Restraint Theory & Boundary Model - Failure of Diets

Summary, research & evaluation of restraint theory and boundary model. 

Failure of diets, eating behaviour, AQA A PSYCHOLOGY. 

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Restraint Theory ­ (Herman & Mack)
This model suggests that restraining our food intake actually increases the risk of overeating, which is
why many diets fail and some people even end up putting more weight on.
The restrain theory has become synonymous with dieting and suggests that attempting to eat less
might be a better predictor of food intake than weigh per se.
The restrain theory also argues that restrained eating can lead to both under and overeating.
Related research
(Mann et al, 2007) Laboratory studies have shown that restrained eaters often overeat after high calorie
preloads. Reviews of controlled studies dieting in the real world similarly conclude that reducing calorie input
through dieting is not an effective method of losing weight
(Wardle & Beadle) Carried out a dietary experiment under laboratory conditions and found that dieters ate
more than those in exercise and control groups, concluding that overeating by dieters is caused by the diet itself.
(Ruderman &Wilson) Found that dieters end eating more food than non-dieters, suggesting that restrained
eating leads to weight increase, rather than weigh decrease.
(Klesges et al, 1992) Studied 141 men and 146 women and found that dieters consumed a higher amount of fat.
(Herman & Polivy, 1988) Concluded that many diets fail because `restraint not only precedes overeating but
contributes to it causally'.
Evaluation of theory
Theory cannot explain the minority of dieters who succeed in attaining weight loss through
restrained eating
Theory cannot explain the dietary needs and outcomes of anorexics
This theory also has real life implications for treatment, as obese individuals are often told to diet in
order to lose excess weight. According to this theory, this will result in over-eating, which may
make the patient depressed and so they over-eat even more. This explanation offers no alternative
treatment for these people.

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Boundary Model ­ (Herman & Polivy, 1984)
The boundary model of overeating is an attempt to explain how dieting may cause overeating.
This model suggests that hunger and satisfaction keep food intake within certain boundaries, and
psychological factors interact between the boundaries. According to the model, dieters have a larger
range, so it takes longer to feel hungry and more food to feel satisfied.…read more


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