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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Successful Dieters Have Different Brains?

If you haven't visited healthfinder.gov, a website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I suggest you do so. It's a great source of information on a variety of health topics. This week, they profiled an interesting study that focused on weight loss.

Participants in the study were shown pictures of food, both healthy and unhealthy, while undergoing a brain scan. Those who had previously lost weight and kept it off "showed more activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with inhibition and in dealing with complex tasks."

Interestingly, researchers didn't find the same pattern in people of normal weight. It's only the successful dieters who demonstrated this particular brain activity.

I think this study should remind wellness professionals that making healthy choices requires constant effort. Although it can become second-nature over time, making lifestyle changes can be difficult at first. That's one of the many reasons that wellness coaching (.pdf) can be so beneficial to some people.

So how do you deal with temptation? Why is it that some people can resist the siren call of unhealthy food and others can't? I'd love to hear what you think.

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