Want to lose weight? Try breaking emotional connect with food

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According to a new survey conducted by Orlando Health department in the US, it has come to light that the key to losing weight might be in snapping the emotional bond that people have with food.

A vast majority of people across the world are trying to knock off those extra kilos. Obesity rates in the United States are said to be among the highest in the world. Of the tens of millions of Americans who try to lose weight every year, only 8% actually succeed, with even less keeping off the weight long term. Two out of 3 who lose 5% of their body weight will eventually gain it back, and the more weight you lose, the more likely this is to happen. So where are we going wrong?

To look into the problem further and examine the possible weight loss barriers that many Americans are facing, Orlando Health commissioned a survey of over 1000 participants across the United States, which showed that only 1 in 10 thought that an emotional connection to food was a factor in losing weight.

Neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health, Diane Robinson, believes this is why so many Americans are struggling with weight loss, and also weight gain: “most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise. But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts. In order to lose weight and keep it off long-term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we’re eating.”

With nearly every holiday connected with food and even just the smell of food evoking strong emotions, Robinson believes that even if we are not aware of it, from an early age we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but also for comfort and pleasure. When we eat something pleasurable the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine as a response, making us feel good and strengthening the emotional connection.

With nearly every holiday connected with food and even just the smell of food evoking strong emotions, Robinson believes that even if we are not aware of it, from an early age we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but also for comfort and pleasure. When we eat something pleasurable the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine as a response, making us feel good and strengthening the emotional connection.

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