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Great Article on Human Behavior and Resisting Temptation

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Old 07-12-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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Default Great Article on Human Behavior and Resisting Temptation

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We discovered that the study subjects who anticipated pride at resisting the cake consumed far less than those who focused on the shame of succumbing. They also ate less than the control group. In other words, when it comes to self-regulation, anticipated pride outperformed anticipated shame as well as unconsidered, heedless consumption.

What would make anticipating pride so much better than anticipating shame in controlling temptation? One reason is that pride focuses attention on the self (not the cake) and on success rather than failure. Shame, on the other hand, emphasizes the opposite; it focuses attention on the object of desire and the act of succumbing, making resistance harder to pull off. Simply put, anticipating pride makes us feel good, and anticipating shame makes us feel bad.
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul...ntrol-20110710

For me, this is definitely true. I find it much easier to say "No" if I consider how good I will feel if I do, the good things it will do for my body, etc, as opposed to how BAD I'll feel if I give in.

Is this true for you? I'm going to make a mental practice of framing things this way to see if it makes it easier to make the choices I want to be making.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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Good article; thanks for sharing it Amanda!

I find that the premise is definitely true for me.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing this. It reminds me of my more successful runs (I haven't had many), where I've thought about how proud I'll be when I'm done. It looks like I need to use that as a strategy more!
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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It's absolutely true for me. In fact, it reminds me of that old song -

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between


Does anyone but me remember that song?
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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This is a great article. Thank you for sharing.
It is so true because I have been practicing focusing on how I will not just look but feel when I get to X goal. When I want to eat I think about how great it will feel tonight when I know that I have followed the plan. Yay for positive thinking!
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Ironically, I looked at the thread title and thought, "Oh no, not another thread talking about 'temptation'. That whole shame mentality is so unhelpful."

Interesting subject. I grew up with a mother who was and is heavily into the shame/temptation approach to dieting, and who is seriously overweight and miserable about it as a result. I somehow managed to avoid the whole business through being so aware of it (teenage rebellion must have paid off for once!), and didn't put on weight until I developed physical and cognitive problems due to disability which interfered with sensible eating (immobility, memory loss, chaotic routines due to sleep disorders and so forth). So I suspect I'm in a minority in not thinking that way.

I don't feel shame at "succumbing", and I don't think of it as succumbing, but neither do I feel pride at resisting. I've been dieting for three months and the whole temptation business hasn't arisen for me at all. I do feel pride at managing to get my life in order in this area, though, and have been very happy since I started losing weight. I wasn't feeling particularly ashamed when I was overweight, but I was mildly unhappy about it, rather bewildered as to how it had happened, and really didn't like feeling powerless about it.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting, Mandalinn! Good read!

I agree with you. It's far easier for me to resist temptations when I think about how great it feels afterwards to say "no" to something I don't really want!

I sometimes try comparing outcomes. I'll imagine both. I'll imagine having that piece of cake and how it might make me feel afterwards, and then I'll imagine not having it. Seeing both results (in my head) is interesting, but it's usually the second image... the image of myself happily resisting said cake that makes me feel empowered enough to say "no thank you, cake, not today!"
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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I don't do the whole "shame/temptation" thing either, really. I pretty much wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that any food, in isolation, is "bad" or morality-related. Some things may move me toward my personal goals, and some away, but that doesn't make them "bad" or me "bad" for eating them.

This mental approach jives much better with that concept than a guilt-based one. It's about, "I am making choices that move me closer to my goals, go me!" than "I am making a "bad" choice, which makes me a "bad" person or dieter"
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
I don't do the whole "shame/temptation" thing either, really. I pretty much wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that any food, in isolation, is "bad" or morality-related. Some things may move me toward my personal goals, and some away, but that doesn't make them "bad" or me "bad" for eating them.

This mental approach jives much better with that concept than a guilt-based one. It's about, "I am making choices that move me closer to my goals, go me!" than "I am making a "bad" choice, which makes me a "bad" person or dieter"
I so agree with this. WHich is why I don't like things/mentality of 'cheat meals" or 'cheat days'. Cheating is a negative connotation and implies there's something wrong with taking a break on your birthday, or Christmas, and so on. I simple CHOOSE to have a higher calorie day once in awhile (and still try to make good choices).

And I agree no food is bad. Now, I can't have some foods because of blood sugar issues, but I don't view them as 'bad foods'. Everything has its place!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:47 PM   #10
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I definitely do great when I anticipate pride in my successes... but I don't know that I anticipate my failures in the same way.

Seems like I read a lot of psych research these days about resisting temptation...
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:55 PM   #11
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This was a very fascinating article, thanks so much for posting it! I think that it definitely holds true for me, and from now on I am going to try to put a conscious effort into anticipating pride instead of shame. It will be interesting to see if it helps any with avoid binges.
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Old 07-12-2011, 05:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovely View Post

I sometimes try comparing outcomes. I'll imagine both. I'll imagine having that piece of cake and how it might make me feel afterwards, and then I'll imagine not having it. Seeing both results (in my head) is interesting, but it's usually the second image... the image of myself happily resisting said cake that makes me feel empowered enough to say "no thank you, cake, not today!"
This is exactly what I was trying to type just a second ago but failing at finding the right way to explain it. This is the only way that works for me.
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Old 07-12-2011, 05:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJoJo2 View Post
It's absolutely true for me. In fact, it reminds me of that old song -

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between


Does anyone but me remember that song?

Not only do I remember it, but I will now be singing it all evening!
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:26 AM   #14
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Cool! I do think I have found this to be true, as well. I am a natural optimist, but especially in health, focusing on the positive and the reward of good choices is so much better and more motivating, for me, than self punishment/shame.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:42 AM   #15
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Great article!
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