Why Diets Don’t Work with Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D.

Sandra-Aamodt -TED talk photo
Diets are among the highest risk factors for the development of an eating disorder. The rigid rules can make anyone seeking control in life to feel as though they have found it. Ironically, it is the diet that ends up controlling you and dictating when, where, and what you can eat. In neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt’s latest book Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession With Weight Loss she explains why diets actually lead to long-term weight gain, health damaging stress and eating disorders. In this show, Sandra uses personal experience and in-depth research to build a compelling case that if we want to be healthier, we should diet less, not more.

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What You’ll Learn from Sandra Aamodt

  • How and why our brains regulate weight
  • Why diets are ineffective at long term weight management
  • The negative impact of weight shaming and fat talk
  • A useful analogy to explains how new neural pathways are created

Sandra Aamodt’s Favorite Quote

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Sandra Aamodt’s Favorite Recovery Resource

Sandra Aamodt’s Advice to Former Self

Stay in the moment. Stay in your body. Don’t let your thoughts carry you away to a place where you have to be unconscious and can’t stand to be where you are.


I was in dance performance with my swing dancing class. It required standing up to the anxiety that I always feel when I perform.

Definition of Recovery according to Sandra Aamodt

Putting one foot in front of the other while staying pointed in the right direction.

For Your Journey

    • Sandra Aamodt’s TED talk: Why Dieting Usually Doesn’t Work

Connect with Sandra Aamodt

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  1. says: Lorraine

    Embracing ourselves in recovery, means accepting that our recovered bodies may fall somewhere on the bmi spectrum that is considered (both by ourselves and the wider, subjective public as) “overweight or obese” i.e FAT. Objectively w/o having dieted or had an eating disorder, our bodies may have had these naturally higher set-point weights- meaning FAT as a body descriptor was ours to claim and embrace all along. This podcast informs us of all of these facets, however I find that framing this helpful information under the heading “Why diets make us FAT” is another harmful stigmatization of fat bodies (bodies which arise out of the natural bell-curve of human difference)…essentially reinforcing that FATNESS along with DIETING are things to be avoided. If people choose to avoid dieting because they are made aware of how dieting messes with their bodies set-point and could potentially make them FATTER. Then how is this “choice” any different than the one that is made based on “diets help me be less FAT” it is the same rhetoric slightly skewed. Some of us are programmed to be BMI 23, some of us are programmed to be BMI 33, in this knowledge FAT is a body descriptor not an immoral thing to be avoided. Diets are harmful to our bodies period- whether we are naturally (objectively/subjectively) FAT or THIN. A true warrior statement/headline (less sensationalist and also less harmful) could read: WHY DIETS MAKE US LESS THAN WHO WE REALLY ARE.

  2. says: Ryann

    I really appreciate that you changed the title of this podcast. It was surprisingly triggering for me when I first saw it, even though I totally understand that this was not your intention! I definitely think that diets are unhealthy, physically, emotionally, and mentally, but the title gave the basic implication that “fat = bad.” The title, “Why diets don’t work” is definitely better, and I personally interpret that as “Dieting is not the answer to happiness.” Thanks for being open to suggestions and for all the hard work you do!! It was a really good episode 🙂 PS, the title of this tab in my browser still says “Why Diets Make Us Fat” just FYI!

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