Dr. Traci Mann, University of Minnesota professor, researcher and author of “Secrets from the Eating Lab,” shares the bittersweet ‘truths’ about dieting.
As swim suit season approaches and many of us gear up to start our diets on Monday there is something Dr. Traci Mann, University of Minnesota professor, researcher and author of “Secrets from the Eating Lab,” would like us to know… diets don’t work.
“I feel like a lot of people who hear me talk about this say it’s bad news but It is not bad news! It’s not bad news! this is liberating news,” said Mann.
That’s a tough sell when those before and after pictures pop up on our television screens and Facebook feeds.
In the end.. most people will regain the weight.
That’s just a standard part of what your body goes through when you lose weight and it’s not anybody’s fault.
It’s not your fault, Mann says, because diets set you up to fail.
The problem is when you diet your body notices that not enough calories are coming in and so that leads to these physiological changes. Such as changes to your metabolism and changes to your hormones that determine how hungry or full you feel.
So that sandwich that would’ve filled you up before dieting.. no longer does .. because your hunger hormone levels have changed.
One of the other things that happen to you when you go on a strict diet there are all these changes in your thinking patterns and you become preoccupied with thoughts of food.
This all happens because our body, Mann says, is fighting to stay in a genetically predetermined weight range.
The problem is when you try to lose a lot of weight. so much weight that you go below your body’s set weight range.
“So if you’re in the ballpark of 175 pounds you’re never going to be a 110 pound person at least not without massively and completely suffering every day, ” said Mann.”But you’re also not going to be a 300 pound person.”
Unfortunately, there is no set formula to determine your range. But most people can figure out what their range just by thinking through their own weight history and what’s that weight that you always come back to.
For skeptics out there, Mann cites a study done on adopted children which found most grew up to resemble the weight of their birth parents.
Showing the power of the genes and the environment that these adoptive parents set for this child which set their eating habits for perhaps their whole life, didn’t really change the weight they ended up with. Their weight stayed like their birth parents.
Mann knows, despite the research, some of you will still think this sounds like a cop out.
One thing that drives me crazy and i tell people all this all the important factors of genetics and weight and they say, “Yeah but in the end you’re still the one holding the fork.”
The key thing to realize is that one person holding a fork is not the same as another person holding a fork.
So maybe it’s time to let go of the goal of hitting that *dream* weight and instead focus on health.
“So i think the goal should be to do healthy behaviors..like eating veggies and exercising and not smoking and if you do those you will improve your health but you might not get thinner,” said Mann.