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Stubborn Weight Loss? You May Have An Appetite Disorder

Feb 11, 2008
Nobody would argue that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States--one look around confirms that. Unfortunately, many people try to lose weight--and when it doesn't work, they think they've failed. In addition to the resulting physical and health issues, repeated diet failures take a heavy emotional toll, leaving many feeling weak, guilty, ashamed and humiliated. But it's not their fault!

When diets fail, we usually blame the person for a lack of self-control, but the reality is, their body chemistry has gone awry. Science has proven our brains and body chemistry control our appetite. Certain eating patterns can alter those chemicals and create an unconscious, internal process that may even lead to a hidden addiction to food.

There are several causes of appetite disorder but each relates to an imbalance of the brain chemicals that control eating. One of the most potent causes involves excessive neuropeptide Y (a chain of amino acids), which is triggered by skipping meals. As it builds up, it forces people to binge. Our bodies are remarkable machines. When food isn't coming in regular intervals, your body produces chemicals that make you eat more, so you'll have enough food--just in case.

Appetite disorder is also caused by stress and a lack of serotonin. We learn, sometimes very early in life, that eating specific foods in certain quantities brings relief from stress and makes us feel better. No wonder people become addicted!

So how do we go about breaking the cycle? The first step is to diagnose the specific profile. 7 chemical imbalances can cause appetite to be disordered, and unless you know which ones affect you, you could be making the wrong changes.

The 2nd step is never skip a meal-- especially breakfast. The goal is to eat regularly throughout the day and reprogram the body to trust we'll feed it. This alone can naturally reduce appetite by a third!

Another way to repair body chemistry involves finding new ways to self-soothe so that we won't turn to food when we feel bad or stressed. Admittedly harder than not skipping meals, this fix takes re-training since food has become a friend to us. It's possible to learn a way to listen to your feelings so that they don't hurt and so that you aren't triggered to eat.

Once an appetite disorder is balanced, almost any diet can work. The key is to choose one that's a good match for your body chemistry and to adapt it to fit your recovery needs. The bottom line is that your ability to stay on a diet depends on staying in recovery from your appetite disorder.

The above information has been abstracted from my book, How to Make Almost Any Diet Work, Repair Your Appetite Disorder and Finally Lose Weight. As a therapist with nearly 40 years experience, I've done extensive research on food addiction and appetite disorder, and now I lead one of the most effective programs available anywhere for the repair of appetite disorder.
About the Author
Anne Katherine is a respected therapist who specializes in treating appetite disorder, food addiction, and binge eating. Take a quick questionnaire and find out about her 4-phase, 90-day SOAR program to balance appetite chemicals at http://www.annekatherine.org
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