What you believe “causes obesity” may actually affect your weight

Posted 12/18/2013 | By HealthCorps

An international study looked at a number of previous studies in different countries and found that people typically believe that either poor diet or lack of exercise cause obesity.  What was interesting is that those who believed that diet (food choices) caused obesity, had lower BMIs, than those who thought that a lack of exercise caused obesity.

The researchers concluded that those who thought “lack of exercise” is the big culprit in weight gain, tended to eat more, compared to those who considered an unhealthy, high calorie diet as the key instigator.

The researchers believe that there are enough studies in general to support the finding that “beliefs guide our actions.”  So if you believe that in order to avoid weight gain or in order to lose weight, diet is key, then you will intuitively try to eat less.  If you believe exercise is the key, then you will try to exercise more while disregarding any dietary changes.

Nutritionists and fitness professionals could use this information to help clients achieve their goals, especially if they are dissing their diet or refusing to exercise on a regular basis.  And you can personally have a “reality check,” using this new information to assess your own diet and exercise strategies.

Source: Journal of the Association of Psychological Science (2013; doi: 10.1177/0956797612473121)

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