Here’s How You Can Lose Weight Fast And Keep Up With Your 2020 New Year Resolution
Scientists came to the conclusion that losing weight can be done without strict diets, using only mental abilities. You just need to know how it works.
Doctor of Psychology Eric Robinson from the University of Liverpool has developed an unusual method of weight loss and claims that almost any of us can use it. The only thing needed for this is our memory.
People often imagine losing weight as a struggle with the excessive appetites of their own stomach, but psychologists are inclined to think that consciousness carries no less responsibility for the formation of hunger. Moreover, I am sure Robinson, the role of the brain in this process is so great that you can feel full, just remembering in detail what you ate for the last time.
"According to a number of studies, hidden psychological factors can affect appetite, but most people don’t know about it," he says. "But this is very important, given the global trend towards obesity." How does the Robinson method work?
Recent experiments studying the effect of consciousness on appetite are partly based on observations of people suffering from anterograde amnesia - memory impairment of events that occurred after the onset of the disease. Such patients can, for example, enter into a long and fascinating conversation with a person whom they just met, but after 20 minutes completely forget about the conversation and do not even recognize the interlocutor. “Just 20 minutes later, they will no longer remember what just happened to them,” says Robinson.
The same thing happens with these patients when eating. In one study involved a former musician and former banker. Both suffered anterograde amnesia after being infected with a herpes infection, which damaged the hippocampal formation, the part of the temporal lobe of the brain responsible for storing new memories. First, the participants in the experiment were given a plate of sandwiches and cakes and asked to eat until they were full. The plates were then removed, and after 15 minutes returned again filled. Healthy subjects were no longer hungry, but the two amnesic were happy to eat again. "Such patients forget that they have already eaten, and if after a while they are offered a snack, they will start eating again," said Glyn Humphries of the University of Oxford, who conducted this experiment.
Despite a poor memory, two participants with amnesia still retained some semblance of memories of just eaten. In the second part of the experiment, they were given the opportunity to try rice pudding, chips or chocolate, and after a while they again offered the same set of products. Most ordinary people have a tendency to diversify their taste sensations, so they will not choose the same dish twice in a row - this phenomenon is known as sensory-specific saturation. It is noteworthy that two patients with amnesia also showed less interest in the product that was chosen for the first time - although they could not recall that they had eaten it recently. Apparently, they did not experience problems with the processing of sensory information - simply their brain was not able to form a clear, conscious memory of the process of eating.
It would seem that a healthy brain should notice what its owner eats. However, recent studies confirm that the brain is easy to fool. Jeff Branstrom of the University of Bristol set up a witty experiment. Volunteers were offered a simple task - to eat a bowl of soup. They did not know that a tube was inserted into the bottom of the bowl, passing through the table, through which Branstrom could imperceptibly add soup to some of the subjects during the meal. Thus, some of the participants in the experiment ate more than they thought. Observation of the volunteers continued throughout the day: as it turned out, the amount of food they ate after eating the soup was much more dependent on whether they estimated the volume of their bowl large or small before starting the meal, than on the real ones. the amount of soup that Branstrom fed them.
Tormenting hunger? You just forgot that you already ate
All these facts disprove the theory that only the hormones of the stomach are responsible for the feeling of hunger. "This does not mean that the stomach has nothing to do with it, but the role of cognitive activity in shaping appetite has still been seriously underestimated," says Branstrom. And in certain circumstances, our thoughts can be crucial.
Neglecting this can lead to negative consequences in our hectic times. Snacks in the workplace have become ubiquitous, and at dinner, many of us watch TV or are busy with our smartphones. All these distracting factors blunt the memory of what was eaten. So, in one of the experiments, Branstrom asked the subjects during lunch to take one hand with a meal, and the other with folding solitaire. After that, they hardly remembered what they ate, and then constantly “bitten” during the day.
It is for this reason that scientists are exploring the possibility of enhancing food memories at the level of sensory perception. Robinson recently tried to achieve "conscious eating" among subjects. He lost to a group of overweight women, absorbing ham sandwiches, a three-minute audio recording urging them to fully concentrate on the feelings derived from the look, taste and smell of the food. The control group of subjects took food to the accompaniment of melodious cuckoo cuckooing. As Robinson expected, the people who were asked to relish the food subsequently gave a more complete description of what they ate, and at the next meal after three hours they consumed 30% fewer calories.
This method is not necessarily suitable for everyone who wants to lose weight, but Robinson has a couple of alternative ideas. As the results of one of his experiments testify, if a person is asked to recall what he ate for the last time, his appetite as a whole decreases, reducing the likelihood of overeating. The imagination can also come to the rescue: American scientists have found that if you imagine in great detail the dish that we would like to eat, you can convince yourself that we have actually eaten this dish. In this case, the feeling of hunger is also dulled.
Robinson is currently working on a mobile app that will remind the owner throughout the day to remember what he ate in the morning. However, the scientist admits, it will be possible to verify whether memory manipulations are actually effective as a method of losing weight only during large-scale clinical testing. In addition, Robinson suspects that many may find his method too tedious - especially if a dieter has to listen to an audio recording during each meal.
The good news is that the “conscious eating” method does not reduce the sensory pleasure of the process. On the contrary, subjects enjoy the opportunity to fully appreciate the variety of sensations that food causes. "Who said savoring food is bad?" - says Robinson.
If memory can really be used to dull hunger, in the future people who are overweight will be able to offer a tempting alternative to strict diets - a weight loss program that enhances the pleasure of eating.