04 May 2015

On failure in diets

The Washington Post has an interesting interview with Prof. Traci Mann. In the article (and a related book, which I have not read), she describes her research about dieting.  As I understand it, she thinks that dieting will almost always end in failure.

Based on my own experience with Wagmu, I have felt for some time that dieting is fraught with problems. The interview described physical changes that I have felt myself during dieting - more attention to food, finding greater pleasure in food, lowered metabolism, difficulty in maintaining willpower. I find much to agree with.

I disagree, mildly, when I consider the use of tools for dieting.  In particular, logging one's diet has been shown to improve the efficacy of dieting.  See for example this report. I have found that when I am logging food in Wagmu, I am succeeding, and when I don't log food in Wagmu, I am failing.

Something about the process of making a plan - "this is what I'm going to eat" - seems to ease my ability in sticking to the plan. My guess is that it's (1) the a priori commitment, combined with (2) a concrete plan, and (3) knowledge that I have a nutritious diet due to Wagmu's powerful Suggest feature.  So I've made a plan, and I know exactly what to do, and I know that if I don't follow it, then it won't be as nutritious.

So I'm hoping Prof. Mann tries out Wagmu!

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