Essay on Psychological Research on Attempts to Lose Weight

Essay on Psychological Research on Attempts to Lose Weight

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Psychological research on attempts to lose weight have led to the derivation of notions such as set-point theory, the externality hypothesis and the restrained eating hypothesis, each of which imply that not only are most of these attempts detrimental to ones health, but are also rather futile and may even result in the opposite of the desired effects occurring.

Obesity is most common amongst people living in Western society, with evidence suggesting that about 24% of men and 27% of women in the United States being regarded as thus (Williamson, 1995). It therefore comes as no surprise that an estimated 24% of men and 40% of women are dieting at any one time (Brownell & Rodin, 1994). However, even though it appears that we are aware of the issue of obesity, and many of us, as the figures imply, are trying to lose weight, obesity is still on the increase throughout the world. In order to understand why this is occurring, we must consider first the origins of obesity, and then why it is, that so many attempts to combat this epidemic are failing.

One of the basic factors, of which is seen to greatly contribute to ones obesity, is food. Many studies have been carried out in an attempt to find exactly where our desire to eat stems from, and how we can effectively control it. However, despite extensive research in the area, scientists are still struggling to comprehend all of the biological factors in the regulation of hunger.

From one of the first studies done in this field, came the notion that the feeling of hunger came from the stomach (Cannon, 1912), however this theory was soon discredited after later studies found that even those people of whom had had their stomach's removed, for medical reasons, continued to experienc...


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..., they give up on their plan of healthy eating or dieting, and tend to adopt the notion that they might as well enjoy more of the food that they are not supposed to eat now, so that they can get back to their goals later. However, their dieting leads to a suppressed metabolism, which, now that they have binged, will find it harder to burn off the excess energy, and will therefore store it as fat, more fat therefore will be stored after failing from a diet, then would have been stored previously, therefore, the dieting has led to weight gain.

Therefore, recent psychological research implies that many attempts to lose weight are futile and that currently there is no good way to lose weight and keep it off. The ideal, in the absence of an effective weight loss program, is to change one's goal from weight loss to health, to normalising eating and improving self-esteem.

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