The findings come from an 11-year study involving 1,200 healthy-weight participants who were weighed, measured and questioned once as teenagers and once again in their twenties.
The researchers, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, discovered that the young men and women who described themselves as ‘chubby’ or ‘very fat’ as teenagers (despite having healthy BMIs and waist measurements), were more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.
‘Overweight’ is classified as having a BMI of over 25 and waist measurements exceeding 80cm for women and 94cm for men. ‘Obese’ is classified as having a BMI of over 30 and waist measurements exceeding 88cm for women and 102cm for men.
Over half (59%) of young women, and 63% of young men who incorrectly defined themselves as fat when they were teenagers actually went on to become overweight in their twenties.
Only 31% of girls and 48% of boys who were happy with their weight as teenagers became overweight as young adults.
These findings correlate with the findings of previous studies, which suggest that being anxious and paranoid about body shape can cause weight gain around the waist.
People with unhealthy body-image perceptions could also be more inclined to skip meals, yoyo diet and binge than those with healthy body-image perceptions – all of which can contribute to weight gain.
The scientists wrote: “Girls in particular tend to consider themselves as overweight, even though they are not, which may lead to psychosocial stress and unhealthy weight control practices such as skipping meals.”
Hypnotherapy works to alleviate stress and anxiety and transform negative perceptions. If it is possible to ‘think ourselves fat’, then hypnotherapists may be able to undo the damage using specialist techniques to adjust thought patterns.
To find out more about how hypnotherapy can help with developing positive body-image perceptions, please visit our Low Self-Esteem page. To explore more about how hypnotherapy can help overweight and obese people looking to lose weight, please visit our Weight Loss page.
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