Which 5 TED Videos Should You Watch for Weight Loss Tips?

If you don’t know about TED videos, you are in for a treat. There are already over 1,000 of them, all free. Some TED talks are 20 minutes long, others just 180 seconds. I’ve picked the 5 best TED talks for helping you lose weight and their weight loss tips.

Over the past few years, I have watched several hundred TED videos. I like them because they are usually interesting, available on demand, fast-paced and short — just the right length when you want to watch something but don’t have much time.

By the time my wife and I get the kids to bed, clean up the kitchen and organize ourselves for the next day, we feel like a little vegetating. But it’s usually already nearly nine and –because we are early risers– we don’t have time to get into a movie. Nor can we ever find anything on TV to watch. (I get most of my TV from iTunes.)

Each TED video is a presentation, talk or performance given by someone fascinating, interesting or inspiring — usually at a TED conference somewhere around the world. Not many of them deal with weight loss tips, but some do. Here are my recommendations for the top 5 that provide weight loss tips:


Dean Ornish on the “killer diet.”  (About 3 minutes long.) Dean Ornish is a brilliant man. His research has proven that simply changing your diet to a vegan whole foods diet can stop heart disease and reverse it – as well as help you lose weight. Few cardiologists want to hear that, because they have come to believe that their expensive, painful and risky surgical options are the best and only option. This video is only about three minutes long, but it’s packed with fascinating information. This TED video is not full of weight loss tips, but it may just be the extra help you need to change your life for the better.

Dan Buettner on How to live to be 100+. (About 20 minutes long.) Buettner doesn’t spend much time in this video talking about weight loss. So why do I recommend it? Because I find his focus on the blue zones –places around the world where people live the longest– truly inspirational. It reminds me that little things can make a big difference to our happiness and health. Hearing about the people he meets during his research, like 101-year-old grandfathers in an isolated Greek village who still chop wood by hand and ride their motor scooters, makes me feel that just about anyone is capable of setting up their life in a way that makes them happier, healthier and slimmer. This is another TED video that is not full of weight loss tips, but is packed with inspiration.


Graham Hill on why he’s a weekday vegetarian. (About 6 minutes long.) Hill starts his talk out like this: “About a year ago, I asked myself a question, ‘Knowing what I know, why am I not a vegetarian?'” Most people know that eating more veggies and other whole foods, and less meat and processed foods is good for us. If that hasn’t been enough for you to change your diet, Hill also gives you some powerful environmental reasons you might want to eat better. But, instead of insisting you give up all meat, he suggests a powerful, pragmatic alternative: Be a weekday veg. For someone not willing to become a full-time vegan or vegetarian, it could be the best weight loss tip you’ve ever gotten. Your body will thank you and you will lose weight.


Ben Goldacre battles bad science. (About 15 minutes long.) Sometimes it seems like every magazine article or book you read says something different about losing weight. And, they all claim to base their statements on science. For example, Dr. Atkins’ books claim that eating lots of high fat animal foods is the key to health and weight loss. Yet, books by Dr. Dean Ornish (see the first video above), who debated Atkins while the latter was still alive, claim the opposite. How do you know what to believe? In this TED video Goldacre explains how magazines, authors and scientists trick you by misrepresenting the science. Once you learn their tricks, it will be easier for you to know which weight loss tips to believe. (In the case of Atkins and Ornish, it’s easy to decide because Atkins himself was overweight and had heart disease when he died, while Dr Ornish is both still alive and thin.)


Peter Reinhart changes your opinion of bread. Reinhart is a master baker and in this video he helps you understand why bread is called the “stuff of life.” Through his talks and books, Reinhart turns the science of baking into spiritual teachings. In this TED video, you’ll learn things about bread you never thought you’d know and gain a new appreciation for an often-overlooked food. Which is good, because whole grain bread is a healthy, low calorie food that can fill you up before a meal so that you eat less of the fattening foods on your plate. Like some other videos I’ve reviewed here, this one is not full of weight loss tips, but it could push you in the right direction.


What You Can Do Today

Watch at least one of these videos and write down one thing you took from it that could help you lose weight — whether by providing useful information or powerful inspiration. Stick that slip of paper on your fridge door, or on the wall above your desk, for a week so that it really sinks in.


P.S.:  I enjoyed writing this post because –while I was theoretically being productive and writing a blog post– in fact I got to sit here and watch a bunch of great videos! (Including many that didn’t make the cut.) I hope you enjoy your weight loss research as much as I did.

Free Resources:

Free Worksheet: Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Free Daily Food Log: Help Yourself Eat Better and Lose Weight
Free E-Newsletter: Stay Motivated, Keep Learning
Free Weigh Loss Quote of the Day or Quote of the Week: Get Inspired Again, and Again, and Again...


  1. Thanks for the info! I just discovered Ted Talk and think they are amazing!

    Just going to throw this in as I have tried both Ornish and Atkins plans personally > Dr. Atkins, according to medical records as printed by USA Today, was 195 at around 6 foot when he entered the hospital after his head injury. Overweight? I don’t think so. And while I could not follow Dr. Ornish’s food plan I’m not going to say it isn’t healthy or effective. (but his double chin in the photo you posted above does beg a smile).

    Having pointed that out, I’m not sure I would judge the validity of a food plan based wholly on whether or not the founder was able to follow it. Just because you can’t follow a food plan doesn’t mean its not valid and healthy. And doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else. I’d say basically the trend now is eating closer to what Atkins preached than Dr. Ornish. Again, doesn’t make one right and one wrong.

    Aaaah if only our view on weight loss could keep us from slipping on a patch of ice and sustaining a head injury.

  2. Loved your collection of TED videos.Dan Buettner’s talk about adding life to your years and years to your life by working,being active socially and professionally,eating right, gardening ..All things which people can do easily without spending money, but perseverance is needed.
    I am a doctor and due to various work stress I developed hypertension at quite a young age.I started gardening and blogging to keep my mind off word stress and I am visibly calmer now.
    Great collection once again. Thanks

    • Dave Platter says:

      I am so glad you liked it. Gardening seems like a great way to reduce stress. I’ve been doing a little myself. :-)

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