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Essay/Term paper: Restraint, weight suppression, and self-report reliability: how much do you really weigh?

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Sociology Essays

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In the analytical report entitled Restraint, Weight Suppression, and Self-Report Reliability: How Much Do You Really Weigh? By P.J. Morgan and D.B. Jeffrey, they look at the eating habits of people and categorize them as three types of people. Those categories are Dieting and Overeating group, Current Dieting, and Weight Suppression. The Dieting/Overeating group consists of "individuals who undergo repetitive cycles of dieting and overeating,"(Morgan, 1999). They have the appearance of a diet, but overeat every once in a while to make up for it and to fulfill food desires. The Current Dieting group "encompasses those who consider themselves to be currently on a diet and who consume less food than what is required than what is required for maintenance of their current weight," (Morgan, 1999). They are ones that eat small portions of food and starve themselves to keep their weight down or to lose weight. This can also be categorized as anorexia nervosa, a clinical eating disorder that afflicts primarily women. The last category is the Weight Suppressors, who "successfully lost weight and have kept it off for some time," (Morgan, 1999). These people have lost the weight by some means and have kept the weight off by adopting better eating and exercise habits.
The groups were split into two groups, the control group and the variable group. The experiment was to see what the effects would be on each type of person in the variable group when enticed with a milkshake "Preload" which tastes better than a regular milkshake and is higher in fat and calories. The control group would not receive the "Preload" shake so the experimenters could monitor normal reactions of persons from each group. The result was the "Preload" group ate more than the control group regardless of their category. The authors concluded that the dieting and appetite suppression is a mental game of the person and is only as strong as their own conscience and taste. However, that is only one way to look at the information.
The structural functionalist perspective focuses on the manifest and latent reasons for dieting. The manifest reason a person to diet is to look better physically. Physical acceptability is very important to people, both male and female alike. It is a part of out status as a human and gives value to our appearance as well. The latent function is to make ourselves healthier inside and out, by improving our immune system and eliminating cholesterol from our blood vessel, which could cause blockage. The functionalist sees dieting as a superficial task only to be used to change our outward appearance to gain respect and admiration from others.
The conflict perspective shows losing weight and dieting as a sort of contest between all members of society. They see the people with thin, healthy bodies and compare them selves to them. The healthy people with thin bodies are the Physical Bourgeoisies, and those without are the Physical Proletariat. Those who have a healthy, good looking body and those without are at constant conflict with each other to be the most desirable around; that is where the dieting comes in. Men and women alike do it mainly for competition for mates. Women see men ogling models in Victoria Secret commercials and then try to become that. Men too see male models and feel intimidated by a better physique. Men however do not see this as an opportunity to feel bad about themselves; they see it as a threat that must be defeated. The best ways for a man to do this is become what he is competing with, and then better. The physical aspects are seen as the determining factor for what kind of mate a person can get. The better the body, the better the mate, or so the legend tells us.
The symbolic interactionist view dieting as a self-improvement for a person's confidence and their self-image and a diet is what improves both. They take Charles Horton Cooley's "Looking Glass Self" therom and apply that to themselves everyday and those who diet do not like what they see. They see themselves as not being good enough for the opposite sex or other people altogether. They take this image of themselves and it lowers their self-confidence, which is then reflected in their actions. However, those who choose to diet also want to improve their life and a change in physique will do just that. On the other hand, dieting could be seen as not truly being happy with yourself and a superficial change is what is needed to give the ego a boost. They want to feel happy but do not want to accept themselves as the people they are inside and feel so superficially about themselves that losing weight is the only remedy to their unhappiness.
So, losing weight can be seen as a strict physical change for the sake of health, competition for mates, and improvement of their self-confidence, depending on which ideology you follow. They all have something in common though; they all deal with dieting to improve an aspect about a person, just not for the same reasons. Whatever the reason, dieting is a part of our culture that creates hope in people doing it, makes money for those helping, and gives jobs to those who sell the instruments and chemicals that help. So, in a way, dieting people create a lucrative market that creates support for the economic pillar of our society. Wow, who knew that fat people could do that?
Work Cited
Morgan, P.J. and Jeffery D.B. Addictive Behaviors: An International Journal.
Article Name: Restraint, Weight Suppression, and Self-Report Reliability: How Much Do You Really Weigh? Volume 24, Number 5, 1999

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