Ep. 1: Dr. Aria Campbell-Danesh – Building a Healthier Relationship with Food and Your Body

In this first episode, I speak with psychologist Aria Campbell-Danesh. Aria’s specialty is helping men and women achieve sustained weight loss by changing their relationship with food and with their bodies.

As we’ve all heard and maybe experienced ourselves, it’s hard to lose weight, and even harder to keep it off. Research has shown that not only are diets not effective in the long-term, but many people gain more weight than they lost after going on a diet.

So what are we to do if we’re carrying extra weight that may be limiting our activities and affecting our health? I was pleased to get Aria’s perspective on this issue and to hear about his program, which is based on the latest research findings. Aria uses a variety of tools from mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy to help his clients achieve their goals.

We covered a range of topics, including why keeping weight off is even harder than losing it in the first place. Aria sheds light on this question in ways I hadn’t considered before. We also discussed how his program differs from our typical approach to weight loss, as it’s not a diet in the traditional sense. The focus instead is on the mindset that we bring to health and nutrition.

One of the questions I was most curious about had to do with the idea of “moderation.” We’ve all heard this idea tossed around in the context of diets, especially with the abundance of seemingly extreme diets now being promoted—things like the ketogenic diet, with its emphasis on high fat and low carbohydrates, all-raw diets, veganism, and even all-meat diets.

I’ve wondered what people mean exactly when they say “all things in moderation.” Do they mean we really should eat some of everything? Or are there some of us who do better by avoiding certain foods entirely, either because they’re not good for us or because we’ll gorge ourselves on them if we open that door?

I found Aria’s answer very illuminating, and a good example of how subtle shifts in our mindset have potentially big effects on our behavior and health. I look forward to hearing your comments about this episode.

Aria is Scottish (as you’ll hear in his accent), and attended St. Andrews University. He and I met in 2010 when he was a visiting student at the University of Pennsylvania, where I was on the faculty at the time. After returning to the UK, Aria completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at University College London. He lives in England with his wife and their dog Alfie.

Find out more about Aria’s approach on his website where you can sign up for his newsletter and get tips for mindful eating. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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