Looking to actually keep your New Year's resolution this year and lose the weight you always say you will? Sure, you already know exercising and eating healthy are important, but as new research suggests, so is staying away from that aunt who called you "chubby" on Thanksgiving.
According to a study published in the journal Personal Relationships, the messages you get from friends and family have a huge impact on your weight. To prove this, researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada measured the height and weight of a group of female participants and asked them how they felt about their bodies. Five months later, they asked them if friends, family, or romantic partners chimed in about their weight. Three months after that, they checked if their weight or self-esteem had changed since the beginning of the study.
In general, all participants gained weight. (Oh, well.) But, interestingly, women who were the most worried about their weight at the beginning of the study were the most swayed by their loved ones' opinions, and the scale showed it. If vulnerable women got positive messages, they were more likely to lose weight, or at least maintain the same weight. And if they got negative messages, they were more likely to gain weight.
"We all know someone who points out our weight gain or offers to help us lose weight," lead researcher Christine Logel said in a press release. "These results suggest that these comments are misguided." Instead, hearing nice, encouraging words—more of a carrot than a stick approach—is more likely to help women succeed with their weight loss plans.
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