How Does Your Perception about Obesity Affect Your Actual Weight?

Weight loss is perhaps one of the most talked about topics in the World Wide Web. Type ‘weight loss’ into Google and you’ll have 420,000,000 results! This only means that millions of people across the world are at least curious about a fitter and healthier life.

But what causes weight gain? Ask this to your friends, colleagues, relatives, or to health professionals and you will have different answers. Some say it’s due to the overconsumption of calories. Others say it’s due to lack of exercise while the rest say its genetics. Does knowing the cause matter?

According to experts, people’s beliefs about the causes of obesity may actually predict their body mass. Brent McFerran from the University of Michigan and Anirban Mukhopadhyay from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology examined the beliefs of laypeople about the causes of weight loss.  After comparing the causes of obesity, the researchers found that people who blame it on lack of exercise alone were actually heavier and more likely to be overweight.

How do your beliefs affect your weight?

Lay theories suggest that our beliefs guide our actions. In the case of weight loss for instance, people who think that their weight gain is due to lack of physical activity would resort to exercising to shed extra pounds. On the other hand, those who believe that they are gaining weight because of incorrect food choice will be more focused on changing their diet. However, studies show (just like the work of McFerran and Mukhopadhyay) that reducing calorie intake is more effective as compared to physical exercise. Why?

There are plenty of reasons for this. First, people tend to reward themselves for exercising by overindulging in high-calorie foods. Because they think that they have burned fats, some become less cautious about what they are eating and on what amount. Second reason – many people underestimate the amount of calories they consume when eating and overestimate the amount of calories they burn during exercise. Remember, your body utilises calories to function. But excess calories aren’t converted into energy, rather stored as fats. Another reason why exercising alone is less likely to help people lose weight is that only a few have enough time to do it. For instance, brisk walking for 30 minutes will burn you as many as 200 calories. But if you eat a slice of chocolate cake, you might be consuming around 400 calories! If you don’t compensate this treat with another round of exercise, don’t expect to lose weight.

The findings of McFerran and Mukhopadhyay support the growing body of research suggesting that dietary change is one of the most powerful ways to lose weight. But this does not mean of course that people should stop exercising and focus on limiting their calorie intake. Exercising is critical to a lean and healthy body. If you combine it with dietary change, perhaps you could finally achieve your fitness goals this year!

I look forward to meeting you and helping you lose weight through the way most effective for you. I offer weight loss consultations, and Quickslim Body Wraps. Please contact me for more details.

Best wishes, Steve