Thinking you are fat makes you fat

Thinking you are fat makes you fat

In our society striving to be thin, and keeping up with the unrealistically thin bodies of celebrities, causes many to perceive themselves as ‘fat’ when they are not.

Now we have proof that thinking you ‘are fat’ WILL MAKE YOU FAT!

A study by Cuypers and colleagues at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that 78% of girls who ‘felt fat’ in their teen years actually became overweight or obese in adult life.

Most importantly, it was noted that waist circumferences that classified them as obese, not BMIs.

“Perceiving themselves as fat even though they are not may actually cause normal weight children to become overweight as adults,” says Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Some of the reasons for the link between thinking and being fat in later life may start with behavioural changes found in teens who think they are fat.

Some of the behavioural changes may continue into adulthood and include:

Disordered Eating Patterns

As a teenager, disordered eating patterns such as:

  • Skipping breakfast;
  • Skipping other meals;
  • Restricting food intake, and 
  • Dieting etc…, 

negatively affect metabolism, stress, hormone production and brain function as you grow into an adult. 


Stress, anxiety and obsession about:

  • Weight;
  • Dieting;
  • Food, and 
  • Exercise, 

produce stress hormones that affect metabolism, hormone production, brain function and fat retention (particularly abdominal). 


Going on and off restrictive diets cause stress to the brain and body and changes the function of all aspects of the brain and body.

“Thinking fat” and then “getting fat” is not limited to teenagers.


According to the article, “Similar studies have previously been conducted in normal weight adult men and women.

These studies have also shown an increase in weight over time in those who perceived themselves as too fat.” 

Society and the Struggle For the Ideal Body

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If you type “ideal body” into a google search there are many articles about what the ideal body should look like and even “programs” to reach the “ideal body”.

When you look at the magazines in the rack when you are buying your groceries you are bombarded with glossy, “perfect” and photoshopped women and men. 

When you scroll through your social media you are constantly bombarded with images of people with filters and poses to make them look a specific way.

You will notice when a celebrity, or someone with a lot of followers posts a picture of themselves to their feed, people comment on their body – positively and negatively. 

Society has a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves and this can lead to many health issues including:

  • Extreme dieting;
  • Over-exercising;
  • Eating disorders, or
  • Disordered eating such as Binge Eating and Food Addiction. 

The social pressure present in your life, can not only lead to physical health issues but can also lead to poor:

  • Self-esteem;
  • Self-image;
  • Body-acceptance;
  • Self-confidence;
  • Self-worth;
  • Self-belief, and
  • Much more. 

Be a Role Model for Teens

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It is essential to provide a buffer between society beliefs and the media and our teens.

Parents, teachers and other key people, in teens lives, need to become healthy body role models.

How often do you find yourself, as an adult, looking in the mirror and saying “these jeans make my butt look big,” or asking someone “does this outfit make me look fat?”

As teenagers go through adolescence they mimic the behaviour of the adults around them. 

Most importantly though, is acknowledging role models for their positive internal qualities such as kindness, sharing, courageous, forgiving etc.

The best gift you can give your children is the gift of teaching them how to treat others with respect, kindness and humility.

Love Yourself and Your Body

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Change your Language

It starts and ends with you!

Small actions can make a big difference.

If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, why are you saying it to yourself?

Every time you talk to yourself and look at yourself in the mirror, you have the choice to lift yourself down or lift yourself up.

The more you embrace being positive accepting and confident about who you are and your body NOW, the more energy and happiness levels will naturally increase. 

Balance is the Key

Balance the not so healthy foods with healthy food.

If you are eating at least 80% healthy food every day you should reach a healthy balance as you change eating habits.

For example, if you have a creamy pasta bake, add 3-4 vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, pumpkin etc.. 

Keep Moving

Look for opportunities to be active.

Cliché as it sounds, it does work:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator;
  • Park further away at the shopping centre;
  • Go outside with the kids and play;
  • Go Swimming, and
  • Do whatever is enjoyable for you to get your body moving. 

