What drives our appetite? That answer might help us understand why we choose the foods we do, and even how we can make adjustments to help with our own long-term weight control.
Our bodies were designed to regularly seek and consume food in order to prepare for a time when it may be scarce. This design feature worked well for our ancestors, but it can be counterproductive for us today. Historically, it made sense for our survival to have built-in mechanisms driving us to eat. Our hunger reminded us to search for food, while our appetite told us to eat as much as we could.
These basic drives come as the result of numerous neurological, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems working in concert with one another. Let's say you want to drop a few pounds, so you skip a meal. That seems to make sense (fewer calories equals lower weight), but our bodies were designed to make us seek, desire, and enjoy food. Skipping a meal only hurts our bodies, prompting us to gorge.
Here's the real trick (and the secret to sustained weight loss):
Don't skip meals. Give your body what it's asking for. However, make sure that the quality of what you consume is good and the quantity of what you consume is appropriate. This nutritional approach, coupled with consistent activity, is what keeps your weight where it's supposed to be. After all, the body was designed to want its three squares a day.
From the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription
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