If you are a young woman looking to lose weight, it’s hard to know what sources to trust; weight loss advice seems to range from ridiculous to click-bait-y and all the way to straight-up advertisement. Even though at Bustle we believe that every body is beautiful no matter what — cue Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are” — here is some weight loss advice we can actually get behind: women lose more weight when their friends and family accept their size.
A study published in Personal Relationships journal found that when friends, family, and romantic partners unconditionally accept your weight, you are more likely to lose some of it. Researchers studied 187 female college students who were initially asked about their current weight, their ideal weight, and their weight concerns. Five months later the researchers re-interviewed participants asking if they had talked to their friends, family, or significant others about their weight concerns and how they responded. Around three months after this, the participants were asked if any changes had occurred in their weight or their weight-loss worries.
The women who received messages of acceptance from their loved ones fared better than their counterparts. These positive messages included friends and family telling participants that they looked fine or didn’t need to lose weight. Women who were supported in this way saw better weight maintenance and some weight loss. When participants were told that they needed to lose weight, or even that their friends or family would help them lose weight, they felt greater weight-loss pressure and ended up gaining an average of 4.5 pounds.
This study has a great message — when women feel good about their bodies, they end up treating them better (assuming these instances of weight loss were done healthily and to achieve a healthy weight). Receiving messages of unconditional acceptance from friends and family also might have lowered the participants’ weight-related stress, which leads to weight gain. This means that when you tell a loved one that they look great, you are helping them feel good about themselves and might actually be helping them lose weight as well.
In a sea of misinformation about weight loss it’s nice to find a piece of advice that will do good for your body and mind. For your entertainment, here are links to crazy weight-loss claims and schemes that were never destined to work.
- Swallow a balloon, lose weight
- Use this body lotion, lose weight
- Wear a corset, lose weight
- Go pee, lose weight
- Smell this, lose weight
Yeah…we’ll take body acceptance over this craziness any day of the week.