Failure of dieting

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  • Created on: 04-03-14 20:19
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  • Failure of dieting
    • The Boundary model
      • dieting may fail and lead to overeating
        • the person sets a cognitive limit to restrain the amount of food intake
          • this means restrained eaters (dieters) have two limits
            • physiological limit - set by body weight
            • cognitive limit - set by the person
            • the restrained eater will eat until they reach their cognitive boundary determined by the diet they set themselves
              • once they go over the boundary the eat until they reach their physiological boundary and beyond
                • dis-inhibition occurs after the self imposed limit is broken. this is loosening restraints in response to emotional distress.
                  • known as the 'what the hell' effect
      • Evaluation
        • Research evidence for the Boundary Model
          • Herman and Mack
          • gave a group of dieters and non dieters either a high or low calorie preload
            • non dieters used compensatory regulatory behaviour and ate less during a taste test after the preload than low calorie
              • restrained eaters have a cognitive boundary for food intake
                • overcome by the preloads 'what the hell' effect takes over
        • Contradictory evidence
          • not all dieters overeat, eg restricting anorexics
            • Laessle
              • some dieters can successfully reduce calorie intake by 400 k'cals less than unrestrained eaters and eat less food high in carbs and fat
                • also, if simply not eating something results in eating it, how do vegetarians not eat meat
        • Psychology as a Science
          • many of the experiments are carried out in labs
            • allows for isolation and control of variables - enables cause and effect to be established and replication
              • gives boundary model high validity and reliability
                • however, low levels of ecological validity - artificial conditions - difficult to generalise
                  • dieting in real world may involved more complicated issues not studied in the laboratory
    • The Role of Denial
      • cognitive psychology has shown that attempting to suppress or deny the thought has the opposite effect
        • Theory of Ironic Processes of Mental Control
          • dieting is the decision to not eat certain foods or eat less
            • results in a state of denial - try to suppress thoughts about food
              • attempts to suppress thoughts of forbidden foods increase the preoccupation with them
                • denied food becomes more attractive
      • Evaluation
        • Research support
          • Wegner
            • told participants to not thinks about the white bear
              • those told not to rang bell to indicate they were thinking about it more often than those asked to think about the bear
                • suggests experimental support for the role of denial
                  • however, he admits that the evidence for the role of ironic processes in the lab is far from overwhelming
        • Alternative approach
          • limited as they ignore the role of biological factors such as body weight set point
            • dieting to reduce weight below the body weight set point is difficult because the body tries to restore the set point any way it can
              • the body will increase feelings of hunger and will reduce BMR (basal metabolic rate)
                • BMR is the rate at which cells burn up energy
                  • a lower BMR reduces energy expenditure making weight loss difficult on a diet
                    • evidence on set point is a valid alternative explanation for the complex nature of dieting


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