A new Dartmouth study, released November 2013, found that chronic dieters are more likely to overeat than non-chronic dieters. The study mapped the regions of the brain that monitor impulse control. These regions were disrupted by frequent feelings of deprivation.
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The findings, which appear in the journal Psychological Science, may translate to other addictive behaviors such as substance abuse. Previous studies, according to the published findings, suggest that people have a limited amount of self-control that dwindles when used to cope with stress, temptation, and other challenges to our willpower, leaving us vulnerable to impulsive and undesirable behavior.
What does this mean for wellness? Extreme and constant dieting, quitting smoking cold turkey and extreme exercise, make difficult long-term lifestyle behaviors. To become healthier, take a series of small steps that can be integrated into your everyday life. Once you incorporate the small changes, add a few more. Balance is key to long-term change.
D. D. Wagner, M. Altman, R. G. Boswell, W. M. Kelley, T. F. Heatherton. Self-Regulatory Depletion Enhances Neural Responses to Rewards and Impairs Top-Down Control. Psychological Science, 2013; 24 (11): 2262 DOI:10.1177/0956797613492985
Source: National Wellness Institute