Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sticking to Your Diet is a Mental Game

Source: ScienceDaily (Summary by NIM)

Despite doing everything right and being committed to losing weight, research has shown that there's one extra, pivotal point of consideration that might be hampering your success.

No, it's not willpower - you can be totally dedicated to the cause, but if you perceive a diet as being complicated, complex or difficult to follow, you're that much more likely to ditch it. You got it - that magic ingretient is 'ease'. Thanks to cognitive scientists at Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, we have further evidence that the easier or less complex a diet is, the more likely you'll stick to it.

After comparing the dieting behaviours of women on two completely different diets, the researchers found that "For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it,". This is true regardless of how willing individuals are to stick with the plan, and how they perceive themselves to be capable of following it. The researchers went on to say "Even if you believe you can succeed, thinking that the diet is cognitively complex can undermine your efforts,".

Find out more about this phenomemon by reading the article "Sticking to Diets Is About More Than Willpower -- Complexity Matters" from ScienceDaily (Jan. 15, 2010).