109—Lower body weight set point...

Curb hedonic eating

It's an increasing problem...

Currently around 60% of Kiwis and Aussies are overweight.

But how can this be?
Gym memberships have increased.
Sugar consumption has decreased.
And, our knowledge has also increased — we’ve long since realised that eating fat doesn’t make us ‘fat’.🧐

The big problem, it would seem, is that food consumption as a whole has increased by around 400-600 extra calories per day since the 1970s.

Note: That’s about the equivalent of having an extra meal per day…

But that doesn’t explain why we eat more?
Is it because food is so abundant nowadays?
And, we just can.

Or, is it because we literally can’t stop eating it — like we’re possessed or something?1


Please know that while I’m talking about the need for people to maintain a healthy weight in this blog-post, this is for health reasons — not cosmetic reasons.

There is strong data to indicate that the more fat mass you carry, the higher risk of developing chronic diseases you’ll also carry.

I’m a Naturopath.
I got into this career to help people get well.
And, it’s my job to educate you on how necessary it is to maintain a weight that is healthy for you. And, it’s also my job to help you ‘get the job done’.

‘Fat shaming’ doesn’t help people to lose weight.
It just makes things worse.

In most cases, if someone is trying to lose weight, the reason they can’t isn’t lack of trying. It isn’t because they are lazy or unmotivated, stupid, greedy, or lack willpower. They are probably trying harder than the average Joe Bloggs to get their weight under control, but haven’t been able to achieve any real or lasting results because their body chemistry is literally working against them. Or, they simply haven’t been shown how to correctly eat for their health. (More on these factors below.)

From what I’ve seen in practice, not only are these people annoyed about their weight, but they also feel incredibly: frustrated, angry, tired, deprived, confused, and worried – and they certainly don’t need anyone being mean, and ignorant (!), on top of this 😢

So, what I’m trying to say is this: If being healthy isn’t a high priority for you, or you prefer to not be restricted in any way in your diet, or your weight doesn’t ‘bovver you’, then this is simply not the article for you.

But, for anyone else interested in weight-loss –
Be ye a little overweight, or
Be ye a lot overweight, or
Be ye just not wanting to become overweight – let’s get you healthy xo

Note: Being healthy doesn’t just mean that you’re no longer at risk of cardio vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and sleep apnoea. (Or, that you don’t in fact suffer from these afflictions.) Being healthy also means that you’ll feel more energetic, you’ll feel more in control of your diet, and your diet won’t control you.

Listen up all you, self proclaimed 'foodies'.

I’ve been telling people for years (years I tell you), that their diets are too hedonistic.

Note: I was telling DMF, my long-term partner, that he was too hedonist with his diet long before I studied to become a Naturopath. (He used to eat a lot of kebabs!)

Hedonistic: Engaged in the pursuit of pleasure; sensually self-indulgent.

Basically, hedonic eating is when you eat because it tastes good, and it’s rewarding for your taste buds — rather than eating for metabolic need.

(This article actually follows on nicely from my previous post: Life is like a big bag of crisps.🤗)

So, if you insist on being a ‘foodie’ …
Then you may not feel very comfortable (or healthy) in the nudie

Allow me to explain —

You say 'tomato'. I say 'tomato'.

FOODIE: a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.

Basically a foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.

You say Foodie.
I say Hedonist.
Same difference.

Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath, discusses how to curb hedonic eating in her blog: LISA SAID SO
As Manu would say: Where's the sauce? 🤤

All of the food. All of the time

*** We’re actually designed to not be able to gain or lose weight ***

Instead, we’re meant to maintain the ideal weight for our unique selves at all times. Because our body literally acts to defend a comfortable weight.

So, you know that highly irritating ‘equation’:
Energy in equals energy out?
Well, it is technically accurate, but it really depends on how said energy is supplied. (More on this below.)

When WE over-eat
Our body responds to correct this energy imbalance by reducing our appetite (physiological response), and encouraging us to be active (behavioural response).

When we under-eat
Our body responds to correct this energy imbalance by cranking up our appetite, and encouraging us to be inactive.

{Splutter} But how does that work, I hear you ask…?!

We have a set-point for body weight which is under unconscious homeostatic control — just as it is for pH balance, blood-pressure, blood-glucose, and core body-temperature. This set-point ‘resides’ in our hypothalamus (in our brain). It gets told what to do via various neuropeptides released by our fat cells, and intestinal cells — that get told what to do by the food you eat.

