The Instinct Diet is a patented weight loss plan devised by Dr. Susan Roberts, MD. It’s also a highly popular, highly successful plan, which has sold millions of copies the world over. How so? For one thing, it is staunchly against starving oneself in order to lose weight. For another, it is based on a nutrient-rich, tasty, varied, and sustainable long-term strategy. While it will not promote instant weight loss, it won’t have your scales bouncing back and forth from one end of the spectrum to the other, in what has been popularly termed as the ‘yoyo effect’. Last, but perhaps most importantly, the Instinct Diet was compiled after long and thorough bouts of scientific research. Roberts is not a dietitian, but a neuroscientist, who took to the study of losing weight by analyzing why we, humans, have the instinct to eat. She found this basic need to be determined by five primordial instincts.
It almost goes without saying that we eat because we are hungry, but Susan Roberts says more than this. She says that the hunger instinct is essentially triggered by the release of two hormones. When ghrelin and leptin are released into the body, then hunger becomes incontrollable. As such, starving oneself is not only painful and hard to bear, but it’s also highly counterproductive when dieting.
We see it, we eat it, Susan Roberts says. This is especially true of people who literally cannot turn down a free meal, no matter how unhealthy it may seem. It also explains why America (and many other countries around the world) are suffering because of the plague of obesity—as the times have evolved, restaurant portion sizes have increased in direct proportion. Availability is controlled via willpower, but in the initial stages of weight loss, it is pivotal for the dieter to make certain foods unavailable to themselves.
Susan Roberts’ spent over two decades researching human eating habits and found that the human brain instinctively goes for those foods who seem richer in calories. In other words, it’s a matter of instinct that we choose a double chocolate muffin over a carrot. Like our ancestors, we look for foodstuff that will keep us satisfied for longer—or that at least visually make us that promise.
The instinct of food familiarity explains why some dote on comfort foods. We eat what we know and have been exposed to. As such, bad eating habits (such as a preference for empty-calorie or highly fatty foods) can be countered by repeated, long-term exposure to healthier, more nutrient-rich foods.
Variety and diversity are wonderful things, but not always so when trying to lose weight. Too much variety in a toxic food environment, where we are constantly assaulted with the wrong food choices is hard to fight, as well as highly detrimental. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit your initial choices to a select, healthy few. You will get your taste buds reacquainted to the flavors of healthy food and find it easier to avoid unhealthy ones.