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Nutrition & Dieting/how to retrain my brain


I am a 41 yr old female. I have high blood pressure and B 12 deficiency, I am also very overweight. Within the past year I have lost about 80 lbs and would like to lose another 90. Some of it was because I made a conscious effort but mostly it was because of my vitamin deficiency, I became very very sick before I was finally diagnosed.

Anyway, there have been some drastic changes in my diet for various reasons. I use to eat a lot of processed foods and drank only diet pepsi and sweet tea. Now I eat a lot of fruits and veggies (fresh and frozen) and I usually only drink water about 2 liters a day. My diets not perfect, I enjoy fried chicken and ice cream but I try to keep it in moderation.

My struggle and what I am hoping you can help with is this…I still think I need to eat like I use to. Today for example. I had plans to buy two bottle of water, a breakfast burrito, and a greek yogurt. I knew this would be enough to satisfy me until I got home from work, I worked 10-5. Anyway, at the store I also bought a turkey sandwich. Then while at work, I wasn’t hungry but I knew I had that sandwich and it was “lunch time” so I ate part of it. Then later on at home, again not hungry, but its dinner time I think I need to eat so I do. How do I retrain my brain that I don’t need to eat all the time??? I really am not hungry but I am eating anyway, it doesn’t make any sense!!!


Hello Pam,

Congratulations on your weight loss, especially the part you lost by eating more consciously!
Hunger is such an enigma... if we knew what made us want to eat, and how we could overcome this urge, we could stamp out obesity nationwide, right?!

First of all, it's great that you made the changes you did: giving up sweetened drinks, eating more fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods. These are new habits that will lead you to continued weight loss :)

The problem is, as humans/animals, our brains are programmed to eat whenever there is food available. Think about the cavemen--if there was food available but a person said, "nah, I'm okay for now" there might not BE any food 4 hours later when he was hungry.

So, when we see food, smell food, think about food, even see a TV commercial, we want it! The problem nowadays is that it is always available wherever we go. You made a turkey sandwich available to you at lunch time and at dinner time so your brain said, "Hey! Remember there is a turkey sandwich available--let's have it now" and another instinctive part of your brain said, 'Yes! THere is a turkey sandwich and that would taste good right now".
The challenge is to learn to think with a higher part of the brain (and you have to train your brain to do that by practicing) to say, "Yes, of course it would taste good, but I've already eaten enough for now" or "That turkey sandwich is going to be my lunch for tomorrow and if I eat it now I will not be in the negative calorie balance I need to be in today to continue losing weight".

You can see that your brain is working in a completely human way and does make sense; it's just not desirable!

I would highly recommend The Beck Diet Solution Workbook by Judith Beck to overcome your struggle. I lead a teleclass every few months, called "LifeChanging Weight Loss" in which I base a weight-loss group on that program: so many clients have told me how well it works for them.

You can see when to sign up next (or just email me) at

Good luck with your continued success!

Nutrition & Dieting

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Laurie Beebe, MS, RD, LD


As a registered dietitian (RD)I am fully qualified to accurately answer questions regarding weight loss, including those from people with health conditions requiring dietary restrictions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc) who want to lose weight, or who have been advised to do so by their physician.


I have been a registered dietitian for over 30 years and have a certificate in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration at Level 1 and Level 2. I am also trained in coaching through Coach U and currently work as a diet coach to help people lose weight the healthy way, through gradual habit changes.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition Entreprenuers, St.Louis International Coach Federation, Toastmasters

Publications,,,, Today's Dietitian

Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida, 1983; Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University 1985; Certificate in Adult Weight Management 2006; CoachU core essentials grad 2007; Level 2 certificate in Adult Weight Management 2010.

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