After indulging in all kinds of food during Noche Buena, you may feel as if you’ve gained a few pounds, so you’ll probably add “will diet” to your list of New Year’s Resolutions. Expect that you’ll feel some pangs of frustration and depression, though, as a study on has shown that going on a diet after having your fill of fatty and sugary food may cause withdrawal-like emotional symptoms.

Laboratory tests were run to see how fat and sugar intake can actually change how the brain works. Dr. Stephanie Fulton and researchers of the University of Montreal's Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated CRCHUM Hospital Research Centre observed the production of the brain molecules dopamine (which triggers good feelings) and CREB (which activates the brain to produce dopamine and other substances such as the stress hormone corticosterone).

They found that just before the occurrence of obesity caused by high-fat diets, chemical changes happen within the brain, causing high levels of corticosterone.

“This explains depression and the negative behavior cycle,” Dr. Fulton explains. “The chemicals changed by the diet are associated with depression. A change of diet then causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations, launching a vicious cycle of poor eating,” she adds.

So how do you fight withdrawal? The best way is probably to not let yourself feel deprived. Before starting any diet regimen, find time to look for different kinds of healthy food that can serve as alternatives to fatty and sugary meals. You can check out our article on diet dry-runs, which can help you ease into new eating habits and can lead to better weight maintenance. You also need to pair your diet with the proper exercise so that whatever negative emotions you may feel can be countered by the production of endorphins, which are happy hormones produced when you get physical.

Remember, going back to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be torture. There are many ways for you to have fun with it, and make the rewards even more satisfying.

(Photo by o5com via Flickr Creative Commons)

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