Stop Blaming Your Willpower

On Our Minds


Although June was off to a gloomy start, it seems like that summer weather is finally here. Time to kick off the summer BBQ, weekend getaways, and festive gatherings. If you're worried about how these summer activities will affect your eating habits, you're not alone.

How do we tackle summer? We don't treat it any different than the other seasons. During the winter, people tend to get anxious around the holidays: New Year's, Christmas, Hanukkah. During the Spring, it's graduations, Easter, Passover, baby showers. During the Fall, it's Thanksgiving, Halloween, and pumpkin EVERYTHING. See what we're getting at? There's always something. Life isn't meant to be perfectly planned. if you've gotten through the rest of the year, the summer will be a breeze at the beach. If not, we're here to help you figure it all out - all while keeping your sanity and enjoying a good BBQ.

In Good Health, 
Lisa Brown & Jennifer Medina

Why You Should Stop Blaming Your Willpower

Crash diets, restricting calories, skipping meals – we tell people not to do it, but many still turn to these behaviors with the hope that “this time it’s going to work”. This time, you're to be stronger, more disciplined, more prepared. You decide that the more food you restrict and the longer you stay on the stair master, the better. This works for a week, maybe two, maybe more. But eventually, the weight loss stops. Eventually, you feel like you've lost your “willpower”. And... you are terribly wrong.  

 Your body has a voice.  A strong voice. It wants you to be healthy. It’s constantly defending you, healing you, fighting for homeostasis. Once you start to fight your body, things start to go haywire. 

Our endocrine system plays an important role in homeostasis. It releases hormones that influence appetite, metabolism and mood. Restrictive eating and crash dieting are seen by your body as a stressor, so it responds by telling our endocrine system to release these hormones. Leptin is one of these hormones. It is produced in the fat cells and it's main job is to tell the brain, "Hey, we have enough body fat to survive, we don't need anymore," which helps keep hunger at bay. When we crash diet or restrict, our brain thinks we are starving and leptin levels plummet as a means of protection. This increases our hunger and drives us to eat.

Coristol is known as the "stress hormone". Chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to overeating and weight gain. Know what's stressful? Putting our body through various fad diets and drastically restricting calories. 

Have you heard of the hormone called Neuropeptide Y (NPY)? It's produced in the brain cells and central nervous system. It becomes elevated during times of extreme food restriction and stress, stimulating appetite (particularly for carbohydrates).

There are so many more hormones involved it would take several newsletters to cover them all. If we can't convince you that crash diets and food deprivation don't work, hopefully science can. Maintaining or losing weight is not about willpower. It's about taking a smart approach and learning to work with your body, not against it.

On the Lighter Side

asparagus pistachio.jpg

Recipe of the Month:
Asparagus with Pistachio and Lemon

Total time: 10 minutes
Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • freshly  ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t kosher salt


  1. In a small saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat until just hot. Saute the garlic until it starts to color, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the pistachios and remove from the heat. Steam the asparagus until bright green and tender but still crisp, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.
  3. Stir the lemon juice into the pan with the pistachios. Pour over the aspragus and season with black pepper to add taste and up to 1/ tsp of salt.

Quote of the Month

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."
  —Marianne Williamson

lisa brown