Tag Archives: weight

Can a Scale that Leverages Behavioral Economics Help You Lose Weight? (Podcast interview with Professor Dan Ariely)

Why do we repeatedly make decisions that we know will undermine our goals – like procrastinating, or spending too much money?
Nowhere is this sort of self-defeating pattern more evident than in health-related behaviors. For example, in order to successfully lose weight and maintain weight loss, we need to make a variety of different choices on a daily basis. Yet most of us struggle to consistently make the right decisions, even when we know what we should be doing.
Advances in digital technology have given us unprecedented access to data through wearable devices, which can provide continuous information about our bodies and physical performance. But humans are not robots, and what we do with that information does not always support our long-term goals.
In this episode of humanOS Radio, I speak with Dr. Dan Ariely. Dan is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He has dedicated his life to understanding irrational behaviors. He has long recognized that even with access to useful information, we don’t always make the right choices. Furthermore, how we respond emotionally to health-related data can be counterproductive.
Body weight can be a particularly treacherous metric in this respect. For instance, due to shifts in water balance in the body, your weight can fluctuate up and down all the time, for reasons that often aren’t really related to body composition. Dr. Ariely became interested in this phenomenon and resolved to design a better scale that took these psychological tendencies into account. In this interview, I talk with Dr. Ariely about this device and the research behind it. Click to learn more!


Does Dim Light at Night Make You Fat?

Before electricity, humans got all of their light via exposure to the sun, fire, and the moon and stars. This meant that nights were spent in relative darkness. Today, our environment is quite different. Our homes can now be brightly illuminated all the time, regardless of season or time of day. Also, our cities have bright LED street lamps that create “light pollution” filling outdoor city environments with much more light than is natural.

On the latest episode of humanOS Radio, I talk to Dr. Laura Fonken who is postdoctoral fellow in Steven Maier’s lab in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado. Before joining the Maier lab, she and a group at Ohio State performed a fascinating experiment with rodents, in which they compared body weight gain in animals who only ate at night versus animals who only ate during the day. The results were startling – and had interesting potential implications for our own health.

Check out our interview here to learn more!