The Most Common Barrier To Weight Loss

Around 40 percent of the world’s population is overweight.

Depression is one of the biggest barriers to weight loss, new research finds.

Carrying an extra 20 pounds in weight increases the risk of depression by 17 percent, the study found.

The more fat someone carries, the greater the chance they will experience depression.

In this case, depression is driven by low self-esteem and a poor body image.

Since depression involves a loss of motivation and disinterest in life, it makes it much harder for overweight people who are depressed to lose weight.

Dr Søren Dinesen Østergaard, study co-author, said:

“Our study also indicated that the location of the fat on the body makes no difference to the risk of depression.

This suggests that it is the psychological consequences of being overweight or obese which lead to the increased risk of depression, and not the direct biological effect of the fat.”

The conclusions come from an analysis of over three-quarters of a million people, sourced partly from the UK biobank.

The biobank is a long-term project that tracks the health and well-being of volunteers in the UK.

The results suggest that it is obesity that leads to depression, Dr Østergaard said:

“As it appears to be the psychological consequences of obesity, such as a negative body image and low self-esteem that is the main driving force behind the increased risk of depression, society’s efforts to combat obesity must not stigmatise, as this will probably increase the risk of depression even further.

It is important to bear this in mind so we can avoid doing more harm than good in the effort to curb the obesity epidemic.”

Around 40 percent of the world’s population is overweight, Dr Østergaard said.

The study was published in the journal Translational Psychiatry (Speed et al., 2019).

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High IQ: 3 Fascinating Signs Of High Intelligence

Three ways to tell if you have a high IQ.

People who can predict the behaviour of others have higher personal intelligence, research finds.

Two other signs of high personal intelligence are self-motivation and being able to anticipate desires.

The idea of personal intelligence is broader than IQ.

It involves using intelligence to predict people’s behaviour.

Someone high in personal intelligence is able to analyse correctly their own and other people’s personalities.

People high in personal IQ know how best to deal with other people and how they will react.

Professor John Mayer, the expert on personality and intelligence who came up with the theory, said:

“Think of all the ways we read and interpret the people around us each day: We notice body language and facial expressions to estimate one another’s moods.

We draw initial guesses about personalities based on how people dress and present themselves, and we adjust how we interact with them accordingly.

We run through scenarios in our heads, trying to anticipate how others will react, in order to choose the best course in dealing with a boss, a coworker, or a partner.”

Reviewing decades of research on personality and intelligence, Professor Mayer has found it comes more naturally to some:

“We pick up on small pieces of feedback about ourselves from others, which we incorporate into a fuller and more accurate perception of ourselves.

And we make all kinds of decisions–about work-life balance, the neighborhood we live in, or who we spend our time with–based on what we think will be the best fit for our personalities.”

Professor Mayer concludes:

“People who are high in personal intelligence are able to anticipate their own desires and actions, predict the behavior of others, motivate themselves over the long term, and make better life decisions.”

→ Discover 22 more signs of intelligence.

The book is called Personal Intelligence: The Power of Personality and How It Shapes Our Lives and is published by Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.

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Time Management: Skills, Strategies, Tools And Research

Time management research reveals if it really helps people achieve life satisfaction and career success.

Time management is the process of planning activities to increase productivity.

Over the past decade or so it has almost become a cult, with websites, books and gurus all claiming to have the answer to your professional advancement and, naturally, lack of time.

Now, new research looks at 158 separate studies including over 50,000 people around the world to find out whether time management works.

Can it really help you achieve life satisfaction and career success?

Before we get to that, though, here are the basic time management strategies skills and tools.

Time management strategies

There are a seemingly endless number of time management strategies, but most involve three basic components:

1. Structuring time

Encourages the use of daily routines so that work fits together in a structured way.

Time management strategies are generally trying to combat the unsystematic way that most people work.

In practice, this involves simply prioritising tasks and using to-do lists.

2. Protecting time

Protecting time is mostly about stopping other people interrupting you from working.

This could involve saying ‘no’ when asked to do something else, delegating tasks to others or keeping other people away during certain periods.

The idea being, we cannot get the work done with continuous interruptions.

3. Adapting time

Involves looking at your overall schedule and seeing what time can be adapted for different purposes.

For example, sometimes you know a period will be waiting time — what could be achieved in that space?

Adapting time is about time reclamation: seeing what currently ‘useless’ time can be swept up and put to good use.

Examples of time management strategies

Central to many different time management strategies is setting goals and priorities.

In the ABCD analysis, for example, long used in business management, tasks are prioritised on this basis:

  • A – Tasks that are perceived as being urgent and important,
  • B – Tasks that are important but not urgent,
  • C – Tasks that are unimportant but urgent,
  • D – Tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.

Another, the ‘Pareto principle’, states that 80 percent of tasks can be done in 20 percent of the time, so do those ones first.

Does time management work?

Time management does work, but not wholly in the way people imagine, the new study reveals.

It improves performance at work somewhat, but its main benefit is to happiness, through a boost to life satisfaction.