When we eat a hedonic diet we block our satiety signals, and literally injure our hypothalamus.  This turns our set-point up really high. Therefore our new ‘normal’ weight becomes over-weight 😳

So when we try to ‘diet’, our body defends this amplified weight, essentially plunging us into severe starvation mode. This makes us not want to move about much, and all we do is think about food, and feel hungry. Our body literally becomes obsessed with returning us to our pre-diet weight 😣

Note: Our body can remain in starvation mode for years after we diet, causing us to fight a constant battle with ourselves. So if you’re dieting and doing a lot of exercise, you’re just asking to become tired, rundown, and sick.

What we now know is that if you feel hungry on a diet, it won’t be successful. Not only will you not be able to maintain your diet, but you also won’t be able to maintain the weight loss that you may have already achieved.

(More on this in the Lisa Says section below.)

The main takeaway from this so far?
If you’re overweight — you shouldn’t have been able to pull-this-off.  Something is definitely amiss with your health.2

Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath, discusses how to lower body weight set point in her blog: LISA SAID SO
Anything you buy out is intended to be hedonist — it's designed for your tastebuds. That's how the cafes, restaurants etc keep you coming back for more...🤤

Hyperpalatable food/Hedonistic eating

Or as my dad would say:
Yummy Nimmie-Nahs 🤗

Hyperpalatable foods are food combos of —

High fat
Processed carbs,
(and even just plain ole carby carbs!) or
Salt, or
Sugar, and/or
Flavour enhancers.

These elements combine together to chemically induce gorging, and they stimulate the release of dopamine which rewards us for eating this way and/or reinforces addictive-like eating behaviour 😱

Note: We are wired to fear starvation and to take advantage of any caloric windfall in nature. This unfortunately works against us in modern times – as there are always plenty of calories available to us, so we need to exercise restraint.

Examples of Yummy Nimmie-Nahs
French fries/CHIPPIE!
Breakfast cereal

And, don’t kid yourself…
Even if you make your own so-called ‘healthy’ version of these foods, to make them taste super yummy, you are still going to include some combination of fat and carbs, salt, and some type of ‘sugar’.3

Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath, discusses how to lower body weight set point in her blog: LISA SAID SO

There are other reasons why you may struggle to lose weight...

Obesity is due to engaging in sustained positive energy balance (eating more energy than you expend), therefore resetting the body weight set-point to an increased value.

But, you may also be suffering from other health conditions that compound this, such as Hypothyroidism, oestrogen dominance, depression, microbiome issues, addictive-like eating behaviour, sleep dysfunction, or you may have injured yourself and can’t exercise for a period of time.

These will clearly need to be addressed with the help of your fave Naturopath. 😉

You may think you know some slender ‘Hedonists’ out there… But, I personally, and professionally, haven’t come across this rare bird!

Note: For all you know, this person may be constantly hungry and lethargic trying to maintain their weight. And, let me just add for ‘the record’, that just because they’re  skinny… this  doesn’t necessarily mean that they are healthy.

In my next article on 'dieting'...

Over the next few months, I’ll be writing quite a bit on weight-loss.

I’ll cover things such as:
Why I’m not a fan of intermittent fasting.
And, why I prefer: Early time restricted eating.
Or, better yet – intermittent dieting.

I’ll also discuss how getting good quality sleep is more important for weight loss than exercising 🏋🏽‍♀️

Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath, discusses how to lower body weight set point in her blog: LISA SAID SO
These are weekly treats — not part of a staple diet 😉

Lisa says:

One answer to this particular weight-loss dilemma...

…Is not to diet!

You just have to change what you’re choosing to eat.

For the most part, embrace a plain diet — just the way Mother Nature would have made it.

Predominantly eating a low to moderately palatable diet actually stops you from over-eating. This can help to reverse obesity and lower body-weight set-point.

With this approach, not only will you feel satiated, but weight loss should be a pleasant, and sustainable side-effect. 🤗

Eating this way can even help to curb addictive-like eating behaviour that can otherwise become a vicious cycle.

Get over your need to have all of your food taste super-yummy. Retrain your brain and tastebuds to delight in the natural flavours of food.

Are you a Hedonist? More commonly referred to as a 'foodie'?

I would recommend you adopt an adequate-protein/high fibre/low-fat way of eating for a period of time.

It’s really important to work with a qualified, experienced Nutritionist or Naturopath to advise you,  because they can get you on the right diet from the get-go, and troubleshoot as you proceed.

They can also support you by feverishly fist bumping, hip bumping, and high-five-ing-you when things go well. A win for you is a win for us.🤸🏼‍♀️

Note: As a Naturopath I simply teach you what, and how to eat. I don’t make you a specific eating plan like a Nutritionist would. I prefer to teach you how to fish…🎣

You don't need to diet, you just need to mostly avoid stuff that tastes unreasonably good. (My sincere condolences to you x)

Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath, discusses how to curb hedonic eating in her blog: LISA SAID SO
But, it looks so 'healthy'...and tastes so yummy!

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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