I’m like a lot of people on the planet. I have to keep constant vigilance¬†on maintaining¬†a healthy weight. To do this, I have developed a plan, which I stick to for the most part. I do go off the road sometimes, but quickly right myself. What’s life without a few challenges anyway?

Over thousands of years of competition for scarce food, Darwin’s natural selection favored individuals who had the body fat to survive famine better than their thinner neighbors. Today, the brain still recognizes body weight as important to survival. It devotes about a dozen neurotransmitters to increasing it and about the same number to decreasing it. Between the two, homeostasis favors a particular “set point” of body weight for each person.

If you try to lose weight by eating less, your brain counters with a variety of moves to return you to that set point. Your brain lowers your metabolic rate while you rest to burn fewer calories, and it also releases chemical messengers to tell you to take in more calories-remember, it’s only trying to keep you from starving (this is why you feel hungrier when you diet). Fat cells help communicate information to the brain by releasing a chemical called leptin, which circulates in the blood. When the nervous system senses changes in leptin levels, the brain reacts by creating feelings of hunger or fullness. Tough to overcome? You bet! Impossible? NO. The following changes will help to reset the “set point:”

Exercise daily to raise metabolic rate.

Decrease the number of calories your body stores by cutting down on sugars, which decreases insulin release. Insulin loves to store fat. Apple cider vinegar is a good way to regulate blood sugar; black walnut tincture also works.

Consume smaller portions and eat slower. Drink a full glass of water before eating helps.

Make a lifetime committment to diet and exercise, the benefits are numerous.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.