Dopamine (DA) is a "feel good" pleasure hormone. One of many neurochemicals produced by the brain.
The U.S. Department of Energy Brookhaven National Laboratory has released a study that suggests obese people have fewer dopamine receptors than people of ideal weight. There is a direct relationship to the BMI weight calculator. The higher the BMI score, the fewer DA receptors.
"It's possible that obese people have fewer receptors because their brains are trying to compensate for having chronically high dopamine levels which are triggered by chronic overeating," says Dr. Jack Wang, M.D. "However, it's also possible that these people have low numbers of dopamine receptors to begin with, making them more vulnerable to addictive behaviors including compulsive food intake."
Having too high or low DA levels is not yet considered a real cause of obesity. It may be soon. Obesity statistics show a direct relationship with eating behavior, obesity and the brains' ability to produce and receive DA.
Because DA is a feel good hormone, current research with obesity in teens could be very valuable. Finding a way to regulate DA levels would reduce the need for constant pleasure stimuli seeking.
It should also be noted that other reputable research on obesity strangely indicates that DA deficiency may result in pathological eating behavior requiring professional counseling and possible testing.
Exercise will reduce BMI (body mass index). Lower your BMI and DA receptors increase. Daily exercise reduces stress, gives you a shot of adrenaline and a DA chaser. Exercise makes you feel good because it stimulates the release of several valuable neurochemicals.
Another little known method of giving your brain a shot of feel good DA is to listen to music you enjoy.
Musical cognition is a relatively new and understudied science. However, more and more evidence points to music as a prime producer of feel good dopamine plus other beneficial neurochemicals.
I've been advising my clients to start their day with a brisk walk in fresh air and sunshine while listening to their favorite music on the Walkman or iPod. I've been doing so for 20 years. Not because research on obesity says it's beneficial, but because of the rave reviews my clients gave this simple weight loss secret.
How effective is the walk, sun and music combo for reaching and maintaining ideal weight? I cannot think of one client that failed while actively using it.
The power of music for healing and improving cognitive skills is greatly underestimated today. I predict in the next ten years we will discover direct relationships to music and intellectual development, motor skills and behavioral patterns. We are just scratching the surface of the influence music plays in our everyday lives. When my clients listen to music when they walk, they report reduced fatigue, longer walks, less stress and a "can do" attitude. Hey guys, that's just the DA talking. Take a DA break today... WALK!
I don't think there is any doubt that cravings lead to binging, one of the more common causes of obesity. But what causes binging? That's easy, cravings brought on by self-deprivation cause binging. The more you deprive yourself, the more you crave. The more you crave, the bigger the binge. The more weight you gain, the more you want to eat! You can call this vicious cycle YOUR BRAIN IN SEARCH OF DOPAMINE!
All of this is unnecessary. A healthy diet plan that does not require motivation to follow based on your preferred foods, will generally fix the problem. Add a reasonable increase in physical activity and listen to your favorite music. Listening to music also burns 90 calories per hour. How hard can it be?
Eat your favorite foods in reasonable portions. Take a daily stroll while listening to your favorite music and you have a prescription for weight loss success. Don't underestimate the absolute effectiveness of this simple plan. I've seen it work weight loss miracles. Hundreds of times! DA works. And music makes DA! You won't regret it.
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