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A systematic review of ecological momentary assessment studies of appetite and affect in the experience of temptations and lapses during weight loss dieting.

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Ahern, Amy L 
Christiansen, Paul 
Halford, Jason CG 


Dietary temptations and lapses challenge control over eating and act as barriers toward successful weight loss. These are difficult to assess in laboratory settings or with retrospective measures as they occur momentarily and driven by the current environment. A better understanding of how these experiences unfold within real-world dieting attempts could help inform strategies to increase the capacity to cope with the changes in appetitive and affective factors that surround these experiences. We performed a narrative synthesis on the empirical evidence of appetitive and affective outcomes measured using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) during dieting in individuals with obesity and their association with dietary temptations and lapses. A search of three databases (Scopus, Medline, and PsycInfo) identified 10 studies. Within-person changes in appetite and affect accompany temptations and lapses and are observable in the moments precipitating a lapse. Lapsing in response to these may be mediated through the strength of a temptation. Negative abstinence-violation effects occur following a lapse, which negatively impact self-attitudes. Engagement in coping strategies during temptations is effective for preventing lapses. These findings indicate that monitoring changes in sensations during dieting could help identify the crucial moments when coping strategies are most effective for aiding with dietary adherence.



dietary temptation, ecological momentary assessment, lapse, obesity, Humans, Appetite, Ecological Momentary Assessment, Retrospective Studies, Diet, Reducing, Weight Loss

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Obes Rev

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MRC (MC_UU_00006/6)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (RP-PG-0216-20010)