Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work

Are you about to start a new diet to lose weight? You might want to take a second look before you do. According to neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt, diets don’t work. In her TED Talk and research , she explains how our bodies gain and lose weight, why dieting isn’t the best way to get healthy, and how to retrain your brain and body to eat better.

Your Brain Keeps You in Check

According to the TED Talk, you have a normal weight range that your body wants to stay within. If you gain or lose too much weight, your brain will send the signal to try and level back out. It’s like the thermostat in your house. Aamodt compares it to opening the windows in your house during the winter to cool it down. The heat will kick back on to bring the temperature back down to a set range. When you gain or lose too much weight, your brain signals your body to adjust back to your range. If you try to fight it, and stay too thin, you might end up causing your body to gain weight once the diet ends.

Lifestyle Factors into Health

One of the best ways in general to stay healthy is to change your lifestyle, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, moderate exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol. Aamodt mentions a study that looked at the lifestyle factors for obese, overweight and healthy subjects. Each subject identified if they had one, two, three or four of these factors in their lives. Having more improved health, but no matter how much they weighed, having all four factors kept them at the same level of health. This means that according to the study, you can be healthy no matter what weight you are, as long as you have a healthy lifestyle.

Become a Mindful Eater

Another topic Aamodt addressed was to change the way you eat and become a mindful eater. She stated that some people are naturally more intuitive eaters, meaning they don’t stress over what to eat, have small indulgences and weigh less. On the other hand, controlled eaters try to control their weight through strict dieting, tend to bounce up and down in weight, and often binge after a small indulgence. She says the way to become more intuitive is to become a mindful eater. Mindful eating means you eat when you are hungry, work with your appetite instead of against it, stop eating when you are full, and pay attention to how you feel after you eat. This is how she naturally lost 10 pounds without gaining it back or feeling hungry.

Aamodt sums it up perfectly in her talk: “If diets worked, we’d all be thin already.” Her talk focuses on the idea that instead of dieting, simply eating better, improving your lifestyle, and staying in your natural weight range might be the key to staying healthy.


About Author

Jessi Andricks isn't just passionate about healthy living, she's made healthy living her life. Through her training in Health Coaching, Yoga and Fitness, she is able to blend together the best of all worlds, creating innovative online wellness programs and Detox Yoga Workshops, as well as teaching daily yoga, barre and fusion fitness classes. Jessi uses her knowledge to help others live healthy, happy lives. Look for her upcoming book, Detox 101, and check out more at thehouseofhealthy.com.

Posts By Jessi Andricks
  • Price Weston

    Traditional diet advice doesn’t work because it triggers the genetic effects that come from the body concluding that it is in a resource poor environment, so it upregulates and downregulates the DNA necessary to survive (to reproduce another day) by becoming way more caloric efficient lowering calorie requirements. In other words, your metabolism slows down, probably permanently and most likely epigenetically so that your children and children’s children have slower metabolism too. “Fat” chance you will succeed with weight loss now.

    A better way to lose weight is to send the body a message that you had a series of bad hunting outings meaning you don’t have much if anything to eat for a while. Fat, the body stores fat, for just this kind of event. This event is effectively fasting. Within 24 hours of starting a water fast, human growth hormone speeds up 1300% (females) to 2000% (males) to preserve lean muscle mass, insulin drops low and frees insulin receptors so that cells can release fat stores, ephedrine and norephedrine increase to improve fat burning, resting Vo2 increases 13%, the brain starts producing more BDNF and you become mentally clearer, faster, more energized, and ready to go out and hunt successfully. I completely different set of hormone effects than dieting.

    The eat a little less and move a little more mantra of traditional orthodox dietary advice, bad bad mojo. It will never work but you cannot sell weight loss product with what really works. Fasting, which works, is free, costs no money, saves money, needs no fancy plans, no special diets, no custom shopping, and can reverse other metabolic problems like insulin resistances and type 2 diabetes. The ivory tower experts are just plain full of it and everyone is the fatter including their pockets.

  • Alisa Langan Studer

    Best diet is not to diet but to eat healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables and complex carbs every day and to eat in moderation. The reason people aren’t losing weight is because they consume too many calories. It’s simple law of thermodynamics. Burn more than you put in. 3500 calories=1 lb of fat. You can either gain it or lose it.

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