O+E explanations for the success of Dieting.

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  • Created by: EClou
  • Created on: 25-05-16 15:27

AO1 - explanations for the success of Dieting

  • Herman + Mack's Restraint Theory:- restrained eating reduces food intake - shown by studies finding restrained eaters (dieters) consume less calories that non-dieters through dieting. 
  • factors increasing chances of success in dieting include: belief that causes of obesity/weight gain are psychological not biological,  being motivated to lose weight for e.g. Self-esteem,   deep disatisfaction with body type and then experiencing a key life event e.g. divorce 
  • this focus on beliefs/attitudes suggests success in dieting is as much about cognitions as behaviour - i.e. what people think + what they do leads to success
  • suggests Cognitive approach to understanding dieting is necessary e.g. recognition that overeating is due to faulty thinking such as the 'What the Hell Effect' (<- define/explain)
  • key to success is tackle negative thoughts that complicate control of eating and have strategies for dealing with tricky situations
  • (Another theory is Social support) -  helps person stick to diet, focus on goals and manage hard situations. 
  • dieter may be more motivated to please others - i.e. social pressure can help someone stick to their diet
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AO2 - explanations for the success of Dieting

  • Strength:- Restraint Model - observation that dieting among obese ppl starts with rapid inital weight loss and then slows - after 6 months weight regain starts due to failure to maintain behaviour change. - Jeffrey 2000 - this is due to lack of knowledge/skills/motivation  + side effects such as hunger/stress/social pressure to eat
  • supports that dieting success is results from teaching weight maintenance skills - which have a cognitive elements such as teaching ppl how to manage potentially hard situations and where relapse is likely to occur/how to manage it and avoid breaking the rule leading to the 'What the hell effect'- faulty thinking
  • Strength:- Social Support - Thomas + Stern 1995 - found strategies where spouses were taught how to provide social support during partner's weight loss have shown modest success - shows having social support is motivational - BUT lacks Historical Val. as there are higher divorce rates now and people often spend less time with their spouses now
  • Strength:-Social Support - Miller-Kovach et all 2001- weight watchers is more successful than self help over a 2-year period. - WW based on regular group meetings to discuss targets and weigh-ins where meeting targets is celebrated by the group - provides more social pressure - plus longitudinal study 
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AO3 - explanations for the success of Dieting

  • Alternative Approach - Biological: - genetic + neural mechanisms cause body to remain at set point weight without influence of psychological factors - i.e. if weight is lost body increases hunger and lowers metabolims so set point restored - therefore it is v hard to diet using only psychological methods - this is why many dieters fail
  • real life e.g. - morbidly obese ppl recommend gastric surgery - v effective but has side-effects + 2-4% mortality rate.
  • Determinism:- if weight is geneticaly pre-determined can free will be exerted? dieter's knowledge of deterministic biological theories may psychologically make dieting harder  - if they believe they cannot succeed their diet will fail regardless of validitity of biological theory - this must be tackled by a cognitive approach
  • Cultural Bias:-  some cultures find dieting successfully harder due to a cultural preference/natural inclination for obesity e.g. asian adults are more prone to obseity than european adults - Asian children/adolescents have greater central fat mass than most other ethnic groups  - therefore there is a greater psychological strain for other cultures and if research is mainly conducted in western society where there is less weight gain in adulthood than other cultures it isn't externally valid
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