One of the common biochemical similarities in depression, alcoholism, and carbohydrate craving obesity is low levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are caused by low blood sugar, chronic dieting, and emotional stress. Many antidepressant and appetite suppressant drugs work by attempting to regulate the way serotonin is used by the brain.
On the other hand, scientists who have studied the biochemistry of addiction have found that a neurotransmitter called dopamine that balances with serotonin is also necessary for a person to feel refreshed and happy. If you have been trying to lose weight and found yourself overeating instead, you might do well to discover the secret of how to control these brain chemicals naturally.
Don’t Fight Your Body Chemistry, Understand It
Removing serotonin from the brain of rats causes them to engage in compulsive sexual activity and insatiable eating. If you find yourself eating large amounts of food without feeling full then that is one sign that your serotonin level may be low. Physical exhaustion, such as the kind that comes from working 12 hour days, and chronic emotional stress will also result in either high or low levels of dopamine. If you have low dopamine and low serotonin, you will probably feel depressed. If you have high dopamine and low serotonin, you will tend to be brighter, more vigilant, aggressive, and behave impulsively.
Other Top Tips
1. Avoid aspartame. Aspartame has been proven to block the uptake of serotonin. I find this ironic because diet drugs recently removed from the market worked on serotonin levels for people who probably ate a lot of diet products with aspartame. Doctors probably could have been of greater assistance by explaining what they should be eating instead of handing out pills that resulted in severe cardiac distress. Also, researchers show that drinking diet drinks with aspartame will only cause you to be hungrier later because the sweetness tricks the brain into thinking you are actually going to need to raise your insulin level.
2. Drink water instead of diet drinks. Many dieters mistake thirst for hunger. Even Richard Simmons, the diet guru, said he lost 7 lbs. last year just by giving up diet sodas for water. 2. Lower your stress level. Yes, rest. I tell my clients all the time that you will have a hard time losing weight if you are under stress because high stress will raise your cortisol level. Cortisol raises your blood sugar, so you will simply be hungrier when you don’t give yourself the emotional and physical rest your body needs.
3. Yoga. As many of you know, I got certified in yoga last year. Although yoga burns very few calories compared to weight lifting, walking or jogging, practicing asanas regularly can balance your body chemistry and make it physiologically and emotionally easier for you to control your cravings.