After reviewing 158 separate studies on time management, Mr Brad Aeon, the study’s first author, said:

“We found that it does have a moderate impact on work performance.

But we found that the relationship between time management and job performance actually increased over the years, and significantly so.”

Time management has become more important in recent years as work has become more autonomous.

Mr Aeon said:

“People have more leeway in deciding how to structure their own time, so it is up to them to manage their own time as well.

If they are good at it, presumably they will have a better performance.

And if they are not, they will have an even worse performance than they would have had 30 years ago, when they had…

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Episode 1441 Scott Adams: Persuasion Tips Based on the Headlines, and Lots More

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Episode 1442 Scott Adams: Blue Origin, Pandemic Persuasion, and is Fox News Killing People

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Illusion of Control: A Cognitive Bias With Benefits

The illusion of truth is people’s tendency to overestimate how much they control events in their lives.

The ‘illusion of control’ is the finding in psychology that people tend to overestimate their perceived control over events in their lives.

The illusion of control is a bias in a positive direction, just like the above-average effect or the optimism bias, that help us feel better about life, even if it is at the cost of truth.

The illusion of control is well documented and has been tested over-and-over in lots of different studies over four decades.

Illusion of control examples

Here’s an example of the illusion of control: you choose an apple which tastes delicious.

You assume you are very skilled at choosing apples (when in fact the whole batch happens to be good today).

Another example of the illusion of control: you enter the lottery and win millions.

You assume that this is (partly) a result of how good your lucky numbers are.

In fact, lotteries are totally random so you can’t influence them with the numbers you choose.

Although most of us know and accept this, we still harbour an inkling that maybe it does matter which numbers we choose.

Magical thinking

Sometimes the illusion of control manifests as magical thinking.

In one study participants watched another person try to shoot a miniature basketball through a hoop (Pronin et al., 2006).

When participants willed the player to make the shot, and they did, they felt it was partly down to them, even though they couldn’t possibly be having any effect.

It’s like pedestrians in New York who still press the button to get the lights to change, despite the fact they do nothing.

Since the late 80s all the traffic signals have been controlled by computer, but the city won’t pay to have the buttons removed.

It’s probably just as well: they help boost people’s illusion of control.

We feel better when we can do something that feels like it might have an effect (even if it doesn’t).

Is the illusion of control beneficial?

It’s sometimes argued that the illusion of control is beneficial because it can encourage people to take responsibility.

It’s like when a person is diagnosed with an illness; they want to take control through starting medication or changing their diet or other aspect of their lifestyle.

Similarly, studies find that hospital patients who are able to administer their own painkillers typically give themselves lower doses than those who have them prescribed by doctors, but they experience no more pain.

Feeling in control can also urge us on to do things when the chances of success are low.

Would you apply for that job if you knew how little control you had over the decision?


But if you never apply for any jobs, you can’t get them.

So we pump ourselves up, polish our résumé and practice our interview technique.

But the illusion of control isn’t all roses.

Illusion of control in financial markets

To return to the discussion of lotteries, we can see the illusion of control operating in the financial markets.

Traders often feel they have more control over the market than…

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This Weight Loss Technique Works 8 Times Faster

How mental imagery can help you lose weight 8 times faster without dieting or exercise.

Mental imagery can boost weight loss significantly, research finds.

Functional Imagery Training (FIT) enabled people to lose 8 times as much weight as those using an alternate talk therapy.

The technique is designed to help people imagine how good it will feel to lose weight.

The imagery training also helped people lose almost two inches from their waistlines.

Surprisingly, people in the study did no extra exercise, nor did they go on a diet.

The mental imagery was designed simply to increase motivation.

It involves people focusing on how they will look and feel after they lose weight.

Dr Linda Solbrig, who led the study, explained the basics:

“We started with taking people through an exercise about a lemon.

We asked them to imagine seeing it, touching it, juicing it, drinking the juice and juice accidentally squirting in their eye, to emphasise how emotional and tight to our physical sensations imagery is.

From there we are able to encourage them to fully imagine and embrace their own goals.

Not just ‘imagine how good it would be to lose weight’ but, for example, ‘what would losing weight enable you to do that you can’t do now? What would that look / sound / smell like?’, and encourage them to use all of their senses.”

There were 141 people in the study who were either given the FIT training or an alternate technique called Motivational Interviewing.

The results revealed that after six months people in the FIT group lost 9 pounds in contrast to just 1.5 pounds in the comparison group.

One year later, people in the FIT group had lost 13 pounds, compared with only 1.5 pounds in the Motivational Interviewing group.

Dr Solbrig explained:

“Most people agree that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more, but in many cases, people simply aren’t motivated enough to heed this advice—however much they might agree with it.

So FIT comes in with the key aim of encouraging someone to come up with their own imagery of what change might look and feel like to them, how it might be achieved and kept up, even when challenges arise.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity (Solbrig et al., 2018).

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The Common Drink Linked To Brain Shrinkage

High consumption of the drink is linked to a 53 percent increased risk of dementia.

