Audiobook Adventures

Why_Diets_Make_Us_Fat_coverI just got my first opportunity to listen to the audio version of my new book, which I read myself. The experience of recording it was interesting: I had fun, but I’ll also try to write shorter sentences in the future! I recorded the audio in the first week of January, over three days of five or six hours each. When I went home afterward, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. During each day of recording, I think I spoke more than my usual allotment of words for a week.

Anyway, if you’re curious, you can listen a sample of my narration or buy the audiobook, which will be released on Tuesday, June 7th, along with the print version. I hope you like them both!

13 thoughts on “Audiobook Adventures

  1. Hi,
    I read your book with much interest!
    I would like to comment of part of your book, as, with respect, I think you have made an error – specifically Chapter 6 , subheading “Environmental Chemicals and Obesity”. In short , you seem to say that cats and dogs ( and wild rats) are getting fatter so the reason must be ‘something’ widespread in the environment.
    As a practising veterinary surgeon I don’t believe that environmental chemical/endocrine modulators are the major cause for for obesity in dogs and cats. I see MANY fat dogs and cats and I would venture to say that I (nearly) never see a fat pet with a thin owner. Dr. Jo Mitchell , Director of the NSW Center for Population Health recently commented in the press that “Fifty per cent of adults are overweight and obese so our perception of what’s healthy has changed over time.”. In conversation with the owners, most don’t think their pet is really THAT fat or indeed fat at all. As previously mentioned, these owners rarely have a body fat percentage under 40-50%. They basically overfeed the animals because they feed and the dogs/cats will eat it! (for various physiological and psychological reasons).
    Endocrine modulators may well be responsible for some diseases in cats, just not obesity!
    With respect to wild rats getting fatter – urban rats eat human refuse. If we are eating a poor quality diet, so are the rats.
    The title of Chapter 13 is “Healthy is better than thin”.
    I would be interested in your comments on an article in the press. There has been some ‘new’ research that you “cannot be fit and fat” or ….” Aerobic fitness in late adolescence and the risk of early death: a prospective cohort study of 1.3 million Swedish men” … in International J of Epidemiology. Do you equate ‘healthy’ with ‘fit’ or are you considering healthy a product of ‘good’ diet?
    Looking forward to your comments.
    Regards and I hope I have not offended you!

    • It’s quite possible that the “something” in the environment that is causing weight to increase across a variety of animals is changes to the food supply, leading to a poor quality diet. A variety of authors have suggested variants of this idea, suggesting that animals eat more total calories when their food lacks some important nutrient (for example, this article). But the findings on other species can’t be explained simply by pet owners deciding to offer more food to their pets. Laboratory animals have also gotten fatter over the same time period, as have wild rodents. Many of these animals are fed ad lib, yet they’re choosing to eat more.

      Regarding your second question, fitness goes a long way toward making people healthy by itself, but a good diet is also helpful. My response to the arguments over whether it’s possible to be fit and fat can be found in an older blog post. It’s long, so I won’t repeat it here.

  2. Hello,
    I’ve read your book with a great interest and enjoyed it very much. Thank you.
    But what I still am trying to understand is if there is hope for an obese person to lose significant amount of weight without surgery or diet? Since the defended range would be very high already, can we say that there is no hope for them to have a physically normal body?
    I would appreciate if you could please share your thoughts.

    Best Wishes,

    • Occasionally people lose large amounts of weight through lifestyle changes, without surgery or diet, but most people’s current weight is close to their defended range, so successful long-term weight loss is rare and typically requires a lifetime of effort. I’d be careful, though, about confusing thinness with “a physically normal body.” A person’s body can be healthy and fully functional without being thin.

