As 2022 dawns, I already find that I am being bombarded with adverts encouraging me to try the latest thing to reduce weight. It is true that I put on three pounds over the last couple of weeks, as I relaxed with my family and stopped paying attention to what I was eating. This, combined with the fact that I received gifts of various edible goodies, has resulted in a bit more fat.
And so we make New Year’s resolutions, go on a winter diet, or go for a detoxing “dry January”, to try to get our bodies back to normal. But for many people, this works for a while, and then, when we reach our target, we congratulate ourselves and go back to however we were eating and drinking before. A few months later, all the efforts we made in January have come to nothing.
The problem is that our brains are not wired for the modern age. The most primitive part of our brain does not understand that we have a fridge full of food and a supermarket down the street. Rationally, we know we should only eat and drink what we need to, but our primitive brain encourages us to have another mince pie – and it is very difficult to resist.
Now, if you have the will power, you can resist that primitive part of your brain for a short time while you go on a diet, because you tell yourself, “When I have reached my target, my diet will be over.” But this ends up with us putting all the weight back on – particularly if we are stressed or anxious, because that tricksy primitive part of the brain takes more control as we get more stressed.
If you really want get to a healthy weight and healthy drinking habits, you need to get your stress levels and anxiety under control. That way, you prevent that primitive part of the brain taking too much control, and you can change your eating and drinking habits permanently. You can enjoy your food and drink while only taking on board what you need.
Of course, exercise is important too … but that’s another story.