Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dopamine Levels In Obese People

I am sad to say that I have officially finished the last of the pumpkin chili that my mom packed up for me. I enjoyed a bowl last night for dinner


(So perfect for the rainy, chilly weather we’ve got goin’ on right now up north)


And just had the last of it for lunch.

After inhaling my dinner (I’ve been trying to cut down on snacking so I was starving when I got home), I drove over to Maurice’s to do a little shopping. I’m in serious need of some warmer winter clothes, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a pair of jeans. I didn’t purchase too many things, but last night was one of the extremely rare occurrences where I actually bought everything that I brought into the dressing room with me.

I was stoked to find a pair of jeans that actually fit me – Maurice’s jeans are always too wide around the hips and thighs. However, they had a new straight-fitting flare style that fit me perfectly!


I bought the dark jeans that I’m wearing in the above picture, as well as that zip-up hoodie. I found it on the clearance rack for 50% off; score!

I also bought this short sleeved sweater with a black undershirt:


I’m still not sure about this sweater. I’ve never rocked a short sleeve sweater before, and I don’t know how I feel about the huge “collar” it has going on. I thought it might nice to wear on Thanksgiving, but I can’t help but think it looks funny. What do you think?

Additional purchases included a long sleeved red shirt and a green cardigan, which was another clearance rack find. I’d definitely say it was a successful shopping trip!

Workout + Breakfast

According to my workout schedule, today’s workout called for a biceps and triceps routine plus 20 minutes of HIIT on the treadmill. I began my gym session with the following arm exercises:

  • Alternating incline dumbbell curls 3 sets x 12 reps superset with overhead triceps extension 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Prone incline dumbbell curls 3 sets x 15 reps superset with triceps pressdowns (with a straight bar) 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Hammer curls 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Dips 2 sets x 10 reps

Then it was time to hit the treadmill…ugh. I feel like running is just not getting any easier, and it makes me depressed to think about the paces that I used to do HIIT at and what I have to do them at now. Of course, normally I do 30 seconds work and 90 seconds rest, and today I did 60 seconds work and 60 seconds rest, so I guess I should cut myself some slack. At first I walked during my rest periods, but then I started resting completely by standing on the sides of the treadmill. I also took a five minute walking break after the first ten minutes. Here’s what my HIIT workout ended up looking like:

Time (minutes) Speed (mph)
0-1 3.7
1-2 7.5
2-3 3.7
3-4 7.5
4-5 off
5-6 7.5
6-7 off
7-8 7.5
8-9 off
9-10 7.5
10-15 3.7
15-16 7.5
16-17 off
17-18 7.5
18-19 off
19-20 7.5
20-23 cool down

My goal for next week is to do the entire 20 minutes without my walking break that I took from minutes 10-15. I know I have it in me!

Post workout breakfast of sunflower butter toast and blueberries:


I think blueberries are my current fruit obsession; they are just so darn expensive!


Dopamine Levels In Obese People

It’s almost time to head back to work, but before I go, did any of you catch Biggest Loser last night? They had a brain scientist on the show discussing dopamine levels in the brains of obese people and thin people. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a variety of functions, one of which has to do with motivation and pleasure. The scientist explained that obese people experience much larger dopamine spikes than thin people when they see, smell, or think about food; but when they actually eat the food they experience less of a dopamine surge than thin people. In other words, obese people get a stronger craving for food but are less satisfied after eating it than thin people. This is why a thin person could be satisfied after one burger, while an obese person might eat three.

I found this information extremely interesting and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that there may be a type of chemical imbalance in obese people which may trigger binging. While this may very well be true, I do not think that it is acceptable to use it an excuse to overeat. I believe that everyone has things that come easy for them as well as things that they struggle with. For example, you may envy someone for their ability to eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce, but that person may struggle a lot in school, or have a problem with drugs or alcohol.

My point is that it’s important to remember that everyone has something they have to work hard at. For me, it happens to be my weight. It might be hard and I wish I didn’t have this problem, but at the same time I’m very grateful for many of my other qualities that I’ve been blessed with. I do well in school, I make friends easily, and I’ve had a steady job for almost five years. Life could be worse.

What are your thoughts about this research involving dopamine levels in obese people? What qualities about yourself are you happy with?


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