London: Are you dieting to lose extra weight? Avoid friends who take you to midnight parties as late night cravings or that temptation for alcohol can simply be too strong to resist.
There’s more to dieting than just sheer willpower and self-control, shows research.
“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,” explained Heather McKee of the University of Birmingham in Britain.
In doing this, we can help them to develop the necessary skills to cope successfully with dietary temptations and prevent lapses, he added.
Researchers monitored the social and environmental factors that make people, who are following weight management programs, cheat.
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 cell 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.
The stronger the dietary temptation, the more likely a participant was to lapse.
The findings could be valuable for dietary relapse and weight maintenance programmes, noted the study published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
“This helps piece together the complex jigsaw surrounding the daily predictors of dietary temptations and help us to better understand how dietary temptations and lapses operate,” said McKee.