for more food (simply speaking) or if needs are met, sending a message of satiation, a chemical release, a reward if you will for a job well done.
If we eat a bunch of junk, our nutrient sensors detect the bulk has not met our nutrient needs, and ask us to find more food to fill the nutrient deficit. It is a rather unnatural phenomenon for the body when you get right down to it, as in the natural world where we would be eating whole foods ideally, bulk (fiber) and nutrients are rarely found without the other. This explains why we eat beyond our capacity and feel out of control, unsatisfied and over-stuffed, swearing we won't do it again. Of course, there are always the other factors at play as mentioned earlier (boredom, emotional response etc) but in the end, it all boils down to the foundation of what our body needs (we eat to survive) and what we put into it merely pointing us towards one of two paths: natural functioning (subconscious weight management like we see in the animal kingdom, ex. ever seen an obese Zebra on the Sahara?) and unnatural dysfunction induced by eating what amounts to synthetic food.
When we make certain to provide our bodies with an adequate abundance of fresh whole foods, I don't care if you're a vegan or a meat eater alike, your body will be more capable of taking good care of itself. Further, eating primarily whole foods grants you the gift of living without having to worry about maintaining a certain weight (equivalent to your consumption of whole foods, mind you) or having to suffer through dieting (calorie restriction, atkins, blood type, you name it) etc. Hey, we all need food, and we all need FRESH, real food. It's so easy. No matter what plan you fancy though, even if it is restriction or protein shakes (that's another talk, just keeping the peace, I do NOT advocate synthetic food!!) I think we can all agree, we could all use more fresh produce, fruits, nuts and seeds in our lives! As you can see, it will only further to help you achieve your ultimate goal of being healthy, happy, and free to worry about more exciting things like where to bike today, instead of which pants don't make you look fat :D Because let's face it, biking looks way hotter in spandex that fit! hehehehehe
FOOD FOR THOUGHT! Hope you've enjoyed, have a great day everyone!
1. Eat to Live, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, pages 26-27 Nutrients and Caloric Drive.
2. International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders 17 (7): 409-16; Blundell, J.E., and J.C. Halford 1994. Regulation of Nutrient Supply: The brain and appetite control. (one of Dr. Fuhrman's references from the above pages in Eat to Live)