Tip to dieters: Beware of friends and late night cravings

February 24, 2014

There's more to dieting than just sheer willpower and self-control. The presence of friends, late night cravings or the temptation of alcohol can often simply be too strong to resist. Research led by Heather McKee of the University of Birmingham in the UK monitored the social and environmental factors that make people, who are following weight management programs, cheat. The study¹ is published in the Springer journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Eighty people who were either part of a weight-loss group or were dieting on their own participated in the one-week study. They were given mobile phones on which they kept an electronic diary of all the temptations that came their way, and the situations during which they gave in to these temptations. This helped the researchers to make a complete real-time record, known as 'ecological momentary assessment,' of participants' dietary temptations and lapses.

Participants lapsed just over 50 percent of the time when tempted, and were especially vulnerable at night. They were more likely to give in to alcoholic temptations than to eat a sugary snack or to overindulge. Their willpower was also influenced by the presence of others, regardless of whether a dietary temptation was unexpected or whether the dieter went looking for something to eat. The stronger the dietary temptation, the more likely a participant was to lapse. Not surprisingly, most participants reported that they were more aware of their eating behavior while keeping their diet diaries.

The findings could be valuable for dietary relapse and weight maintenance programs. They highlight the possible future use of mobile phone applications to support people who are dieting. Following a lapse in such programs, the findings also stress the importance of including specific coping mechanisms and reinforcing a person's self-efficacy, in other words, bolstering their belief in their own ability to reach their goals.

"The findings help piece together the complex jigsaw surrounding the daily predictors of dietary temptations and help us to better understand how dietary temptations and lapses operate," says McKee. "In the fight against obesity, we need to help people become more aware of the various personal, situational, and environmental factors that expose them to dietary temptations. In doing this, we can help them to develop the necessary skills to cope successfully with dietary temptations and prevent lapses."
-end-
References:

1. McKee, H.C., Ntoumanis, N., Taylor, I.M. (2014). An Ecological Momentary Assessment of Lapse Occurrences in Dieters, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, DOI 10.1007/s12160-014-9594-y

2. Annals of Behavioral Medicine is an official journal of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Springer

Related Weight Articles from Brightsurf:

How much postmenopause weight gain can be blamed on weight-promoting medications?
Abdominal weight gain, which is common during the postmenopause period, is associated with an array of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

Commercial weight management groups could support women to manage their weight after giving birth
Women who were overweight at the start of their pregnancy would welcome support after they have given birth in the form of commercial weight management groups, University of Warwick-led research has found.

Rollercoaster weight changes can repeat with second pregnancy, especially among normal-weight women
Everyone knows that gaining excess weight during one pregnancy is bad, but clinicians rarely consider weight gains and losses from one pregnancy to the next -- especially in normal-weight women.

Early and ongoing experiences of weight stigma linked to self-directed weight shaming
In a new study published today in Obesity Science and Practice, researchers at Penn Medicine and the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity surveyed more than 18,000 adults enrolled in the commercial weight management program WW International, and found that participants who internalized weight bias the most tended to be younger, female, have a higher body mass index (BMI), and have an earlier onset of their weight struggle

Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children, NIH study suggests
Youth who said they were teased or ridiculed about their weight increased their body mass by 33 percent more each year, compared to a similar group who had not been teased, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Association between weight before pregnancy, weight gain during pregnancy and adverse outcomes for mother, infant
An analysis that combined the results of 25 studies including nearly 197,000 women suggests prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) of the mother was more strongly associated with risk of adverse maternal and infant outcomes than the amount of gestational weight gain.

Study: Faster weight loss no better than slow weight loss for health benefits
Losing weight slowly or quickly won't tip the scale in your favor when it comes to overall health, according to new research.

What your choice of clothing says about your weight
It's commonly said that you can tell a great deal about a person by the clothes they wear.

Stand up -- it could help you lose weight
You might want to read this on your feet. A new study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that standing instead of sitting for six hours a day could prevent weight gain and help people to actually lose weight.

Cash for weight loss
A new study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, has shown that selling rewards programmes to participants entering a weight loss programme is a low cost strategy to increase both the magnitude and duration of weight loss.

Read More: Weight News and Weight Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.