The Psychology of Dieting

Sara Gilbert, Author, Gilbert Sara, Author Routledge $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-415-02844-8
This hopeful and helpful study by a British psychologist investigates why we diet and why diets so often fail. Noting that ``the number of people who see themselves as overweight is twice that of people who actually do weigh more than they should,'' Gilbert defines obesity, identifies cultural prejudices against it and then, carefully describing her methodology, debunks popular misconceptions about its causes. There is no evidence that obese persons eat more or exercise less than those of normal weight; furthermore, she says, the obese actually have higher metabolic rates. Nor is there a ``fat'' personality type; individuals who claim to lack ``will power'' often apply great will in other areas of their lives. A sensitive discussion of the psychological implications of overeating and of eating disorders (particularly for women) proposes that dieting is often a form of self-improvement, and that the dieter should ``be very sure indeed that a slim figure is really the improvement that is needed.'' Various questionnaires and behavior-modification suggestions provide specific solutions. Abundant Briticisms are irritating but should not deter Americans from these challenging hypotheses. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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