Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Models are not motivation for weight loss

I'm sure most of us have - at some point - been guilty of seeking weight loss motivation from one of our old Glamour or Elle magazines... you know, cut out a picture of an ultra-skinny model and posted it on our refrigerator or cupboard as a reminder to not have a bowl of ice cream before bed.

But don't be so quick to slice up some motivational clippings of models, because you might not be doing yourself a favor as you reach for your fitness goals for the New Year...

As I was listening to NPR's Morning Edition on WBEZ 91.5 this morning, I learned about an experiment done by Anne Klesse, a researcher at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and her colleagues which explored the effect images of skinny models had on dieters.

The experiment is explained as follows:

They recruited female volunteers who signed up for a weight-loss program and gave them diaries in which the volunteers could note precisely what they ate and when - a standard technique in weight-loss programs nowadays. 
But half of the volunteers got a diary that featured a skinny model on the cover and on every page. The other half got diaries with the neutral image of a logo.  
The results were sobering.  
"Those people that saw the diary without the model on top - they were actually able to lose weight," Klesse said. "Surprisingly, the people that [had the diary with the model on it] were not able to lose weight, and, even worse, they even slightly gained weight."

Read the full article HERE.

So as I head into my resolution to get even healthier in 2013, I'm going to do the same thing mentally by maintaining a healthy image of my aspirations relative to my physique. As women, we don't want to be model-thin, because let's be honest... those girls who fit into the runway mold were gifted by a very unique and rare set of genes. And they look great, of course. But that's not everyone... that's not even what the wide majority of the female population looks like.

So instead... let's use some healthier motivators!

  • Write down a promise to yourself: On the inside of your date book or on a sticky at your work computer, write down your fitness promise as a constant reminder. For example, "I will lose 5 lbs and make my leg muscles stronger so that I can finally run a 5k this summer!" If you have a bunch of reasons to get healthy, like "Look slammin' for my 5-year reunion" or "Get a flat stomach for my vacation this spring," then write them down and stick them everywhere! 
  • If you still like pictures as motivation, find a picture of yourself from a time when you were your fittest. That way, you remind yourself that your goal is attainable, because you've done it before!
  • Use quotes, not pictures: When I need some verbal inspiration, I go to Pinterest (which is odd, considering Pinterest is about photos, but it works!). Simply search "Fitness Quotes" and get ready to be inspired!
I LOVE this one! Click HERE 
to go to the direct Pinterest Page.-> 
  • Slimmer or not, remember that you're always beautiful: I always fear that some women may spend too much time bashing their figures when trying to lose weight. So I want you all to remember one thing... we want to lose weight so that we can lead longer, healthier lifestyles. Do not, under any circumstances, lose weight to fit into a certain mold or to make someone else happy. Get healthy because you know it will help you move closer to your life's dreams... get healthy because it will make you feel empowered, stronger and on top of your game. So in addition to motivational sticky notes to lose the weight, make sure to throw in a few that say, "You're the smartest person I know" or "You have a smile that makes the sun jealous." Because the more you love yourself at any shape, the easier it will be to stick to your health goals, since you won't waste any time avoiding your diet due to self-image anxiety.
~Life in the fit late~

- Brittany

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