New research has found that people who experience weight discrimination are more likely to develop unhealthy coping strategies including binge eating and avoiding exercise. So, if you’re on a roll and feel like you’re making a positive impact on your body and reaching those health goals then it’s the time to block out any negative influences in your life.
This research may focus on weight discrimination, however any negative impact on your appearance could have much the same effect.
Discriminating against people because of their weight is likely to cause even more weight gain according to this new study. The researchers found that participants who initially were not obese but experienced weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to have become so within four years and participants who were initially obese were 3 times more likely to remain so, compared to those who didn’t feel the impact of discrimination.
These new results suggest that weight discrimination simply feeds a dangerous cycle in which overweight people feel unable to break. The research was published on 24 July in the science journal PLOS ONE.
Previous research has shown that weight bias can lead to depression and low self-esteem as well as other damaging psychological outcomes.
Unfortunately weight discrimination is one of the few types of discrimination which are still considered socially acceptable which makes it very hard to stop and it’s also very hard to ignore hurtful comments. Weight discrimination is counter-productive but of course it’s near impossible to tell this to the people who are carrying it out.
Even some of the leading bodies in the weight loss industry have been challenged for their anti-obesity campaigns as they’re causing people with weight issues to feel even worse about their situation. It’s hard to see what the answer may be but clearly we shouldn’t underestimate the impact discrimination can have on someone’s goals.
Discrimination in any form can be extremely demotivating and it’s important our minds are set in the right way. If you’re embarking on a healthy lifestyle change, it may be hard for others to take. It could be your colleagues at work who still continue to offer you biscuits and chocolate bars, without taking your positive lifestyle change seriously. It could be your partner who doesn’t seem to grasp that you really don’t want another takeaway!
It’s all about mind over matter. The famous rhyme ‘stick and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is being proven wrong more and more each day but if you do have negative influences in your life, use your goals to drown them out.
There are three key negative influences that you can put a stop to completely. You may not be able to stop the biscuit tin coming around at work but you can take control in these three key areas:
The world at large has a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves. We’ve already mentioned that large diet and weight loss companies have been told about the negative impact of some of their advertising. It can be hard to stay on track with a healthy diet and exercise when the body beautiful displayed in the glossy magazines seems unachievable. The best way to block out these influences and expectations is to focus on you and only you. Don’t make comparisons, think about how far you’ve already come and praise yourself for it.
Everybody has them, those friends who really are far from it. We all have one, the friend who only appears when they need something from us and even when they are around all they seem to do is criticise. These types of friends are simply surplus to requirements. Chances are they’ll have no interest in your healthy lifestyle and some even work their hardest to sabotage it, turning up on the doorstep with bottles of wine and snacks. Think about their motives and think about your long-term goals. Do these friends really add anything to your life? Will they still be there and ready to congratulate you when you reach your goal?
This is the biggie. You are your own worst enemy and probably your own worst critic. Everybody is a perfectionist when it comes to themselves but if you want to achieve success you have to give yourself a break, from all the negativity at least. Self-awareness is one thing but you have to take each day as it comes and look at your goals and how you’re slowly but surely achieving them. A negative self-image is not healthy and it’s certainly not going to help you along your weight loss or healthy lifestyle path.
As research is suggesting negative influences CAN have an impact on our weight and also our uptake of unhealthy habits. Be good to yourself and block out anyone who isn’t.
by Kath Webb
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