Is Better Interoception The Secret To Weight Loss?
Almost everyone eats emotionally on occasion, but are some people particularly disposed to drowning their sorrows in a bag of chips? The answer to that may involve one of our little known extra bodily senses: the sense of "interoception."
The term interoception refers to our awareness of our own internal bodily signals, including sensations such as hunger, thirst, and heartbeat. For example, someone with good interoception is able to accurately count their heartbeats without putting their hand to their chest; instead, they actually feel their heart pump. A good interoceptor will also notice right away if they are too hot or too cold, and, most importantly for our purposes, whether they are too hungry or too full.
The more fascinating connection emerges when we consider the fact that people with a worse sense of interoception are more likely to have difficulties identifying, processing, and regulating their emotions. Emotions, after all, start in the body, so someone who does not notice that they are getting tense until they are incredibly stressed out will end up letting themselves get to a much more unpleasant point before taking action to improve their emotional state.
These people thus have a greater risk of emotional disorders like depression and anxiety, and they're also likely to have a higher BMI! Their lower proficiency at dealing with their emotions makes them more likely to turn to a quick and easy method of comforting themselves like overeating or drug use; poor interoception has also been linked to addiction. In fact, the more severe interoceptive difficulties someone experienced, the more severe their addictive tendencies were!
The fact that people with poor interoception have trouble accurately perceiving their hunger and fullness cues makes them even more likely to allow their eating to become governed by emotional factors as opposed to physical ones. Chronic dieters and chronic overeaters may also have an acquired difficulty with interoception because they have become so used to ignoring the signals their body sends them in favor of unhealthy behaviors like fasting and bingeing.
People whose difficulty with eating comes in part from their difficulties with interoception may gain a particular benefit from becoming more aware of their body's hunger and fullness signals by eating more mindfully. Another option for becoming more in tune with your body is a treatment called biofeedback, which teaches you to be more aware of and in control of your body's natural processes.
In the meantime, while you're still learning how to listen to what your body is telling you, a highly structured program like the 123Diet may be the key to losing weight quickly and efficiently. Because our program gives you a list of limited healthy food choices and tells you exactly when and how you should eat them, you don't have to worry about your impaired interoception getting in the way of your weight-loss success!