If you are struggling to keep up with a weight loss plan then your family support, or lack of it, could well be to blame according to a new study.
Data published in the journal Personal Relationships showed that a number of studies have demonstrated a link between criticism and weight loss, especially when it comes from family members and this could be having a direct effect on the success of an individuals diet.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, women whose families are critical about their weight tend to put on even more, researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada found.
“When we feel bad about our bodies, we often turn to loved ones — families, friends and romantic partners — for support and advice,” said the lead author of the study, social psychologist Christine Loger, Ph.D., in a statement. “How they respond can have a bigger effect than we might think.”
During the research a group of college ages women were asked for details about their height and weight and then about how they feel when they see their number on the scale. The researchers then left these women for five months before coming back to them to find out how they had reacted to the initial information about height and weight.
According to the Huffington Post, after five months, the researchers asked the women if they had spoken to their loved ones about their weight concerns, and if so, how they had responded. Three months after that, they asked the women to record their weight again, and asked them how they felt about their current weight.
They found that the women who had received a higher number of “acceptance messages” about their weight — meaning that their loved ones had expressed acceptance of the women just as they are — experienced better weight maintenance and, in some cases, weight loss than the women who did not receive positive messages from their families.
Loved ones may think that they are being supportive when they are being critical about weight but this research suggests the opposite and would seem that it is far better to give positive comments about weight to family members rather than negative ones.
“Lots of research finds that social support improves our health,” Logel said in the statement. “An important part of social support is feeling that our loved ones accept us just the way we are.”
“Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment,” that study’s lead author, Jane Wardle, Ph.D., said in a university press release.