Feel good about just being you

Listen to yourself, your body and use your intuition to continue to learn about yourself and grow.

Along your journey be positive, kind, caring and understanding.

Allowing yourself to accept yourself empowers you to:

  • Acknowledge who you are;
  • Celebrate yourself, your achievements and milestones;
  • Change for yourself, without comparison or judgement, and
  • To be the person you want to be. 

If you are struggling with weight issues and/or Disordered Eating, Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help you get to the underlying issues of your health problems.

We specialise in weight management, Food Addiction and Disordered Eating such as Emotional Eating, Stress Eating, Binge Eating, Night-time Eating, Dieting and More.

Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help you build the life that you want and become the person you to be through a process of education, skill development, healing and achievement.

Fat Shaming Leads to Weight Gain

Fat Shaming Leads to Weight Gain

Being called fat, or being fat shamed, has an immense and very measurable effect on the person years later.

Someone who is overweight or obese may feel ‘different’ and treated ‘differently’ by others.

Unfortunately, people who carry more weight than what is supposedly healthy is becoming the norm, not the exception.

However, those carry the extra kilos are experiencing more and more discrimination and judgement by society.

They can be treated with less respect, get poorer service from staff and even harassed.

Friends, family and medical professionals may think they have the best intentions of telling someone that they need to lose weight but unfortunately, this can lead to people gaining weight, not losing. 

Overweight people are often stereotyped as being lazy, and body shaming over and over again has found that it results in many negative consequences including:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Social isolation;
  • Body dissatisfaction;
  • Obesity
  • Eating disorders, and
  • Disordered eating behaviours such as binge eating, emotional eating and food addiction.

Being Called Fat Causes Obesity

A study by UCLA Psychologists have made a startling discovery, young girls who were called fat, around age ten, are more likely to be obese by age nineteen.

In fact, the likelihood of them becoming obese was 1.66 times greater than their peers.

Also, the more people who told her she was fat, the likelihood of her becoming obese increased.

“Being called fat has an immense and very measureable effect on the person years later,” according to Assist. Prof. Tomiyama.

The study showed that even if girls are not overweight, but labelled so by peers and/or family, the likelihood of being obese years later increased.

Labeling can result in increased stress and worry over body weight, shape and image, leading to disordered eating behaviours.

5 Steps to Create to Lasting Change

Being body-positive is not only about your physical self… it is about who you really are! Beat social pressure and misguided norms with these 5 steps:

Tip #1 – Live in the NOW

Realise that your thoughts and the words of others are not your reality.

Take control of your thought process and stop comparing the now with the past, or scenarios in the future.

Use your breathing to focus on the present and turn your focus towards something in that moment.  

Tip #2 – Celebrate Even the Smallest Change

When we celebrate the small wins for successful change, we are celebrating habit and/or behaviour development.

When you look back at what may have been a small change at the time, it could have made a bigger impact in your life. 

Tip #3 – Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

There is only one YOU in this world!

Your mind and body are your vehicles through this lifetime.

If something makes you uncomfortable – stop! and find things that make you feel comfortable.

Do things that make YOU happy.

Be who YOU want to be. 

Tip #4 – Build Self-compassion

When people are constantly tearing you down and making mean comments about your body, you can start tearing yourself down.

Ditch the negativity and focus on the positives.

Be kind to yourself!

What really matters is what you think about yourself – not what other people think. 

Tip #5 – Celebrate Yourself for Who You Are Today

To be happy and healthy, realise that you need to celebrate your uniqueness, accept your flaws, and work on goals that matter to you.

No matter where you are in your journey, always celebrate you for who you are today!

If you or your child is suffering from Body Dissatisfaction, or concerns about body shape and size and this has resulted in low Self-Esteem, Disordered Eating Behaviours and/or Eating Disorders, then Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help with personal support.

It is not weak to seek help from a professional.

Fit Minds and Bodies Clinic understand your struggles and provides you with information and support to help you overcome the behaviours maintaining Disordered Eating and/or Eating Disorders.

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