Vowing to lose weight in the new year is a terrible idea: Dieters eat more than non-dieters

Clara Guibourg
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Dieters feel like they've "earned" that extra cookie (Source: Getty)

Here’s what you’ve been looking for: a reason to forego that New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds.

Plenty of us may promise to lose weight come January, but new research has found despite our best intentions, dieters actually eat more than non-dieters over the festive period.

Losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution of all, even above quitting smoking. But maybe we just shouldn’t bother.

The temptation of all those mince pies and chocolates over the festive period causes most of us to over-indulge. But those who’ve promised themselves to diet go one step further, as the prospect of an upcoming austere January makes them feel they’ve “earned” one last feast in December.

Founder of weight loss programme Hypnoslimming Michael Cox has compared the eating patterns of those planning to lose weight in the New Year to those of us who have no such plans. According to Cox, the reason for dieters’ larger consumption is that they’re preparing for a “sacrifice”:

They have communicated to themselves that they are going to diet or from an evolutionary perspective, experience a famine, and are over consuming as a way to prepare.

And maybe dieting isn’t the only New Year’s resolution that could be bad for you. London Business School professor Madan Pillutia argued in City A.M. that, because we are so bad at keeping our resolutions anyway, the “what the hell” effect risks actually causing us harm.

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