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Oprah's Trainer Explains Science of Weight Relapse

Oprah's Trainer Explains Science of Weight Relapse

Oprah Winfrey has opened up about her weight gain, and her trainer Bob Greene has been right behind her in discussions about the emotional reasons for his famous client's issues with food abuse. However, for many people there's more to weight relapse than having an unbalanced life, and Greene gives some insight into the science of regaining unwanted weight.

Research has shown that a brain deficient in dopamine receptors could be more susceptible to weight relapse. Eating raises dopamine levels and makes some people desire more food, and overeating often occurs because it takes more food to reach a the same level of satisfaction when the brain lacks normal levels of dopamine.

Greene says that if you suspect that your dopamine levels are off, seek out sources of pleasure other than food and avoid any food that tends to trigger overeating. He recommends "hanging out with people you enjoy" and exercise as healthy alternatives to raise dopamine levels.

booglass booglass 8 years
THANK YOU Sasseefrass. Your posts have been very helpful and I think may go a long way to helping people understand one aspect of weight gain.
nicky360 nicky360 8 years
It's easy to judge overweight people. So many of you say just exercise and eat right- but would you say to a bulimic "just stop throwing up?" Besides if it was that easy more than half of the U.S. population would not be overweight. Remember in the 80s when people said you could not be addicted to cigarettes and now we know you can. The same goes for some and food. Show a little compassion. Besides, Oprah is right- if she went on with her show and had segments about living right and being happy without ever talking about her weight gain people would criticize her to no end. Being critical of overweight people is the last form of accepted prejudice- after all fat people are lazy, undisciplined, slovenly wretches right? Give me break.
Sasseefrass Sasseefrass 8 years
Actually the dopamine link with overeating and obesity has been scientifically established for quite some time. Brain scans have shown that eating, especially junk food, causes a spike in dopamine levels similar to that experienced by other addicts. And just like with other addicts, after abusing for some time, the overall number of dopamine receptors -- and thus the 'rush' they get from eating decreases and prompts a real biological drive to consume even more to get the same rush. They also don't experience as much pleasure from the other simple, everyday things that most people do. Therefore when they try to go back to eating properly etc, their own bodies are actually working against them because there's a real biological drive to eat junk (which may be the only way they know) to bring those levels back up. It is reversable, but it takes a long time. I'm not saying that it was right to overeat and get fat in the first place, but recognizing that this biochemical interaction is going on is an important factor in the weight loss process...especially for those who are significantly overweight. The 'how to' might be the same for losing 20lbs and 100lbs, but the one with 100lbs to lose has more than just time working against her.
codewhiz codewhiz 8 years
If your dopamine levels are off, I think you have more serious things to be worried about than putting on a few pounds!
mod16 mod16 8 years
i totally agree with you cmd! every last word you stated would be something i would say, because people need to hear the truth. you cant keep shoveling the same crap in your mouth and expect to lose weight.. people just need to cut back on what they eat, and how much they eat too!
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I agree with what was posted above: We're not perfect. Honestly, I'm sick of Oprah publicly complaining of her weight gain.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 8 years
Oprah, I'm tiiiiired of ya, girl. Be fat or don't be fat. Either way, just please shut up about it. Like the band said, "If you wanna change the world, shut your mouth; start this minute!"
Sasseefrass Sasseefrass 8 years
While I'm not really an Oprah fan, I do appreciate her transparency with her weight issues. People often feel quite justified being judgemental against those with weight issues. If the solution was as simple as 'Just eat less and exercise more.' then no one who wanted to lose weight would struggle. The fact is that there's a whole matrix of factors that both lead to extreme weight problems and hinder the solution. Some people choose to use them as excuses but that doesn't minimize their validity. I don't really see her using it as an excuse. She's fighting with all she has and I really respect that. Food addiction/abuse is real. Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts can generally shape their lives so that they don't have to come into contact with their drug as they try to quit. Food addicts are surrounded, bombarded and tempted with their 'drug' on an ongoing basis. It's ridiculously hard to change...even if you could afford chefs, personal trainers etc. Put it this way: We're all screwups at something. Overweight people just happen to be wearing their consequences in a very visible way. Empathy would go a lot farther to help than judgement and superiority.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I guess I still don't get why she thinks she needs to be perfect...she's NEVER been that thin (well, she was for about 10 minutes back in 1988, but I think even she admitted her routine was insane back then). She KNOWS how to get thinner, but it seems like she wants to blame everything on her thyroid or that she's addicted to food. She should just admit that that is her weak spot and move on with it.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
It's hard to feel sorry for someone who can so easily afford a cook, a nutritionist, a trainer, or any other number of people to police her.
pamela87 pamela87 8 years
Wow, cmd0610, that's awfully harsh. I work out almost every day but still struggle with a few extra pounds. Self control is easy to preach, but not everyone is perfect :)
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
I hate the "failure" aspect that Oprah keeps pressing regarding her weight gain. It really negative and not the way to handle it IMO
Spectra Spectra 8 years
See, this is why I think it's so critical to incorporate exercise into your new lifestyle along with healthy really does help you stay "on the wagon", so to speak. Of course, you can still be fat and work out, but I think that if you work out, you're less likely to want to binge and go back to comfort eating as a way to cope.
foxie foxie 8 years
Whatever, Oprah.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
Dopamine receptors . . . sure . . . it's just an excuse for people who have no self-control and can't stick a regular healthy lifestyle/exerice routine. Working out can suck- I admit that, and yeah I'd love to pig out on pizza and cupcakes- but I don't . . .people need accept responsibility for their health and stop making excuses about why they are overweight other than that they can't stick to a routine/healthy life style and that's their choice not to stick to it. It's an easy way out to "blame" ur body chemistry, that's super lame. Get over it and get your butt to the gym a few days a week! Tons of us do it!!!!!!!!!!!
julea julea 8 years
This actually makes sense. Now the trick is to put it into effect. Food is so available, and everything else......isn't.
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