Science uses experimentation as a way of gathering data to identify, explain or predict an outcome.
But what happens when a scientific study asks the wrong questions?
That could definitely be the case in a 2018 Norwegian scientific study that concluded ‘obese people who lose weight may have to deal with feelings of increased hunger for the rest of their lives’.
That is enough to stop anyone from trying. Surely they would read that and think ‘I may as well give up now and eat whatever I want!’
But don’t give up, because I believe scientists are as prone to errors in judgement as any other profession and in this case, they got it wrong.
For a start, the study only involved 34 people, which is very small, even though they each weighed an average of 125Kg/275lbs and were considered ‘severely’ obese.
Then the study claimed that: ‘The individuals participated in a rigorous, two-year weight-loss program involving diet and exercise, during which they lost about 24 lbs. (11 kg) on average.’
My clients lose an average of 10kgs/22lbs in 6 weeks and that is with no exercise. In one year, I have had clients who have lost over 35kgs/77lbs and they still love food, eat at restaurants, enjoy life and feel satiated, not constantly hungry.
So 11kgs/24lbs is a little underwhelming and I suggest the study used a flawed approach when it came to weight loss. By focusing on diet and exercise and not delving into the mental aspects of why the subjects were obese in the first place, they tried to fix the symptoms, not the cause.
What need was food fulfilling in these 34 severely obese individuals that they were not getting in life? Was it love, significance, comfort?
Even the most rigorous diet and exercise regime won’t address a longing for love for example. So the feelings of ‘hunger’ described by the subjects could well have been a longing for whatever need food was providing for them. I can predict with some certainty that in mere months most of them will regain the weight and then some.
That is why I teach a mind before body approach when it comes to weight loss. We have to heal our relationship with food, so we don’t fall back into destructive patterns, regain the weight and enter the black hole of yo-yo dieting.
Change the way you think about food to change your weight.
I believe the scientific community often discounts the influence of the mind because it is so hard to quantify.
The final conclusions of the study suggested that because of these feelings described by the subjects, obesity should be treated as a chronic illness that requires lifelong treatment.
But they never asked why their subjects over ate.
And now obesity is at risk of being labelled a chronic physical illness instead of an emotional one, which means even a lifetime of treatment will fail, all because they failed to ask the right questions.