Understanding and Conquering Cravings
Losing Weight Is Challenging
Are you struggling daily with cravings and willpower? Stepping on the scale only to feel disappointment yet again? Trying diet after diet only to feel constantly defeated?
You’re not alone!
People mistakenly believe that a lack of motivation and self-control are the culprits. But scientists now know that out-of-whack hormones and brain chemicals undermine our best intentions. Let’s walk through them together.
First of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. A mysterious yet complex biology is derailing your best efforts. Once we understand the science behind these persistent urges driving you to overeat, we can better understand how to treat or to manage them.
Unbalanced hunger hormones like ghrelin can trigger feelings of hunger even after eating a satisfying meal. Others like GLP-1 and leptin normally signal satisfaction, but binging short-circuits that response. Many people with obesity and/or insulin resistance have leptin resistance as well. This means no matter how much leptin is made with eating, the signal for satiety (fullness) never happens in the brain. GLP-1 receptor agonists are synthetic drugs that act like natural gut-derived hormones that are also released upon eating. New injectables called GLP-1 agonists (liraglutide, semaglutide) restore brain sensitivity to fullness/feeding, so you feel full faster while cravings and portion sizes diminish. Rebalancing these gut-derived hormones provides a biological boost to any lifestyle changes.
Addictive Eating Behaviors
Other hormones such as dopamine, opioids, and neural chemicals make sugary or fatty fare downright addictive! And we can’t ignore the food industry’s seemingly deliberate and strategic ways of keeping us addicted. Ultra-processed foods are proven to increase cravings and overeating and further derail our efforts. It’s a vicious cycle.
Brain science now reveals the previously missing links between pathological craving and related compulsive disorders. If we understand neurobiology we can medically manipulate it and administer targeted pharmaceuticals as biochemical re-education to curb craving. Targeted medications can re-establish self-directed choice by rebalancing neurochemistry. While drugs don’t replace cognitive-behavioral approaches, they may provide critical biochemical support for those working to overcome addiction and regain control over their lives.
Weight Loss Drugs
Obesity medications like phentermine and topiramate have been around for a while and dial down dopamine’s constant reward-seeking signals that trigger cravings. Naltrexone blocks opioids driving urges to splurge. Resetting these neurotransmitters alleviates the feeling of being hopelessly “hooked” on the wrong foods. Controlling biology empowers personal choice. And we all need an ally sometimes. Now new medicines can help normalize that biology so your weight loss journey gets easier and more manageable.
Emerging Weight Loss Drugs
And we doctors now have a range of once-weekly semaglutide or daily liraglutide injections that harness GLP-1’s and other gut hormones’ potential, curbing compulsion at the source, not through brute willpower but by normalizing biology. New pill combinations also fine-tune appetite signals. These targeted therapies have tipped the scales for many of my patients despite previous failed diets. Now losing weight feels achievable for them. I want that for you too!
Of course, adjusting your eating and activity is crucial. The goal is not to remain on these drugs forever but to gain some weight loss momentum that keeps you motivated to make healthy and sustainable choices for the long term. But behavior occurs in biology and empowering the latter lets the former fall into place.
At Warner Orthopedics & Wellness we understand these unique challenges and can redirect disordered biological drivers of weight gain rather than simply blaming gluttony or laziness. You deserve compassionate science-based solutions free from stigma. Book a visit today. In-person and telehealth appointments are available.
Let’s explore this new frontier together!