Is your mind playing tricks with your weight loss goal?

By • Published: March 9th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Did you start losing fat and excess weight as part of your New Year’s resolution only to see that trend reversing as the months roll along?

You have lots of company. Studies show few people are able to maintain their initial weight loss over an extended period. And some end up weighing even more than before they started trying to lose weight.

Some people try to control their weight by chronically dieting and restricting the amount they eat. They have been dubbed “restrained eaters” by certain researchers. But these folks generally aren’t successful at controlling their weight, and their periods of restraint from food are punctuated by frequent lapses, and even overeating.

A new study looks into why restrained eaters have trouble with weight control… is it because they see palatable food in a more favorable light than do other eaters?

Or is it something else?

It turned out that people who were not chronic dieters viewed palatable foods more favorably than they did neutral or unpalatable foods, while restrained eaters did not show that difference. In fact, restrained eaters had a stronger sense of the negative aspects of palatable food.

So it might not be just the positive evaluation of food at play here, the researchers conclude. Maybe it is that palatable foods trigger hedonic thoughts in restrained eaters, priming them to eat rather than to diet.

Either way, remember moderation as you aim for your weight goals, and don’t forget that physical activity is an important part of maintaining good health and a healthy weight.