Resisting Temptations: How Food-Related Control Abilities can be Strengthened through Implementation Intentions

Christine Stich, Philip J. Johnson, Bärbel Knäuper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The past decade has witnessed a rise in the investigation of self-regulation, in particular in regard to the study of the processes underlying self-regulation failure and success in eating and weight control. Successful behavioral control of eating involves the inhibition of the impulse to eat, particularly if it conflicts with long-term goals, such as eating more healthily or losing weight. If an individual lacks the inhibitory control necessary to resist temptation, he or she will succumb to it. Lapses in self-regulation are thus an indication of a breakdown in inhibitory control. Some researchers suggest that, in the domain of eating behavior, being overweight and obese are linked to a lack of inhibitory control, and, moreover, this lack might have crucial consequences for the development, maintenance, and treatment of obesity in children and adults. This chapter first reviews the motivational nature of food, in particular high-fat/high-sugar food, and its consequences for attention to food and the development of (maladaptive) eating habits. It then discusses how certain self-control strategies might help people control their food intake. It focuses particularly on implementation intentions and speculates how better planning with implementation intentions could help people replace unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationObesity Prevention
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780123743879
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


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