If you haven't been able to stick to strict diets, maybe you're not at fault. New research gives you someone else to blame - diet plans and environment.
Experts from Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin found that the more complicated people thought their diet plan was, the sooner they were likely to drop it.
AdvertisementPeter Todd, professor in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said: "For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it."
Jutta Mata, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, further stressed on important social-cognitive factors including self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable of achieving a goal like sticking to a diet plan's rules and requirements.
She said: "Even if you believe you can succeed, thinking that the diet is cognitively complex can undermine your efforts."
And it's not all in the mind, Mata explained, adding encouraging physical environment must also be built, such as keeping snack foods out of sight, to stick to the plan.
The expert recommended: "If they decide to go with a more complex diet, which could be more attractive for instance if it allows more flexibility, they should evaluate how difficult they find doing the calculations and monitoring their consumption.
"If they find it very difficult, the likelihood that they will prematurely give up the diet is higher and they should try to find a different plan."