Pills, fads, and even surgical solutions exist to help you lose weight, but most doctors will tell you the safest and most effective way to drop those extra pounds is through diet and exercise. Easier said than done. In a recent YouTube video, author Sylvia Tara explains how mastering the art of self-control can make weight loss more feasible.

According to Tara, practicing self-control can actually change the way the brain functions. For example, no matter your weight or BMI, when humans see a sweet or high-calorie food, the desire sections of their brains light up. However, Tara explains that in long-term dieters, the area of the brain associated with “self control” also lights up, something that is not observed in obese individuals and even individuals of a normal healthy weight. This is because dieters have trained their brains to automatically practice restraint — something you can accomplish as well.

Read: Is The Key To Weight Loss Avoiding A Strict Diet And Listening To Internal Cues?

Tara explains that the trick to mastering self-control is to start off simple. For example, making a conscious effort to improve your posture for two weeks or stop swearing for two weeks can help your brain prepare to make more difficult physical sacrifices, such as those associated with dieting.

In addition, you can teach your brain to enjoy physically painful activities, such as regular exercise, by associating the act with another pleasurable activity. For example, Tara explained how individuals who listen to fun and enticing audio tapes while working out at the gym are more likely to continue going to the gym than those who listen to these tapes throughout the entire day.

It's difficult to diet and exercise, but these activities are still the best bets to lose weight and keep it off. A bit of practice may make these tasks easier, and the slight discomfort now may pay dividends later.

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