Suppose you had a “fat knife” that blasted out a loud “STOP!” Message your brain once you’ve accumulated enough fat. Suddenly you don’t feel like eating pizza, ice cream or potato chips anymore. You would look at these favorite foods, even smell their enticing smells and not even be tempted. Or maybe you would decide to eat anyway, and your metabolism would rev up just to burn off the extra calories.
Nice fantasy, isn’t it? Well, it’s not that far fetched. Believe it or not, you have this built-in mechanism. Why then, ask yourself, even though you think you’re overweight or have trouble maintaining your weight, do you always feel compelled to eat? And why are you gaining weight if you’re not holding back?
Well, maybe your gauge is broken. Or maybe his alarm isn’t loud enough to trigger a reaction in your brain. And that’s too bad. Because this mechanism is so powerful that people in whom it works never have to resist the temptation to eat when they are not hungry. Maintaining a healthy weight comes naturally to them; It’s not something they have to work on through withdrawal diets and long hours in the gym.
Unfortunately, for too many of us, this powerful weight management system has gone awry. Food continues to tempt us long after our caloric needs have been met. And extra calories lead to extra pounds. Our body no longer knows how to regulate its “set value”, the biologically ideal level for us.
But no worry. I offer you information to help you learn how to reset this powerful mechanism so your body can naturally reach its healthiest weight. You’ll be able to eat normally without thinking about calories and allow your hunger/satiety/appetite levels to regulate what and when you eat in a remarkably efficient mechanism. Eating will be easy and enjoyable.
Target value: your ideal weight
When working properly, this weight-regulating mechanism is as precise as the most sophisticated scientific instrument. Do not believe me? Just imagine a fifty-year-old woman who weighs about five pounds more than she did when she was twenty. If she eats about 2,000 calories a day, she’ll eat about 22 million calories over the course of thirty years. Since five pounds of body fat stores about 17,500 calories, that means her body was consuming and expelling just 0.08 percent less energy. This equates to a difference of about 50 calories per month – fewer than the calories in an egg!
In other words, their energy balance has been regulated with an accuracy of more than 99.9 percent! How many things in life can you say that about? Surely you can’t be so specific by trying to exercise your own willpower on what you eat and how much you exercise.
Until recent decades, maintaining adult weight over long periods of time was the norm and an effortless process. A research study from the 1970s showed that the average weight of a 60-year-old man was only 4 to 5 pounds heavier than the average 30-year-old man. This type of weight maintenance is no accident.
So why fight? Stop counting calories and trying to control your eating through dieting. Instead, let your body regulate for you. I promise you will get much better results.
The healthy weight your body strives for is called your target weight. Think of it as the preferred temperature on a grease thermostat. Like any thermostat, this one can also be adjusted to what is most comfortable. The system then works tirelessly to do whatever it takes to align your body with that point. It works like a biological force: the further you get off center, the stronger the pull to bring you back into the comfortable zone.
However, this system only works if we let it. If you constantly “shake” the thermostat over diets, the mechanism breaks down. This wobble is like a power struggle to wrest control from your body’s innate weight regulation mechanism, and in the end it only makes your body fight harder to stay in control. The result: not only is your body forcing you to regain the weight you lost, but you may even be paying a penalty with additional weight gain – and a now higher set point to guard against future dieting.
Instead of continuing this uphill battle with your body, you could declare a truce and join forces with it to achieve a healthy, natural weight. You will find that you lose interest in food when you are full. And your body itself will compensate for those occasional party treats without you having to consciously deny yourself.
Thanks to Linda Bacon