Thursday, January 28, 2021

Dieting: Not the Answer to Weight Loss

Headshot of Dr. Traci Mann
In a Discover Magazine article titled “Forget Dieting. Here’s What Really Works to Lose Weight,” Traci Mann, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, explains that constant dieting is not ideal for a pleasant life and leads to physiological changes that make it harder to stick to dieting. Some problems with dieting include the obsession with thoughts of food. While balancing your calorie intake and outtake can be helpful for losing weight, obsessing over it can be self-sabotaging. Mann suggests a better approach: accept our bodies and fight weight stigma.

Mann reminds readers that just because someone can’t stick to a diet or keep off weight doesn’t mean they have any less self-control. Resisting biological processes can trigger a body to fight back with psychological processes. Instead of resisting food cravings, Mann suggests putting sweets out of sight and trying the strategy “veggies first.” In this strategy, instead of putting your slice of pizza or other dinner items on your plate, first, put some veggies -- and only veggies -- on your plate. One study conducted in an elementary school by Mann backed up this strategy as kids ate more carrots when they were served alone rather than alongside other food items.

While many have food goals, it's important to remember that wellness includes much more than a diet. If you are not currently ready to emotionally commit to a diet, instead try self-care techniques such as getting more rest or exercise.

Composed by Flora Pollack, communications assistant.