The Success and Failure of Dieting

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Explanations for the success and failure of dieting
Restraint theory
AO1 ­ Attempting not to eat by restricting food intake increases the probability of overeating
AO2 ­ Wardle & Beales (1988) assigned obese women to diet/exercise/non-treatment group for 7
weeks and assessed at week 4 (snack) and 6 (stressful condition) under lab conditions, diet condition
ate more
AO2 ­ Extraneous variable controlled due to lab & longitudinal study =reliable
AO2 ­ Gender bias, can't generalise to men
AO1 ­ Herman & Polivy (1984) Boundary model ­ hunger keeps intake above minimum level,
satiation keeps it below maximum level, between levels psychological factors effect consumption
dieters have larger range between two levels, takes longer to feel hungry but more to satisfy, once
dieters go over their `desired intake' or boundary they continue eating until they reach their higher
level of satiety
AO2 ­ Issue of anorexics, they restrain their eating but don't end up eating more
AO2 ­ RWA) implications for treatment, as it often recommends restraint yet doesn't help
AO2 ­ Park et al (2001) cultural diff, boundary model can't explain why Asians are more likely to be
obese than Europeans as it was only studied in western ethnicities.
AO2 ­ Many studies are anecdotal which means they may not remember things accurately or lying
due to social desirability and not wanting to feel like a failure in terms of dieting
Role of denial
AO1 ­ Attempting to suppress thoughts of food make them more prominent in your mind
AO1 ­ Wegner (1994) theory of ironic processes of mental control, food becomes more attractive
when you forbid yourself from thinking about it
AO2 ­ Wegner (1987) ring bell every time they thought of a white bear, some told not to, some told
they could, those told not to thought about it far more, support for IPMC
AO2 ­ Wegner admits the results are not overwhelming, but detectable, showing only limited
support, however they could be huge when it comes to human costs from obesity
AO2 ­ Freewill vs determinism, do we make a choice to overeat or is it determined by our genes
(lipoprotein lipase, LPL) which stores calories as fat
AO2 ­ RWA) Higgins & Gray (1999) implication of ineffective dieting led to anti-diet programmes
which promote traditional healthy eating values showed improvements in eating behaviour and
weight stability


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