Tags: Supportive Friends Can Help You Diet | Lose Weight

Supportive Friends Can Help You Diet, Lose Weight

By    |   Friday, 19 April 2013 11:51 AM

Trying to stick with a new diet or daily fitness regimen? Turning to strong-minded friends for support may increase your odds of success, according to new psychological research that suggests people who lack willpower often depend on those with high self-control to make up for the skills they lack.

The study, published by Duke University researchers in the journal Psychological Science, indicates there may be a significant upside to peer pressure, when it comes to promoting healthy habits.
“We all know how much effort it takes to overcome temptation,” said Catherine Shea, who helped conduct the research. "People with low self-control could relieve a lot of their self-control struggles by being with an individual who helps them."
To reach their conclusions, Shea and her colleagues conducted two lab-based studies and a third involving real-life romantic partners.
In the first study, participants were asked to watch a video while the researchers artificially manipulated half of the groups’ ability to main self-control, while leaving the second half able to stay in charge of their actions. Each participant then read vignettes about three office managers — one with low self-control behavior, one with high self-control behavior, and one who demonstrated both high and low self-control behaviors — and was asked to rate the office managers on their leadership abilities.
The results showed people were temporarily depleted of their self-control rated the manager who had high self-control more positively than the two other managers — evidently compensating for the self-control they lacked. A second study confirmed these results, finding people who demonstrated low self-control on a standard task showed a preference for the manager with high self-control. The third study, involving a survey of 136 romantic couples, also found that individuals with low-self-control reported greater dependence on their partner if the partner happened to have high self-control.
"Self-control, by its name and definition, is a 'self' process — something that we do alone, as individuals," said Shea. "Yet, when we order food on a menu or go to work, we're often surrounded by other people."
The findings break with past research that has typically focused on the downsides of low self-control, such as poorer academic achievement and health outcomes. But the new research suggests individuals who lack self-control may actually have a unique ability to pick up on self-control cues in others and use those cues to form adaptive relationships.
"What we have shown is that low self-control individuals seem to implicitly surround themselves with individuals who can help them overcome temptation — you get by with a little help from your friends," said Shea.

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Trying to stick with a new diet or daily fitness regimen? Turning to strong-minded friends for support may increase your odds of success, according to new research.
Supportive Friends Can Help You Diet,Lose Weight
Friday, 19 April 2013 11:51 AM
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