Sunday, 6 May 2012

Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control

I was reading this post the other day and couldn't help but think of how it also applies to the obesity epidemic and the concept of "eat less move more". Basically the post is about how the majority of the time we are proceeding through life in an almost completely unconscious and mindless state of mind. Like a zombie almost. Perhaps nearly all of our actions are mediated from an unconscious level. Yet we can still achieve our goals this way.

It angers me so much when we have fools running around out there proclaiming eat less move more as a solution for obesity because this kind of action requires "will power" and conscious intervention. These fools are blinded by what they see, they are "lead" into a stiff belief because of the things they see, i.e. making someone run around all day and starving them causes a reduction in fat mass, hence, that is the solution for everyone to reduce fat mass!

When you restrict food intake on a voluntary basis you will ofcourse be exerting "will power" to stop yourself eating. Hunger is telling you to eat, but the concious part of the brain is overriding that signal. This brings me to this paper linked to in the article, and the title of the paper says its all tbh......

Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource
Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiative
“[We] suggest that self-regulation, active initiative, and effortful choosing draw on the same psychological resource. Making decisions depletes that resource, thereby weakening the subsequent capacity for self-control and active initiative. The impairment of self-control was shown on a variety of tasks, including physical stamina and pain tolerance, persistence in the face of failure, and quality and quantity of numerical calculations. It also led to greater passivity.”**
**full credit to the author of the article linked at the top of the post for this quote

This is not the first time we have seen studies demonstrating that "will power" is infact a finite resource. Lustig also points out this observation in his most recent video on youtube here.

Reduced food intake only leads to successful weight loss if it is involuntary, i.e. when you are not feeling hunger. If you ARE feeling hunger, that means the reduced food intake is voluntary and will eventually lead to compensatory reactions, like binging.

1 comment:

  1. Great post which goes right to the heart of the issue of why some diets fail while others work. Of course people can consciously choose to exercise six hours a day and starve themselves to reduce their fat mass temporarily. Some people can even keep it up for years. But the fact that this behaviour requires extraordinary willpower which cannot be sustained for a life time does not mean that fatties are morally deficient and character-defective when they fail to sustain it forever. Naturally thin people don't have to exert this superhuman control over their bodies.

    This is what the CICO folks don't seem to be able to wrap their heads around. Sure no one comes out of a concentration camp fat but this does not mean that forced caloric reduction is the answer to obesity or that conscious overconsumption of calories is the cause of obesity. Eating behaviour is so obviously subconsciously driven; you must be insane or have a very specific agenda to think otherwise.