Best way to lose weight? A neuroscientist tells all.

Best Way to Lose Weight

Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt shares the best way to lose weight, and what she has to say might surprise you.

The video I’m going to share from Aamodt below really spoke to me. Her experience mirrors my own struggles with food so much, and I suspect that a lot of people out there have the same experience with dieting. It just doesn’t work! You can go on a crash diet and lose weight quickly, but the best way to lose weight is to focus on healthy food and mindful eating.

Like Aamodt, I also have struggled with body image for a good part of my life, and I was one of those teens who was constantly restricting calories and fretting over every mouthful of food, even when I was hungry. It was when I stopped trying to diet and started focusing on eating healthy foods and staying active that my weight normalized. And I’ve maintained a healthy weight for over a decade this way.

Why Diets Fail

Aamodt shares how your brain responds to crash diets and explains how dieting causes your body’s metabolism to slow down. She holds that the best way to lose weight is to listen to your body and eat mindfully.

The reason? It’s called a “set point,” and it’s a weight range that your body considers normal. There’s some bad news about set points in this talk, but also some good news!

Aamodt recommends ditching what she calls “controlled eating,” because when you restrict your calories through willpower in this way you make yourself more vulnerable to food marketing and overeating on the rebound. The result is usually a net weight gain. That means that the best way to lose weight is to:

  • eat when you’re hungry
  • choose healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables
  • take your time while you’re eating
  • stop when you’re full

That can look very different for different people. It could mean three meals a day, six mini-meals, or snacking on healthy food all day long. It’s all about listening to what your body is telling you.

When Aamodt made the change from controlled eating to mindful eating, she lost 10 pounds without feeling deprived at all.

She also talks about a study on how forming four healthy habits impacts risk of death. The habits she discusses are:

  1. eating healthy food
  2. getting regular exercise
  3. not smoking
  4. not drinking

The results are dramatic. In the graphs below, the number on the bottom is the number of the healthy habits folks engaged in:

Best Way to Lose Weight: Healthy Habits

That means that the best way to lose weight is also may also be the best way to improve longevity.

Best Way to Lose Weight: Stop Dieting!

In this inspiring, eye-opening TED Talk, neuroscintist Sandra Aamodt talks about her journey to a healthy weight and the best way to lose weight for good.

You might be a little bit bummed out to hear how hard it is to lower your body’s set point, but I think that the take-away from this talk is that crash dieting tends to lead to weight gain.

That means that the best way to lose weight is to stop depriving your body! That doesn’t mean that you should eat five doughnuts, but it means that you should eat when you’re hungry. Because that’s not what’s causing weight gain.

Image Credits: Eating photo via Shutterstock; chart from video

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