Los Angeles, CA – 1/31/2014—
It’s a common trend now to see motivational messages slapped acrossextremely fit individuals floating around social messaging networks. Referred to as “fitspiration,” these messagesare designed to encourage, but UC Santa Barbara psychology professor BrendaMajor advises caution to those who may consistently look to these images formotivation.
At times these messages can shift from motivational to stigmatizing,characterizing overweight individuals as lazy, self-indulgent, or weak burdenson our health care system. When thishappens, this supposed method of encouragement turns to one of bullying and canhave detrimental effects.
Women are particularly vulnerable to weight-stigmatizing images andarticles, and are more likely to suffer from emotional eating urges and becomedespondent over lack of progress and assumed “failure” over not achieving theirgoals.
With more and more information coming out about the effects of mentalhealth on weight loss and over-all satisfaction in life, it’s important tounderstand how to motivate those who want to lose weight, and be cautious tonot turn them away. A “tough love”approach can be applicable in some situations, but in instances where many feel“helpless to control their weight,” it can be detrimental and cause them togive up.
Major advised trainers, physicians, and others who seek to help thosewishing to lose weight to not focus on the supposed ideal of fitnessperfection. Instead, messages andencouragement techniques should center around building healthy, life-longhabits that can be sustained under various conditions. Lives change, and persons who struggle withweight loss or maintenance need to know how to work within these changes toachieve their goals, and believe in themselves to fully achieve a circle ofwhole health.
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