High coffee consumption is linked to brain shrinkage, a new study finds.

Over six cups of coffee a day is linked to a 53 percent increased risk of dementia, the largest study of its kind reveals.

Similarly, high consumption of coffee also increases the risk of stroke, by 17 percent.

The results come from an analysis including almost 18,000 people who were tracked as part of the UK Biobank study.

Ms Kitty Pham, the study’s first author, said:

“Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world.

Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it’s critical that we understand any potential health implications.

This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke — it’s also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors.

Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume — essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke.”

Dementia is a brain condition that affects memory, behaviour and thinking skills.

Six of the risk factors for dementia are:

  • high blood pressure,
  • heavy drinking,
  • genetics,
  • smoking,
  • depression,
  • and diabetes.

Stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted for a period.

Starving the brain of oxygen can cause brain damage and loss of function.

Balance is the key, said Professor Elina Hyppönen, study co-author:

“This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key.

Together with other genetic evidence and a randomized controlled trial, these data strongly suggest that high coffee consumption can adversely affect brain health.

While the exact mechanisms are not known, one simple thing we can do is to keep hydrated and remember to drink a bit of water alongside that cup of coffee.

Typical daily coffee consumption is somewhere between one and two standard cups of coffee.

Of course, while unit measures can vary, a couple of cups of coffee a day is generally fine.

However, if you’re finding that your coffee consumption is heading up toward more than six cups a day, it’s about time you rethink your next drink.”

The study was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience (Pham et al., 2021).

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OCD Symptoms: 15 Signs You Should Know

OCD symptoms and common signs of OCD, types of OCD, its causes and treatment and how to tell it from OCPD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms are more than just being fastidious about cleaning or checking the oven is off.

People with OCD symptoms normally have unreasonable fears (called obsessions) which they try to reduce by performing certain behaviours (called compulsions).

People with OCD symptoms feel compelled to perform these actions, even if they don’t want to.

OCD is thought to affect around 2.3% of people at some point in their lives.

OCD symptoms

Most people develop OCD symptoms before they are twenty-years-old.

Perhaps the most familiar example of OCD symptoms is people repeatedly washing their hands (a compulsion) to avoid getting a disease (an obsession).

That said, though, some people are considered to have OCD despite ‘only’ having obsessions or ‘only’ having compulsions.

Around 70 percent have both obsessions and compulsions, 20 percent just obsessions and 10 percent compulsions alone.

As with most psychological problems, OCD symptoms involves normal fears which are taken to extreme.

It’s perfectly normal to be worried about disease, but extremely inconvenient to wash your hands 300 times a day.

Both obsessions and compulsions are a matter of degree.

Once OCD symptoms are causing problems in everyday life, it needs addressing.

Common OCD signs

Here are some common obsessions, which can be OCD symptoms:

  1. Need for orderliness and symmetry.
  2. Fear of dirt or contamination by germs.
  3. Excessive doubt.
  4. Fear of sinful or evil thoughts.
  5. Fear of making a mistake.
  6. Fear of harming another person.
  7. Thinking about acting inappropriately or shouting obscenities.

Here are some typical compulsions, which can be OCD symptoms:

  1. Getting mentally ‘stuck’ on certain images or thoughts that won’t go away.
  2. Repeated hand-washing, showering or bathing.
  3. Repeating particular words or phrases.
  4. Always arranging things in a certain way.
  5. Constant counting during routine tasks, whether mentally or out loud.
  6. Performing tasks a certain number of times.
  7. Always checking things like locks or ovens.
  8. Collecting or hoarding things with no value.

Most people are fully aware that their thoughts and/or behaviours are unreasonable, some are not.

Stress normally makes the symptoms of OCD worse.

Around one-third of people with OCD symptoms also make repeated sudden movements or sounds.

These are called ‘tics’.

OCD symptoms: mixing up fantasy and reality

Confusing imagination with reality and being out of contact with reality are two further OCD symptoms (Paradisis et al., 2016).

People with OCD are known to dissociate themselves from reality.

Instead they rely heavily on their imagination.

People with OCD tend to experience ‘inferential confusion’: essentially getting fantasy and reality mixed up.

Dr Frederick Aardema, who has researched this OCD symptom, said:

“It seems that people with OCD are so absorbed by their obsession due to inferential confusion that there is a break with reality.

Specifically, we found that individuals no longer rely on their sensory perceptions or common sense but on their imagination.

For example, they are afraid that their hands are contaminated with germs, so they wash them over and over again because they are convinced that their hands are dirty even though they are visibly clean.”

Types of OCD

Some of the different types of OCD include:

  • contamination OCD,
  • scrupulosity OCD,
  • checking OCD,
  • symptomatic OCD,
  • perfectionism OCD,
  • sexual intrusive thoughts
  • and harming intrusive thoughts.

All OCD symptoms…

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Episode 1443 Scott Adams: Violent Protest Investigation, China is Not Safe For Business

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