Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work.
Are you about to embark on a new weight-loss diet? You might want to reconsider before proceeding. Diets, according to neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt, are ineffective. She explains how our bodies gain and lose weight in her TED Talk and research, why dieting isn’t the best way to get healthy, and how to retrain your brain and body to eat better.
Your brain controls you.
According to the TED Talk, your body prefers to stay within a normal weight range. If you gain or lose too much weight, your brain will send a signal to try to bring you back into balance. It’s similar to your home’s thermostat. Aamodt compares it to opening the windows in your house to cool it down during the winter. The heat will be turned back on to return the temperature to a predetermined range. When you gain or lose too much weight, your brain signals your body to return to its normal weight range. If you try to fight it by staying too thin, you may end up causing your body to gain weight once the battle is over.
Health Effects of Lifestyle Factors
In general, changing your lifestyle to include more fruits and vegetables, moderate exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Aamodt cites a study that looked at lifestyle factors in obese, overweight, and healthy people. Each participant indicated whether they had one, two, three, or four of these factors in their lives. Having more improved their health, but having all four factors kept them at the same level of health no matter how much they weighed. This means that, according to the study, you can be healthy regardless of your weight as long as you live a healthy lifestyle.
Learn to Eat Mindfully
Aamodt also discussed changing your eating habits and becoming a mindful eater. She stated that some people are naturally more intuitive eaters, which means they don’t stress about what to eat, indulge in small amounts, and weigh less. Controlled eaters, on the other hand, try to control their weight through strict dieting, tend to fluctuate in weight, and frequently binge after a small indulgence. She believes that becoming a mindful eater is a good way to become more intuitive.
Mindful eating entails eating when you are hungry, working with your appetite rather than against it, stopping when you are full, and paying attention to how you feel after eating. This is how she lost 10 pounds naturally without gaining it back or feeling hungry.
In her talk, Aamodt says it best: “If diets worked, we’d all be thin by now.” Her presentation focuses on the idea that, rather than dieting, simply eating better, improving your lifestyle, and staying within your natural weight range may be the key to staying healthy.