What is the relationship between obesity and psychology?
Obesity is a chronic disease characterized by an increase in body adipose tissue due to the fact that the daily energy intake is more than the energy consumed. Genetic, socioeconomic, environmental factors and nutritional habits are effective in the formation of obesity, as well as psychological problems. If the person does not have any of these factors that can cause weight gain, then the underlying cause of the eating behavior must be found. This process is provided by the Psychologist. When we look at the psychological dimension of eating, we first need to look at the relationship between brain and nutrition.
How does our brain affect our eating state?
The brain is the organ that regulates the vital functions of our body, and it also regulates our digestive function. There are almost 10 billion neurons, namely nerve cells, in our brain. There are some studies that say that nerve cells are also found in our stomach. This could be an example of our stomach ache or hunger when we are stressed.
Apart from this, there is a region called the reward system in our brain and a neurotransmitter called dopamine is secreted in this region. The pleasure we feel when we eat, increases dopamine intake and our reward system is affected. In this way, the brain establishes a connection between eating and taking pleasure and our brain can become addicted to eating whenever we turn to eating for pleasure whenever we are stressed. This region, which is also responsible for alcohol or other substance addictions, is also effective in developing food addiction by impulsive (people who do not have self-control) individuals. In addition to dopamine, sweet foods such as chocolate and sugar secrete happiness hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. That is the reason why you desire to eat dessert when you are unhappy. To get rid of this, you need to find different methods that will make you happy in the company of a psychologist and develop positive coping strategies to deal with stress.
One area of our brain (prefrontal cortex) is responsible for regulating emotions and controlling behavior. However, studies have shown that the decrease in the number of d2 (dopamine receptors) in the brain reduces the activity in this region, so addicts cannot control themselves and their emotions. Individuals who cannot achieve this control cannot control eating, and as a result, eating disorders and obesity occur.
What psychological factors other than the brain cause obesity?
In the light of this information, the importance of the phrase “changing the brain” in the weight loss process is understood more. In addition to the person’s brain, that is, thoughts about eating behavior; inadequate self-regulation, inability to control emotions, childhood traumas, negative relationships within the family, loneliness, distress, and inability to cope with stress also cause excessive eating. If the person’s unhealthy eating behavior is due to these reasons, he / she should get rid of dysfunctional thoughts against eating with the support of a psychologist and move away from the “obese brain” and make a fundamental transition to a healthy life. Because it has been proven by researches that by treating the psychological problems that trigger obesity and cause the person eat too much, the person can get rid of his weight permanently.