Explanations for success/failure of dieting

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  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 15-02-16 16:34


First Explanation A01:

  • 'Restraint model' - biological/homeostasis - by Herman and Mack (1975) - not eating increases probability of eating.....
  • explained by Herman and Polivy 'boundary model' - hunger keeps eating above min and  satiety keeps it below max - at a 'set point'
  • in dieting - also a cognitive boundary - tf= 2(normal boundary)  - 1 pysch and 1 cog
  • cog boundary is lower/smaller than psych - if person crosses cog boundary they will keep going till satiety - this boundary may be longer due to increased hunger from restraint. = 'WHAT THE HELL' EFFECT (WTHE)  - explains failed diets

Second Explanation A01:

  • Denial - Wegner (1994) - psych effect causes diets to fail
  • Shows this when ps who told not to think about a white bear rung a bell signifying they were thinking about one more than ps not told not to think about a white bear
  • same effect when dieter try not to think about bad foods - become preoccupied -AKA THE IRONIC PROCESSES OF MENTAL CONTROL (TIPMC)
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First explanation AO2:

  • SGT - Herman andMack 1975 - dieters ate more ice cream than non-dieter after milkshake preload  - but when no preload dieters at less ice cream than non-dieters = behavioural inhibition - ev. for WTHE - milkahsakes cross cog. bound. 
  •         + lab = good control
  •         - less eco val. other environ. pressures e.g. social may cause different results   
  • WKN - 'boundary model' doesnt give details about emot/cog processes of WTHE
  • WKN - doesn't explain minority of successful dieters 
  • WKN - reserch often unethical - ps told to lose weight but won't according to the theory - depressing

Second Explanation A02:

  • SGT - more insight ot cog/emot processes of diet failure than Restraint model
  • SGT - Soetens (2006)  - dieters who overeat use denial more to suppress thoughts + so think more about food  - TIPMC explains failure
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AO3 - IDAs


  • Nature vs Nurture - biological explanation for diet failure = genetic/neurological predetermined weight - 'set point weight'  - if weight is lost hunger increases + metabolism slows to compensate and increase weight - IS PYSCH EXPLANAION REDUNDANT AS SCIENCE EXPLAINS ALL?
  • deterministic?  - can free will be ued if weight is already genetically predetermined?  
  •         - BUT biolog expl is also deterministic - can't change weight regardless of diet......BUT if people know this then diets are more likely ot fail. 
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