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29 Apr
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Words Add More Weight Than Calories

Words make you fat.

My work with hypnosis long ago taught me the power of words. I’ve changed lives, removed fears, eased pain, and helped people to lose weight. I did all of that using nothing more than words. But words have so much power they can harm as well as heal.

A recent long-term US study, conducted by A. Janet Tomiyama, Asst Prof of Psychology, UCLA, followed the weight of 2,379 girls from the age of 10 until the age of 19. Almost 60% of these children had been told they were too fat by the time they were 10. Girls labelled too fat were much more likely to be obese at age 19. The greater the number of people who told a girl she was too fat the greater the likelihood of obesity at age 19.

This is not just a case of fatter children growing into fat adults, because the effects of actual weight were statistically removed in the study. The only factor whose effect was measured was being told you were too fat and by whom. The greater the emotional attachment to the person who criticises the weight – the greater the weight increase in later years.

This is quite fascinating because one of society’s solutions for problems is to point them out.

That’s all that is happening here. People who love the child, and know the problems that obesity brings, simply want to help by encouraging the child to become aware of their problem.

But it has the opposite effect.

Of course if you’ve read my book How to Lose Weight and Free Yourself from Diets Forever you’ll know all about emotional eating. So what is it going to do to a ten year old girl to tell her, no matter how lovingly, that she is too fat – in a world where attractive & loved & popular & famous = SLIM?

It’s not going to cheer her up.

It is going to make her unhappy.

And what do overweight people do when they are unhappy and can’t control their world?

They eat.

Do they eat lettuce and apples? No! They eat sweets and cakes and fats and sugars.

“When people feel bad, they tend to eat more, not decide to diet or take a jog,” Tomiyama said. “Making people feel bad about their weight could increase their levels of the hormone cortisol, which generally leads to weight gain.”

All that matters, especially with a young child, is that they learn to feel good about themselves. Not good about what they look like, or whether they fit in with society’s current view of physical perfection, but good about who they are; good about their talents and abilities; good about how kind and loving they are; and good about everything they do.

Yes, it’s a good idea to ensure they have a healthy diet, but you can do that without stigmatising a child, or regarding a healthy diet as some sort of punishment for getting too fat. I mean what 10 year old has any idea of the connection between their long-term weight and enjoying an ice cream?

Be kind.

Encourage and support a shift to a healthier diet and more active play rather than computer fun. That’s all you need – except…

You just might want to tell your ten year old daughter how beautiful she is.


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