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The Best Diet Might Start with Self Love

Being accepted by others improves the likelihood of losing weight

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

Every New Year’s, an estimated 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, with losing weight predictably the most common goal topping our lists year to year.

Interestingly, a new study published by the journal Personal Relationships reveals that the key to losing weight might be first for others and you to accept you as you are. Women who receive positive messages about their bodies are more successful in losing weight than those who do not.

For the study, 187 women at a Canadian university were asked questions about their self-esteem, weight, and ideal weight. They were then asked if they had discussed their weight concerns with their romantic partner or a close friend, and what kind of reaction they recieved. Their friend or romantic partners’ reactions were considered either accepting of their current state or negative by increasing the pressure on the subject to hit the gym and eat healthy.

The results suggested that for women who harbored weight loss concerns, those who received accepting messages/positive feedback were more likely to maintain their weight or slim down, while those who didn’t actually became heavier. By the end of the nine-month study, women who received weight acceptance messages shed about .17 units of body mass index, or BMI, while women who received body acceptance messages actually added about .75 units to their BMI.

The author of the study, Christine Logel, a professor with Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, believes that “weight concern may primarily reflect the knowledge that one’s weight could lead to rejection” and as a result, that might fuel “stress and shame that interferes with weight loss attempts.”

The study’s results support the idea that it’s better to be intrinsically motivated to achieve your goals rather than being pressured by outside influences. If you shed the haters, you’re more likely to shed the pounds.

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