Life is unfair. Some people simply look better.
Their faces are more symmetric. They are well proportioned. They have fat, but it is in the right places. Skin tone. Muscle definition. There is a lot that goes into beauty.
All humans strive for beauty.
Because it is a sign of vitality.
We idolize beauty and marketing takes advantage of our weakness.
Thin models appear on magazine covers, Television ads, billboards, anywhere our attention needs to be had.
Have you ever pinned up a model wanting to emulate their fit look? You would not be alone. This is a genuine attempt at self-motivation. By seeing a true specimen of fitness we aim to get the same results.
One study found that this may be the best way to sabotage your weight loss efforts.
In the International Journal of Research Marketing researchers studied female undergraduates to see if thin models would influence their weight loss motivation.
The students were asked to keep a diary of food intake and engage in a one week weight loss program.
Two studies were completed.
In the first study, half of the 54 participants were given diaries with a cover image of a thin model, while the other half were given a food diary with the image of a measuring tape (a diet related image).
In the second study, half of the roughly 42 participants were given diaries with a cover image of a thin model, while the other diary had an image of the same model but photoshop edited to look of normal weight.
They used questionnaires before and after to asses participants motivation, self esteem, and whether they felt they could attain their weight loss goals. The researchers monitored weight change over the week as well calories consumed.
The participants who were exposed to the thin models were less confident they could attain their weight goal. They also GAINED a bit of weight (while the other group lost weight) and consumed more snacks and more overall calories.
So, exposure to thin models, in this study, led to less confident undergraduate females who consumed more food leading to weight gain.
These results imply a “What the Hell” effect.
Being exposed to thin models repeatedly as they complete their food diaries may have led to feelings of failure and futility.
Studies have found that goals thought to be so extreme and difficult are actually counterproductive. This may be an example.
So, pinning up pictures of model bodies may actually increase your weight. Presumably, the sight of unrealistic body parts is de-motivating over time.
You may be better served by posting up a picture of yourself in your healthiest state.
Also, it may be helpful to focus on the real reason why you are interested in weight loss.
This is your “Why.”
To find your “Why” make a list of all the things that would be better if you were at a healthier weight:
- You have more energy
- You are able to sleep better
- You are more productive at work
- You are able to travel more
- You are able to play with your kids
- You are able to climb Kilimanjaro
- You have a more vibrant (uh-hum) sex life
Now, tear down the the cover model and put this list up.
Here’s the evidence.