U. of M. psychologist in the news for “myth-busting” research about dieting and wellness

The 3-29-15 edition of the Start Tribune featured an article about a University of Minnesota psychologist, Traci Mann, Ph.D., who is getting national attention for her creative research about eating behaviors. The article, “The Hungry Mind of Traci Mann,” describes her research s “unconventional” and “quirky,” and reports that the outcomes have made her “a rising star in the niche field of food psychology,” which you could view us part of the wellness behavioral health field. She made a major splash in 2014 with a study that found that comfort does not actually provide true comfort. She has questioned other assumptions about common eating behaviors, and has found that, as many in the wellness field already know, “diets don’t work.” Her research supports a very basic weight loss/wellness assumption: “Anything that is going to help people control their eating is going to work only if t doesn’t require willpower.” And, another quote from Dr. Mann: “You can’t be strong enough to resist (unhealthy eating), so you have to be smart.” She advocates little, but do-able, “tweaks” to eating habits to help with weight loss and maintaining healthy eating patterns.

Her book, “Secrets from the Eating Lab,” will be published on April 7, 2015, and is described as, “A provocative expose of the dieting industry from one of the nation’s leading researchers in self-control and the psychology of weight loss that offers proven strategies for sustainable weight loss.”

My take: it is helpful for psychologists and other behavioral professionals who are interested in helping people with wellness in general, and weight loss in particular, to be knowledgeable about “fact vs. fiction” about healthy eating habits. Being knowledgeable about these issues may help with collaborating with primary care professionals and may lead to referrals from them.

 

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