  3. Hi there
    This is unrelated to your book but a question about your book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: From In Utero to Uni’. My 3 year old listens to a lot of audio books as my husband and I think this is ‘better for her’ than to WATCH the same stories on the laptop. You say that active participation is best and that passive involvement can reduce vocabulary etc. Would the same apply for listening to stories found on You Tube etc? When playing, we notice that she uses alot of the vocab obviously picked up in the audio books she listens to. We feel it’s probably a good thing for her, but I do worry that she could easily sit there for an hour or more listening attentively to Thomas the Tank Engine when perhaps that time is better spent actively playing with her engines, even though she does spend a lot of time doing this too. I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Thanks, Mika

    • If your daughter enjoys listening to audio books for an hour, I wouldn’t worry about it. Kids don’t need to spend every minute of their day on educational activities. The main risk of passive activities is that they can crowd out the active ones that are needed for development. As long as children get some active engagement and some social interaction and some exercise each day, they’re likely to do just fine.

  4. Hello Sandra,

    I just want to thank you for writing this book. I really enjoy the book because it talks about science and history in human evolution and reasoning behind what considered as being healthy. I am not interested in diets or monitoring weight, which makes reading this book in the first place an accident (based on the title). But once I started reading and learning I just couldn’t stop. Thanks again for all the insightful reasoning and research! I thoroughly enjoyed the learning opportunity.

  5. Hi Dr. Aamodt,

    I just realized you went to Johns Hopkins as well! Great school. I own both your book and your audio book and love absolutely everything you’ve written and thank you so much for everything you’ve done to bring this message to the world. (And thank you for always replying to everyone’s comments!) I recommend your book to everyone that will listen.

    One question I have is whether the defended weight range is really a defended “body fat weight” range – in other words, what the brain is trying to maintain is not 185 lbs but rather the 46 lbs of fat (if %bf = 25%)? I ask because life would be much better if the brain is simply trying to maintain 185 in which case one can increase muscle and decrease fat (keeping in mind that muscle weighs more than fat). Specifically I’m worried about the belly / visceral fat which I understand can be among the most dangerous. Thank you for any guidance here. 🙂

    One of your best fans,

    • Unfortunately it’s body fat that’s regulated, not weight, because leptin (the feedback signal) is produced by fat. Muscle gain is independent of the set point mechanism. However, you can definitely reduce visceral fat, which is indeed the most dangerous, through regular exercise and stress reduction.

  6. Hi Sandra

    With the New Year fast approaching, I could not be happier to have come across your TED talk recently. I have been a binge eater for 10 years now (perhaps even more, and I’ve only just turned 26!) and after the inevitable Christmas binge, I’d like to rid myself of BED once and for all. The past 2 years I feel I have been in a semi-permanent state of bingeing; I don’t usually go on strict diets but now it feels the only way to eat is to binge. I am not obese or even overweight, but am aware that each year my weight is increasing steadily and am worried about the long term effects of binge eating, not to mention the immediate consequences of eating vast quantities of high fat and high sugar foods in a short period of time. In addition, my personal life is suffering too. In 2018 I would like to embark on the same experiment as you did – stop dieting, eat only when hungry and exercise everyday. I have ordered you book, but would love to hear if you have any specific advice and practical with regards to committing to intuitive eating and daily exercise. How did you keep going, what motivated you, what triumphs and challenges did you face – or was it all plain sailing? I would be so grateful to understand how you were able to see the experiment through and reach the point where you are now.

    Many thanks for your fantastic work and insight.

    • At first, it was hard for me to shake the sense that I “should” be actively managing my weight, but it got easier over months. The surprising change was that as the years passed without trying to change my body, I became much happier with it as it is. If you’d like some help with learning to stop binge-eating and start eating mindfully, there are several courses and books available. One approach that’s been tested in clinical trials is Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training. Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield is another good option.

  7. Hi Sandra,

    I listened to your TED talk and found it informative and familiar, as I also started dieting at 13 years old and didn’t really need to. I have chosen to eat a low-carb diet now because I believe that if I have a lot of carbs, I crave more. Do you have any evidence supporting or contradicting the idea of carb/sugar addiction?

    • Binge-eating disorder has some similarities with addiction, but there are several key differences as well. One is that food restriction increases the risk of binge eating, and learning to stop restricting through mindful eating is a research-tested way to reduce the frequency and severity of binge-eating episodes. With professional help, most people are able to learn to eat their “trigger foods” without setting off a binge.

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