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Obesity predisposition traced to the brain's reward system

Obesity predisposition traced to the brain's reward system from

The tendency toward obesity is directly related to the brain system that is involved in food reward and addictive behaviors, according to a new study. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and colleagues have demonstrated a link between a predisposition to obesity and defective dopamine signaling in the mesolimbic system in rats. Their report appears in the August 2008 issue of The FASEB Journal.


My comment: I grew up thin, but gained significant weight in college. I've spent most of my adult life anywhere from 60 to 150 lbs overweight--usually by 80 lbs or more.

I've tried numerous times to lose weight, using various "diets": Powdered protein, Atkins, rabbit-food, etc. Most "diets" just didn't work for me at all—and the few that did didn't stick (which fact was inspiration for a one-liner I would tell people who informed me they were on a diet: "Don't worry about losing weight, you'll find it again!")

Interestingly, it was always the case that any "diet" I tried that "worked" the first time, wouldn't work so well (or at all) on any subsequent attempt. The first time that happened to me (using powdered protein drinks,) I thought it was just because I had gotten older. Now I know better.

I used to think that being overweight was something my body was doing to me (i.e., a "slow metabolism.") Now I know better.

Since mid-November 2007, I've lost more than 80 lbs. I've done it by eating three weighed and measured meals every day, while eating nothing in between other than water and tea. And by not eating anything that contains flour or sugar. I've not had to do any exercise. I'm not taking any "diet pills." I've not had to starve myself. I've not had to eat any strange foods: I eat normal, everyday foods, every day: meats, vegetables and fruits.

But I follow the rules of my program precisely every day—no exceptions allowed. That's the key: I let my program, my food scale and my self-honesty govern what I eat, instead of my emotions and past conditioning. I've learned that that's the only way to keep any addiction under control: Deny your rationalization engine any precedents it can use against you; use (or develop) the self-honesty necessary to follow the rules, and don't injure it by allowing any exceptions.


Anonymous said...

What's your meaning of "weighed and measured meals"? I suspect that has some specific meaning that non-dieters may not be aware of.

Alan Lovejoy said...

"Weighed and measured meals" means that you use a digital kitchen scale to weigh your proteins, your vegetables and your fruit--or in some cases, it means you count pieces (e.g., 1 apple.)

So, for example, my food plan for tomorrow is as follows:

8 oz non-fat plain yogurt
1 oz oat-meal
6 oz blueberries

6 oz turkey burger
6 oz squash
1 pear

6 oz steak
6 oz broccoli
8 oz salad
2 tbsp dressing

I use a different food plan each day, constructed according to a set of food plan construction rules.

Note that, when the food plan says "6 oz," it means 6.0 ounces--no more, and no less. That degree of strict precision is for psycho-emotional reasons. There's no purely biological reason to be quite so strict/precise.

The point of using the scale is so that there's an external agency governing how much you eat, instead of having your internal emotional/psychological forces be in charge. The point of the strict precision is to eliminate any basis or precedent for rationalizing ever greater amounts of food (analogous to the reason that traffic laws require that you come to a complete stop at a stop sign.)