psychological explanations for obesity

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  • Psychological explanations for obesity
    • Restraint theory
      • obesity results from placing unsustainable limits on food intake
      • occurring through attempting to lose weight by having strict intake targets by reduced eating
      • self-imposed target often unrealistic + attempting to diet in this way, lowers mood + increases hunger + motivation to eat more.
      • type of people likely to attempt restrained eating those w/ less self-control, more likely to display disinhibited eating - more vulnerable to becoming obese.
    • Restraint theory evaluation
      • Herman + Polivy - dieters reported couldn't be bothered to keep dieting, too much effort
        • suggests cognitive shift in thinking - breakdown of self-control in line w/ boundary model
      • Disinhibition major factor in weight gain
        • obesity b/c oh high daily number eating opps found in Western cultures.
      • Lowe + Kral - among restrained eaters, over-representation of people w/ tendency for lack of self-control + disinhibited eating.
      • Theory can't explain minority of dieters who succeed through restrained eating - anorexics.
    • Disinhibition
      • overeating through the loss of restraint over food intake
      • Occurs when have opp to consume desirable foods + under emotional distress
        • anxiety-prone individuals,  w/ poor impersonal attachments - rely more on external factors eg food, for emotional control.
      • tendency to seek emotional comfort through overeating
    • Boundary Model
      • obesity results from conflict between physiological and cognitive limits on food intake
      • distance between levels set by psych factors, w/ dieters having large range between hunger + satiety level as takes longer to feel hungry + need more food to reach satiety
        • physiological set point boundary overrides self-imposed cognitive boundary - overeating w/ such individuals being at increased risk of being obese.


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