Want to lose weight? Stop worrying about what those French fries might do to your waistline and start focusing on the positive effects you'll get from a spinach salad. You're better off looking on food's bright side if you're trying to slim down.
Researchers found that negative health messages worked primarily with health professionals like doctors or dietitians. For everyone else, positive health messages were more powerful. For example, telling yourself that, "This pizza will go straight to my thighs," won't motivate you as well as a statement like, "This green smoothie will give me energy."
Why? Researchers say that gloom-and-doom messages about diet and food can feel like finger-wagging, which is more annoying than inspiring. They can even backfire: It's recently been discovered that 73% of overweight and obese people respond to fat shaming by eating more than they otherwise would.
Health professionals, on the other hand, respond well to negative, fear-based messages because they already know all about dangers of certain behaviors like eating trans fat. They also have more at stake (or they're more "risk-averse," in scientific terms), since their professional lives can depend on them being healthy.
Want to try it on yourself? "Instead of saying, 'If I eat a cookie, I'll be fat,' you should say, 'If I eat fruit, I'll look better. I'll have a better complexion. I'll feel full. I'll feel proud of myself at the end of the day".
Time to stop scaring yourself away from those fries, and welcome yourself the bright side.
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