Are You Having Trouble Losing Weight?

This is the last of a 7-part series in why you might consider doing a Technology Detox (a “Techtox”). I hope it gets you thinking about your use of technology and how it may be impacting your health and well-being.

Are You Having Trouble Losing Weight?

In addition to the obvious conclusion that sitting for long periods of time staring at our screens means we’re not moving as much as we should, there are several other reasons why our obsession with our devices reduces our ability to lose weight.

We previously learned how our use of screens late into the night negatively impacts our sleep. In a University of Pennsylvania study, Hengyi Rao showed “it takes only one night of poor sleep to leave us wanting to eat more fat the next day” and is “enough to alter what is called the brain’s ‘salience network’, the region associated with decision making.” (Huffington). So, if you’re tired and ask, “what’s for dinner?”, you may come up with a completely different answer than if you weren’t.

Next, there are many potentially helpful sites and gadgets to help you with whatever diet or exercise program you’ve chosen to follow, and social media can even be motivating (e.g. when friends post about going to the gym). However, my clients are often sick and tired of thinking about eating and exercising the way these devices require: why? Because interacting with these devices keeps the worry, fear, and stress about an eating, weight, or body image issue at the top of mind, and becomes yet another To Do to fit into a hectic life. When your mind-body system is in the stress response, your metabolism and calorie burning capacity is significantly decreased. You can learn more about this process in my Self-Study Program on Emotional Eating).

Photo compliments of 123RF

If you follow me on social media, you know I sometimes post photos of healthy food I’ve made; these are intended to inspire you to eat pleasurable foods that are also good for you. I’ve since discovered yet another way technology can be detrimental to folks looking to slim down: “food porn.” According to neuroscientist Laura Martin, Ph.D., looking at luscious food photos online can “provoke a real emotional and physical hunger response that can be tough to control.” And guess what: desserts tend to top the list of food photo views.

Lastly, many of us eat while scrolling through pages or watching videos, mindlessly consuming our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Such multi-tasking interferes with our Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR)—which is responsible registering pleasure from food via our senses. As Marc David of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating points out, “when we eat too fast or fail to notice our food, the brain seems to interpret this missed experience as hunger.” Not paying attention? This means you’ll look for the pleasure you missed during your meal after it, likely in the form of the foods you would rather not be eating, such as chocolate or ice cream.

Want to discover whether technology is hindering your weight loss efforts?
Learn how to do a TechTox!


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