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How Your Brain Can Sabotage Your Summer Diet

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As the thought of getting in a bathing suit looms, quick-fix diets can be tempting. A few weeks of restrictive eating and cutting calories and you’ll be to your ideal shape, right?

Unfortunately, short-term diets — no matter what kind they are — tend to backfire pretty easily.

“The hormonal and neural control of weight loss is incredibly complicated, which is why weight loss can be so easy in theory, and yet so difficult in practice,” Northwestern Medicine Metabolic Health and Surgical Weight Loss Center at Delnor Hospital said in a report.

“Our brains are incredibly sophisticated when it comes to managing our energy balance, and weight gain tends to be a maladaptive response,” the report said.

Your body doesn’t want to lose weight

This is due in part to a “set point” and “settling point” weight, the report said. “We have a genetic predisposition to be a certain weight — a set point — but, there is some wiggle room when it comes to how our environment interacts with our genetic predispositions.”

This wiggle room is our “settling point,” and can be affected by things like the foods we eat and our exercise habits.

Think of it like a thermostat that’s set on a program to be 70 degrees at all times, explains Lowden.

“You can change the thermostat down to 65 degrees, but eventually that program is going to kick in that bumps the temperature back up,” the report said.

That’s why it might not be so difficult to lose a couple of pounds, but lose too many and you set off the thermostat.

When you’re below the weight that your body is most comfortable with, you’ll be fighting your hormones to maintain it.