New York: Many diet plans are doomed from the start -- The reason being that dieters tend to adopt the wrong strategies, often planning to ditch their favourite foods and replace them with less-desirable options, new research has revealed.
A study published in the journal Psychology & Marketing says successful dieters focus on adding healthy foods and reveals that health-plan successes are determined by approach or avoidance strategies.
"Our research shows that instead of creating rules to avoid one's favourite treats, dieters should focus on eating healthy foods that they enjoy," said Meredith David, Assistant Professor at Baylor University in the US.
Dieters who restrict themselves from consuming the foods they love most may be setting themselves up for failure. Instead, they may be better off by allowing occasional "treats" and focusing attention on healthy foods, revealed the study.
The research conducted upon 542 participants hinged on a person's level of self-control.
"Our data reveals that individuals who are generally more successful at reaching their goals tend to develop more motivating plans regarding the inclusion of healthy, well-liked items and the exclusion of unhealthy items that are not one's favourites," added David.
The researchers found that the participants when asked to list specific rules that they might use to guide their food consumption, a large percentage of them listed restricting and avoiding certain foods.
This was particularly the case among low self-control individuals - those who generally have less success in reaching their goals.
When thinking of unhealthy foods to avoid as a part of a diet, low self-control individuals think of foods that they really like -- their favourite snacks, and most tempting items. High self-control individuals think of foods that they like but could reasonably forgo.
When thinking of healthy foods to eat as a part of a diet, low self-control individuals think of foods they do not like, such as those that they find highly unpalatable while high self-control individuals think of foods they enjoy eating.