PSYA3 Success / Failure of Dieting

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  • Success / Failure of Dieting
    • A01
      • Restrain theory is one explanation, a restrained eater is someone trying to eat less.
      • Hamman + Mack suggested that attempting not to eat, actually increases the probability of overeating.
      • The boundary model is within the restraint theory and attempts to explain why dieting might lead to overeating.
        • Herman + Polivy developed this model and believed an individual keeps intake of food above a certain minimum and satiety works to keep intake below a maximum.
          • Once the dieter has gone over this boundary, they continue to eat until they reach satiety. This is the 'What the Hell Effect'. The body's fat store acts as a weight set point.
        • Dieters tend to have a larger range between hunger and satiety and restrained eaters have self-imposed desired intake.
        • A normal eater has a physiological boundary where these mechanisms don't allow for much weight fluctuation. But, a restrained eayer has a cognitive boundaru where it is set less as they do not eat to satiety.
          • The problem is, once the cognitive boundary has been crossed, there is a disinhibition effect which can result in the individual carrying on eating beyond their biological boundary. Herman + Polivy suggested restrain not only precedes overeating but contributes to the causality.
      • Another explanation for the failure of dieting is explained through the role of denial.
        • The theory suggests that when denying ourselves something, it often has the opposite effect.
      • The theory of ironic processors of mental control attempts to suppress thoughts about particular things leads to preoccupation
        • According to the theory, attempts to suppress thoughts of food, only begins to increase the dieters preoccupation when the very thing they are trying to deny.
          • As soon as the food is denied, it therefore becomes more attractive. Thus, results in the failure of dieting because the food becomes harder to resist.
      • Rudden suggested the key to a successful diet lies in the attention we pay to what we eat, focusing on the specifics is key as people get bored less easily so the diets are better maintained.
    • A02
      • Herman + Mack conducted research into into the restraint theory.
        • The study used three conditions in which they were all given different types of ice cream, and they could eat as much as they wanted. In condition one they had no preload, condition 2 they had one milkshake and condition 3 they had 2. The groups had been divided into low or high restraint.
          • Low restraint ate less int he two milkshake condition which was expected, and the high restraint group ate significantly more. These results support the boundary model which suggest that restricted eaters do have a cognitive boundary for food intake.
      • There are implications for treatment into obesity, restraint theory suggest that restraint leads to excess, uey the treatment of obesity commonly recommends restraint as a solution.
        • However, failed attempts to diet can leave obese individuals depressed. Although, obesity may not be caused by overeating, overeating may be a consequences of obesity if restraint is recommended
      • Restraint theory suggests a link between restriction and overeating. However, Ogden pointed out that behaviour in anorexics cannot be explained using this theory as they manage to starve themselves.
      • Soetens provided support for the role of denial. Ps were divided into restrained + unrestrained and the restrained group were subdivided into high and low disinhibited.
        • The disinhibited group used more thought suppression than the other groups.
          • This study shows that restrained eaters who tend to overeat try to suppress thoughts about food more often but when they do, they think about food more often.
      • There may be a cultural biased into research in obesity as some find it harder to diet due to natural induction to obesity.
        • Asian adults are more prone to obesity than europeans which implies that the research doesn't apply universally so cannot be generalised.
      • Rudden suggested that the key to a successful diet lies in the attention we pay.
        • He gave 135 people jelly beans, they were dispensed and information flashed on a screen. One group got general information and another group got detailed. When we pay more attention to the details, diets are more likely to be successful.
    • There are three main types of dieting - To restrict the amount of food eaten, to restrict the type of food and to discourage eating for long periods.


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