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Discuss two or more explanations for the success and/or failure of dieting

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'Discuss two or more explanations for the success and/or failure of dieting' Restrained eating has become synonymous with dieting. Research suggests that as many as 89% of the female population in the UK consciously restraint heir food intake at some point in their lives. Restraint theory (Herman and Mack 1975) was developed as an attempt to explain both the causes and the consequences associated with the cognitive restriction of food intake. Herman and Mack suggest that attempting not to actually eat actually increases the chance of overeating. Their study showed that the overeating shown by many dieters is actually caused by their attempts to diet. Using the preload/taste-test method, Herman and Mack gave a group of dieters and a group of non-dieters either a high or low calorie preload. ...read more.


However, although the restraint theory proposes and association between food restriction and overeating, according to Ogden (2007) it does not explain as to why people who suffer from anorexia are able to starve themselves. Also, the restraint theory suggests that restraint leads to excess, yet the treatment for obesity often recommends restraint as a solution to the excessive weight gain. However, failed attempts to diet can leave the individual feeling depressed as they are unable to control their weight. Although obesity may not necessarily be the cause overeating, overeating may be a consequence of obesity if restraint is recommended as a treatment. The boundary model was developed by Herman and Polivy (1984). According to this model, hunger keeps intake of food above a certain minimum, and satiety works to keep intake below some maximum level. ...read more.


Wegner referred to this phenomenon as the 'theory of ironic processes of mental control. A decision to eat less or not to eat specific foods is central to the dieter's cognitive set and may set up a similar process of denial. Therefore as soon as food is denied, it simultaneously becomes forbidden and is, eventually, translated into eating. In conclusion, it is evident that although dieters often aim to lose weight by restricting their eating, this is not always achieved. The fact that overeating and also undereating can cause weight gain, can often be frustrating and off-putting for many people wishing to lose weight. Also it is possible that there due to the lack of weight loss in the first few days of the diet, motivation decreases, leaving the individual in a low mood and not wanting to continue with the diet. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)


This is a short, but concise essay.The writer has got the 'gist' of both models and explains them simply and clearly. There are plenty of good references with the main studies cited. The writer could mention a little more about the pressures to diet, the various diet fads on the market and social/cultural pressures to be a certain weight.

Some more detail could be added to improve the score and the introduction and the conclusion could be improved upon too.
Star rating 3*

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 08/10/2013

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