Thursday, December 17, 2020

Traci Mann on the Obstacles of Maintaining Weight Loss

Headshot of Dr. Traci Mann
“Thinsplaining,” a now-common term, refers to the situation in which a person who has never struggled with weight still assumes they are qualified to give advice or pass judgment on those who do. A Salon article titled, “Thinsplaining is real: Science says permanent weight loss is rare, and thin people don't get it,” explains that maintaining weight loss has very little to do with willpower and more so to do with how the brain reacts to processed foods similar to how it does with an addiction with drugs or alcohol.

Traci Mann, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, explains that there is a direct connection between the physical mechanisms such as a change in metabolism or hormones and the physical obstacles that can arise that make it difficult for people to lose weight. For example, she elaborates saying when an individual limits themself to fewer calories, their attentional focus changes so that they are now more preoccupied with thoughts of food and they're more aware when food is present.

The article recommends that in order to avoid thinsplaining, approach the situation from a position of empathy to truly understand what the person is going through and how they’re struggling.

Composed by Flora Pollack, communications assistant.