Why we must stop ignoring the psychology of weight loss: Alisa Anokhina at TEDxUCL

Why we must stop ignoring the psychology of weight loss: Alisa Anokhina at TEDxUCL



Alisa is a doctoral researcher in clinical health psychology at UCL who has taught and given talks across the country. Her work covers new areas of eating disorder research at the intersection of the conscious and the unconscious. Seven years of experience in journalism has lent itself to an interest in public engagement and the bridging of the gap between the scientific community and the public at large. Her core interest is in understanding how we eat, what we believe about weight loss, and how a ‘diet’ is just ‘die’ with a T.

Talk: Why we must stop ignoring the psychology of weight loss
“Losing weight is really easy; you eat less and exercise more!” But this is simply not true, as many of us may know, most diets only result in temporary weight loss. We often ignore the psychology of eating and internalising wrong beliefs cause us to fail in losing weight. The problem should be tackled as a psychological one, unrealistic expectations should be abandoned and the stigma attributed to weight loss needs to be abandoned. Contrary to suspicious adds and promises of weight loss without effort, the psychology of eating really can give us important insights.

About TEDx
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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July 2, 2012 / 44 Comments / by / in
  • Great talk. One thing about excercise/gym: before you start get a heart rate monitor! Then start exercising NOT EXCEEDING 130 BPM!!! Your body hates going over 130 and this will make YOU hate the exercise too. Unfortunately many gym trainer will tell to to push really hard. Don't listen to them until you had at least 6months of regular , i.e. 2x a week excercise at 130

  • I think she is just trying to justify why her job is not useless and then failed.

  • The piece of metal sticking out of this woman's face says it all.

  • Don't go on a diet, change your diet

  • The title is accurate – there is clearly a psychological component to the rational of losing weight. It is ALL psychological. Once you get to that psychological place, with the right knowledge about weight loss, you WILL lose weight. DETERMINATION to lose weight to reach a GOAL and a REASON for the GOAL are keys. So, if someone's weight is causing health problems, their determination will be stronger if they have a Reason and a goal for losing the weight.

  • Weight management is about Darwinian sexual selection. Only strong fit people should reproduce because strong fit people has less disease as overweight people.

  • 4:404:50 sounds a lot like school :::)

  • I find this to be an underwhelming presentation, not just from an information point of view, but she was also very not grasping or engaging

  • nice video

  • If you don't like salads, persist eating salads with a rich variety of vegetables.

  • Her premise is right on. There is a psychology to it. "Weight loss" is based on a single data point, the number on the scale. Stop focusing on that and start paying attention to how you FEEL when you eat certain things; before, during and after. Write it down so you can find the patterns to the psychological triggers that make you crave whatever you are craving. The work on those. Also, take into consideration that maybe that craving is your body telling you that you need a certain nutrient. If you deny the craving and substitute some "diet" cardboard food for it, you deny what your body needs and it forces you to eat the whole box of "diet" whatever and half your groceries in one sitting in the hope that it will get what it needs. If you had simply given your body what it wanted, you would have saved calories, embarrassment and depression.

  • Excellent presentation!

  • I lost 10 pounds in week just one quick bike ride a day for one hole week 2.5 miles by bike a day for a week no diet change

  • E.L

    this is exactly what I do, people ask me how I lost weight even tho I eat lots of junk, I'm just not overeating on it and stay in my calorie range, yes its not healthy to lose weight like this tho and i know i should still eat healthier

  • This is bullshit, nobody loses weight by treating themselves and doing the minimum. Weight loss is about effort, sacrifice, and discipline.. the method she's talking about is for the weak minded, and lazy

  • I clapped for you

  • How can a scientist be so blurry with terms she describes? "Eat less" works, but then it doesn't, but it does, but obviously not… It's Vicky Pollard all over.

    All she wants to say in a nutshell is:
    Physically, eat less works fine(law of conservation of energy), but it's hard.
    TED talk finished.

  • Farcical ideas, Losing weight is easy it's just that most fat people are weak willed and lazy.

    Bullshit like this won't help anyone.

  • She so doesn't need to lose weight. Her body looks perfect. Maybe she used to be really fat?

    Also, great talk!

  • i just fell in love with the speaker.

  • I think its just life style changes. Switching from vegan to normal I gained 30 lbs. As much as I like eating normal like my friends who are normal weight cause it's embarrassing to sound like a prick my body doesn't agree. I think more people should go vegan after 2 weeks I swear it feels normal, you save money compared to going out, and it's nice bonding with other people who instantiating paint you as a good person just by the way you eat lol (silly reasoning but fun).

  • She's just saying eat less bad food, eat more good food and find a physical activity that you enjoy. Basically eat less, exercise more. She's just trying to put it in a softer way. Accomplishing any goal usually requires time and effort. It doesn't matter if it's losing a hundred pounds, learning to play an instrument or learning a language. You can try to think about things in a more positive way, but in the end it really is as simple as eat less, exercise more.

  • Losing weight is something that everyone believe is possible through exercising and eating right but it is not that simple.  I fully agree with Anokhina that this strategy really doesn't work because there is always that weight, that if it is lost, that gradually comes back.  Looking at things that we can do to counteract this,  it is important pay attention to the psychological aspect of eating.  Finding what we like to eat and controlling ourselves is very important.  However, we have a certain amount of self control.  Forcing ourselves to do something that we hate is not going to be beneficial and it is important to change habits if there is an expectation of weight loss.  Thought suppression is something that comes into play as well and it is really taxing on the mentality of a person.   I agree that it is important to look at the way we think and behave and to treat the body well and improve our life to lose weight.  Eat the foods we like, and work to schedule your weight loss around you. 
    As Alisa explains however, there are things like weight loss counseling that give people support to help them.
    Like Alisa says, it is not so much about losing the weight, but thinking differently.  It is far more important to get the mind on the right track before we can even come close to losing the weight that we want to lose.

