Giving thanks before meals helps weight control & health

Brain and cognitive scientist says Thanksgiving’s underlying message of gratitude helps willpower, reinforces regular meal habits, eases temptation

 As millions upon millions of Americans look ahead to Thanksgiving with trepidation about overeating, Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., a brain and cognitive scientist specializing in the psychology of eating, offers this timeless wisdom:  Thanksgiving, with its underlying message of gratitude, can help, not hinder, willpower around food.

 In fact, says Susan — who is President of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss  author of the forthcoming book, Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin and Free (Hay House, March 2017) — when incorporated into the scaffolding of your life, giving thanks before EVERY meal has immeasurable health and weight control benefits, for the following reasons:

 It reinforces the routine of eating meals on a regular schedule

Eating regular meals at consistent times is crucial in that it lengthens the body’s fasting window, which increases fat loss and strengthens the process by which cells recycle and repair. It also improves insulin sensitivity and lowers cholesterol.

 It takes the burden off willpower

Willpower depletion is a very real phenomenon. In fact, research shows we may have as little as 15 minutes of willpower at our disposal before it runs dry. However, research also shows that something as simple as making a gratitude list can replenish its stores. Hence, practicing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the best ways to harness the brain’s ability to resist unwanted and unneeded extra food.

 Turning thoughts toward gratitude eases temptations themselves

No matter where you are in the world, no matter what party or occasion, no matter what restaurant, you can always turn your mind toward gratitude. Doing so shifts the focus from what you want, or crave, to what youhave. It also supports mindfulness, helping sharpen awareness of your actions and lead to better choices.

 Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D. is a psychology professor, a brain and cognitive scientist, and an expert in the psychology of eating. She is President of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss and CEO of Bright Line Eating Solutions, a company dedicated to sharing the psychology and neurology of sustainable weight loss and helping people achieve it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s