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Over-thinking stops diet success: CSIRO

February 13, 13:04

Perfectionists are most likely to fail on a diet while foodies are more likely to be a normal weight.

Over-thinking and fear of failure stops most perfectionists achieving their weight-loss goal, according to a new CSIRO survey of 28,000 people.

The study found nine out of 10 adults attempted to lose weight in their lifetime.

Half made more than six attempts, while almost 20 per cent tried more than 25 times.

Among the five “diet types” identified, the “over-thinkers”, or perfectionists, were the least likely to achieve diet success.

The “thinker” diet type was the leading type among 41 per cent of adults.

The second most common type, “the craver” scored high for people who were obese, while “the foodie” type was more likely to be a normal weight.

People who identify with the thinker diet type are goal-oriented and analytical.

Yet these same qualities can be counterproductive to achieving diet goals, because they tend to set unrealistic expectations and give them little margin for error, behavioural scientists say.

This type is also more prone to self-doubt, anxiety and stress, which can lead to over-eating and low success, scientists said.

“If you have struggled to maintain your diet after a few weeks, your personal diet type will shed light on what behaviours and habits are creating a barrier for you,” CSIRO behavioural scientist Dr Sinead Golley said.

“Knowing your personal diet type helps you maintain a healthy eating plan because you are more aware and equipped to manage moments of weakness.”

Dr Golley said that if people identified as a thinker, they should reflect more on positive changes to manage their healthy eating habits and weight-loss goals.

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