Looking to stick to your New Year’s resolution diet this year? Stay away from that aunt who called you “chubby” on Thanksgiving.
According to a new study published in the journal Personal Relationships, the messages you get from friends and family have a huge impact on your weight – and well-meaning loved ones might be doing more harm than good.
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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. About 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 women who were the most worried about their weight at the beginning of the study were the most swayed by their loved ones. 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.
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“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.”
Photo: Getty Images