22 April 2011

Dieting: "Don't tell anyone"?

CNN has a typically chatty entry about a woman who lost a lot of weight.

Her doctor gave her these four tips:

1. Eat 8 ounces of food every 3 hours.
2. No sugary drinks.
3. Do not skip meals.
4. Do not tell anyone what you're doing.

The first three make sense, from what I've read of the scientific literature. But the last? How does not telling anyone help me stay on a diet?  Maybe this turns dieting into a personal vow?  It seems to contradict many reports that say having a buddy system and being accountable to someone else is effective. For myself, I've found it much easier to stay on task when I share the task with someone else.

I've designed Wagmu to be private information. You can't easily share what you're doing with other people, and neither can other people see what you're doing.  So it fits with not telling anyone, the personal vow approach.  But I'm not sure that's the right thing. Comments welcome.


Michelle Liebgott-Osinga said...

#4 actually makes sense to me. I find that if I tell people I am doing something I often have problems with continuing wanting to carrying through, and if I say I can't (or won't) I often end up doing it anyway. I don't exactly know why this is true for me but concerning weightloss I suspect that a lot of people may feel 'under the microscope' if they were to let people know what they were doing, thus feeling like it is too much pressure to continue.

John F. Raffensperger said...

Hi, Michelle, my Facebook friends are saying exactly the same thing. My friend June wrote, "Lots of women (and men) have people in their lives who sabotage their efforts, for various reasons. In those situations, it's best not to broadcast what you are doing! However, attending a group like Weight Watchers can help that person get the support they need from people with similar goals. I know several women who attend Weight Watchers without anyone in their family circle knowing about it!"

Maybe the solution is to tell people who are likely to support us in our goals, and not tell people who are not likely to support us.

In any case, I invite you to give Wagmu a try, www.wagmu.com.

Jo Jordan said...

Janis, the group think guy, has the best evidence of the buddy system. But it is the buddy system not the tell a mob system.

My best guess is that Parkinson's law kicks in. There are "no consequences to dieting", so every one begins to give you advice.

There are also the inevitable setbacks and being in the public eye would flip us into a defensive mindset where our energies go towards defending our reputation rather than solving the problem.

Do you notice how much we are all willing to talk about dieting?