With over 50 million users, nutrition tracker MyFitnessPal has accumulated a hefty amount of fitness data. There’s an interesting trend in that pile of information: MyFitnessPal users who shared their food diaries with friends ended up losing twice as much weight.
The idea that people can be healthy at any weight has gained credence in recent years, despite widespread evidence that obesity creates health risks. While the idea is attractive, it’s also dangerous because it can lull people who need to lose weight now into a false sense of security.
Almost everyone who has tried to lose weight has tasted the bitter pill of failure. That feeling you get when, despite all your desires to be healthier, to fit into sassier clothes or to shimmy through life (and into aeroplane seats) with greater ease and comfort, you just can’t stick with your diet and exercise plans for long enough to get there.
In 1980 just 10 per cent of Australian adults were obese; by 2012 this figure had risen to 25 per cent, among the highest in the world. The food industry lobby and their friends in government would have us believe this comes down to reduced personal responsibility for what we eat and how much we move.
It pays to be self-conscious sometimes. This one-minute video from In59second’s Richard Wiseman tells us that just looking at ourselves before we open the fridge can help us lose weight and make better food choices.
Losing weight for healthy living is difficult. What’s interesting is the role our brain plays in regulating our weight and why that makes it so difficult to shed kilos when we want to. Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt explains in this TED talk, and discusses how eating mindfully can help.