Living by the Government's Book Doesn't Make Dieting Any Easier

By The Atlantic Wire

The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield examines one writer's attempts to obey every U.S. dietary guideline:

If eating healthy were an easy task, obesity wouldn't plague our country. But, it's not--so we need a little guidance. And that's where the government steps in, setting guidelines for healthy living--as if writing down some rules would magically solve the obesity issues. But, as The Morning News' Mike Deri Smith discovered after trying to strictly follow the government guidelines for a month, rules can make achieving a healthy lifestyle even harder. After his month of rules, Smith learned one thing: eating well and exercising, not so bad; living by the book, very un-fun.

Sticking to a diet is all about self-control, and as research has shown, limiting your behaviors triggers negative emotions -- your brain doesn't want to follow rules, found a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "Exerting self-control makes people more likely to behave aggressively toward others and people on diets are known to be irritable and quick to anger." Another study found that self-control can only work for so long. "People have a diminishable supply of energy that the body and mind use to engage in self-control," explains the study author Kathleen Vohs.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/08/living-by-the-governments-book-doesnt-make-dieting-any-easier/243118/