In "Waistland," Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett tackles the obesity and fitness crisis from an evolutionary standpoint. She shows that we are basically hunter-gatherers lost in a jungle of burgers, lounge-chairs and TV remotes. Diet gurus urge us to "listen to our bodies," but our instincts are designed for the African savannah, not for food courts. The sugary and fatty foods for which we are programmed to forage were once scarce. Now, they're as close as the vending machine down the hall.
By 1995, two thirds of Americans ranked losing weight as an important goal. What changes have we made in the intervening decade? We've eaten 50% more fast-food meals and five more pounds of sugar a year. As we try to follow moderate weight-loss programs, we're only getting heavier. Radical changes are necessary, and fortunately they are actually easier biologically.
"Waistland" describes how to re-program our bodies, break food addictions and ignore our attraction to "Supernormal Stimuli"--artificial creations that appeal to our instincts more than the natural objects they mimic. Barrett delves into scientific research--from animal ethology to evolution--to show the disastrous direction in which our instincts have lead us. She marshals everything from hypnotic imagery and cognitive-behavioral techniques to political campaigns to demonstrate how our intellect can get us back on course. 50 illustrations: cartoons, graphs, anthropology photos.
--- from the publisher