Critical Loved Ones Contribute to Weight Gain
Seeking support from your significant other, siblings or mom and dad is only natural when you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Nevertheless, your loved ones’ comments may be more of a hindrance than a help if they are not properly supportive.
New research from the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada found that women who received critical comments about their weight from family members or romantic partners were more likely to gain weight, rather than maintain weight or drop a few pounds.
“When we feel bad about our bodies, we often turn to loved ones — family, friends and romantic partners — for support and advice. How they respond can have a bigger effect than we might think,” said lead study author Christine Logel, Ph.D., from UW’s Renison University College in an interview.
To find out how positive or negative messages influence weight, the researchers studied a group of college-age women (early 20s). They began by having a psychologist ask the women how they felt about their weight. All of the women rated high on Canada’s BMI scale and were concerned about their weight.
The researchers then tracked the study participants’ conversations with their loved ones about their weight as well as whether they maintained their size, gained or lost pounds during an eight-month period.
They found that women who received a high number of positive acceptance messages from the people close to them were more likely to maintain their weight or lose weight. The women who received negative messages or criticism about their weight gained an average of 4.5 pounds during the study period.
“We all know someone who points out our weight gain or offers to help us lose weight. These results suggest that these comments are misguided,” Logel said. “An important part of [this type of] social support is feeling that our loved ones accept us just the way we are.”
The study results suggest that if you are one of the many black women who struggle with your weight, it may be best to tune out family members, partners, or friends who are not capable of being supportive. Or if you are trying to help someone close to you trim a few pounds, remember than letting her know that you love and accept her as she is may be the best way to help her slim down.
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