  • it doesn't change just because you have feelings. It is an absolute fact if you eat less and exercise more you will lose weight. Dumb bitch.

  • That's the thing. You have to rewire your preferences too. Sure, don't eat salad now, but try to like eating it in the future, because it's not only good for your weight, it's NECESSARY for your health too. I have a friend who doesn't eat vegetables and her health deteriorated rapidly just because of that.

  • truth is people nowdays dont have to run and hunt for food.
    you have vehicles, supermarkets, drive thru etc
    .

  • but you need to think differently to eat less calories. Thats the point. If you just think differently but eat similar amount of calories, yu ll retain a similar weight.

  • Loved the video. However, to lose weight, "eat less; exercise more" is not incorrect. It's somewhat surprising to me how many people find this statement to be "judgmental." Granted, this statement, on its own, can frustrate many people who don't work on themselves methodically, for example, by realizing the other truths she mentions in the video and finding the other things that help to keep you on track.

  • Even TEDx talks have to have some standards..

  • I Googled the “fizy unique plan” and it seemed like a good idea to try it. When I tried this weight loss plan, it wasn`t long before I started out dropping unwanted weight! My friend tried this guide and shed 08 pounds!

  • Everyone needs to read "How Not To Die" and "Why We Love Dogs, Eat, Pigs, and Wear Cows"

  • I am 55, 183 cm tall, and since I was 19 I have same weight 72-74 kg. I spent 1 kg of sugar per week just in coffee. Actual amount is 50-100% more because of sweets, fruits, soft drinks etc. I eat a lot of bread. I smoke approx 30 cigarettes a day for 40 years. I never eat salads, and very little vegetables. What else? I am bold and I accept this fact. Somebody is tall, somebody short, one intelligent another not so much, one rich another poor… And we all will gonna die.

  • This is misleading talk……. Weight can be reduced only by reducing your calories and burning your callories.

  • Very good video. As a large woman I can totally relate to what she is saying.

  • I love Ted talks, but this was disappointing. I feel like she was trying to make a point, but failed completely in actually explaining and making a point. I also think that because she was focusing so much on the psychological points, she completely ignored the scientific points of how weight loss actually occurs in the body (which is not taking in excess calories that you won't use). She also seemed to start to form an idea, but then left it so open-ended that it feels like the worst advice ever. I feel like her whole presentation was poorly thought-out and that she was unprepared to give it. Even she seemed unsure of the information she was speaking about, noted in part by the fact that she had to keep looking at her own slideshow and not the audience while speaking. So very disappointed in this one.

  • I lоvе the I'm gоoооing to givе thеse prоducts a chаnce to wоrk their mаgic оn me. I'vе triееd еverything out thеrе aаnd soоoo far nоthing has bееn gооd еnough tо hеlp me. Cheсk оut it therе https://twitter.com/9b7e19512eee5d182/status/822770749395980289

  • The CICO comments on the video really miss the psychological point she made quite well. A point that most of us who had problems with weight in the past can really resonate with. That is at the point where you feel deprived when you're on a diet, either you will fail your diet or your diet will fail you. We are not psychologically designed to tolerate deprivation for extended periods of time. And the ability to use some basic tools to reduce deprivation could improve anyone's motivation to lose weight.

  • I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! EXCELLENT! ♡

  • Do any of you actually get what she is talking about? If you tell me not to eat chocolate, of course I am going to eat chocolate. She is saying eat what you want in moderation. The psychology behind positive eating is mindfulness. Binge eating is a result of your brain on diet mode. By all means, diet and feed into the mainstream societal interpretation of what our bodies SHOULD look like. Dieters fuel the beauty and diet magazines and mainstream media. Of course our bodies will hang onto fat because our brain thinks its starving. I find it amusing that all of you with nothing nice to say SHOULD also consider keeping those negative thoughts in your head. Part of the main problem with social standards is negativity and ego.

  • I wish I`d known about the “fizy unique plan” sooner! (Google it) I actually would`ve shed 13 lbs years ago. You need to check it out on google!

  • I wish people can learn to be self relying to sustain their life like they did over a hundrate years ago not needing counselling from a psychiatrist. We have become addicted to convenience of chemically poisoned taste and we are addicted to buying services to help us cope rather than going to our elders to ask for advice. We are quickly and surely breeding those wisdoms out by getting rid of our elders and by forgetting what it was like before obesity was an issue. Make your own food people. Train yourself to be self sustaining and care for your elders this will give you the strength and dont eat chemical poisonous food.

  • I wish people can learn to be self relying to sustain their life like they did over a hundrate years ago not needing counselling from a psychiatrist. We have become addicted to convenience of chemically poisoned taste and we are addicted to buying services to help us cope rather than going to our elders to ask for advice. We are quickly and surely breeding those wisdoms out by getting rid of our elders and by forgetting what it was like before obesity was an issue. Make your own food people. Train yourself to be self sustaining and care for your elders this will give you the strength and dont eat chemical poisonous food.

  • Sure it does not work if you say one thing and finishing your muffin in meanwhile. If you have operation and you simply could not eat as much as you accustom and you always feel full even after small meal it work 100 percent. Alisa assuming that people honest and dedicated but most people are not that her mistake in calculation.

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