How does thinking in Black and White terms relate to eating behavior and weight regain?

J Health Psychol. 2015 May;20(5):638-48. doi: 10.1177/1359105315573440.


This study explores the role of dichotomous thinking on eating behavior and its association with restraint eating and weight regain in a wide range of people. In a web-based survey with 241 adults, dichotomous thinking and behavioral outcomes related to eating (restraint eating, weight regain, body mass index, dieting) were assessed. Results showed that eating-specific dichotomous thinking (dichotomous beliefs about food and eating) mediates the association between restraint eating and weight regain. We conclude that holding dichotomous beliefs about food and eating may be linked to a rigid dietary restraint, which in turn impedes people's ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Keywords: body mass index; dichotomous thinking; overweight; restraint eating; weight regain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight Maintenance
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thinking*
  • Weight Gain*
  • Young Adult