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Rob Barnett is the co-author of a new book called The Economists’ Diet, a common sense approach to losing weight that applies basic economic principles to dieting.
Rob and his co-author Christopher Payne met while working at Bloomberg. At the time, Rob was struggling with his weight and soon learned that Chris used to be obese. From these interactions, the Economists’ Diet was born.
Chris and Rob believe that the obesity crisis is largely due to the propensity to overeat. They also viewed the key to change as a focus on behavior more so than nutrition. In both Chris and Rob’s experience, the fundamental starting point for changing their behavior of overeating was stepping on the scale every day. The idea is that if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. The scale will be reflective of your behavior. This daily practice provides a critical behavioral feedback loop that one will miss out on if not done frequently.
Rob proposes the idea of eating one square meal per day and making other meals smaller. Given our modern, sedentary lifestyle, Rob believes that we really don’t need three normal sized meals per day. In regards to nutrition, the Economists’ Diet uses a common sense approach about what to eat and does not focus on counting calories. Exercise is great, but you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
Rob also discusses the mini feast, mini fast theory. He states that there are inevitable points in time when you will splurge with food because it’s part of life. Feasting is human. If you’re having a big splurge, budget for that by cutting back on other meals that day. Don’t eat a gluttonous meal that is not one of your favorite foods. Make your splurges matter. Fighting obesity is a battle that can be won, but it’s about shifting your thinking and behavior.
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