"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," reported Peter Todd, professor in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.Sticking to Diets Is About More Than Willpower -- Complexity Matters
Jutta Mata, now a professor of psychology at Stanford University, said this effect holds even after controlling for the influence of important social-cognitive factors including self-efficacy, the belief that one is capable of achieving a goal like sticking to a diet regimen to control one's weight.
"Even if you believe you can succeed, thinking that the diet is cognitively complex can undermine your efforts," she said.
(Image: lunch, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from malias' photostream)
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