Although many people have good intentions to follow through with their New Year’s Resolutions a common pattern is to fail. In a 2007 study in the UK, which tracked more than 3,000 people attempting to achieve a range of resolutions, including losing weight, although 52% of participants were confident of success at the start, only 12% actually achieved their goal one year later. It is important to realize and understand your individual limitations, which need to be addressed in order to meet the demands of the commitment. As an example if you have trouble motivating yourself to go to the gym, you could find a workout partner to help hold you accountable.
However, limitations to being able to stick to a commitment may be more complex than simply finding a workout partner when it comes to eating right. Simply deciding to eat smaller quantities or fewer calories to lose weight or body fat may not be the answer for many who follow a pattern of failing to change your body composition. In order to make a lifestyle change Dr. Dietz, Director of Nutrition at the Center for Disease Control explains that we need to make environmental changes such as buying and preparing more foods to make changes in a family structure and reducing the less healthy foods in schools.
The “Meat” of the Obesity Problem: Dopamine
According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Americans have reached their peak of obesity. Failure to follow reasonable eating habits and remain inactive has caused Americans to reach an all-time high for our overweight and obesity statics.
According to the Government the obesity rate should have been at only 15% by 2010 but obesity rates in America are at an all-time high with 34% of adults and 17% of children in America considered obese.
Although inactivity seems to be a problem, the foods we eat can be just as much if not the “MEAT” of the issue. It may not be enough for an overweight or obese individual to simply increase activity and decrease calories. Certain foods, like alcohol or drugs, can trigger a chemical response in particular individuals with a predisposition to overeating that can reinforce addictive behavior. Dr. Kessler, the author of The End of Overeating, describes certain fatty and sugar foods as hyperpalatable as compared to clean cooked vegetables. Fast foods, for example, can change brain chemistry and cause a neurological response which stimulates the pattern of overeating. Rich, sweet or fatty foods stimulate the brain to release dopamine which is a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure center of the brain. Dr. Kessler believes food addicts may have certain characteristics such as lack of impulse control and inability to stop once they get started. Before you decide to eat at a fast food restaurant, or make a poor food choice, think about how it makes you feel and the unhealthy pattern it can create.
Harvard says Food Choices are Key!
An article written by Anthony D’Assisi, a highly educated and certified health expert explains that every microstructure of our bodies is affected by total nutrition which makes eating right very important for achieving a healthy self and body composition change. The Department of Nutrition at The Harvard School of Public Health presents a reinvention of the Food Guide Pyramid. Harvard’s healthy eating pyramid focuses on making good food choices unlike the original Food Guide pyramid, which promotes eating in moderation but does not differentiate between good and bad carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
To achieve that New Year’s Resolution you made to lose weight start with making better choices. When it comes to nutrition preparing your foods and avoiding processed items, high amounts of saturated fats and refined sugars will help you prevent your brain from signaling the body to consume more “bad” foods. The obesity epidemic is a serious problem with fatal consequences and can be reversed by making better decisions about what we eat. The Healthy Eating Pyramid is a great guide to bring healthy balance to what we consume in order to achieve that ideal body image and a good quality of life.
“The roads we take are more important than the goals we announce.”