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Distract Your Way to Weight Loss

woman focuses

Driven To Distraction

It's no secret that millions of people around the world struggle with weight loss. But what if shedding unwanted pounds was as simple as thinking differently?

A growing body of research shows that learning to distract yourself may help curb food cravings. In the short run it might also help keep binge eating in check.

In one study, researchers had 55Â obese patients do distraction tasks to temper food cravings. The tasks included tapping the forehead and ear with an index finger, tapping a toe on the floor; or simply staring at a wall. Finger tapping seemed to help the most.

In another study, scientists looked at the brain activity of overweight and obese participants as they viewed images of desirable foods such as pizza and ice cream. The researchers then observed how mental distraction techniques affected their brain activity.

 Long Term Goals

The techniques included thinking about things other than food, accepting the food thoughts and recognizing that they're just thoughts and don't need to be acted upon, thinking about the long‑term consequences of overeating, and focusing on the immediate reward of eating the food.

The study found that thinking about negative long‑term consequences was the best technique for curbing the urge to eat. The technique also sparked brain activity in regions related to inhibitory control.

Researchers don't yet understand how thinking about food in particular ways helps curb cravings. And they're not advocating distraction techniques as a silver bullet for weight loss.

But the studies underscore the central role of the brain in craving food, and how techniques to distract the brain may be part of the weight loss puzzle.

Read More:

"Distractions Diminish Food Cravings" (Medpage Today)


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