Sabotage, collusion might be derailing your weight loss journey: Study
The Surrey team discovered that sabotage typically impacted a person's confidence and self-esteem, significantly affecting their attempts at weight loss.
ENGLAND: A recent study from the University of Surrey suggests that family members and close friends may be working together to thwart your efforts to lose weight. The study adds to a growing body of research that contends not all forms of social assistance have beneficial effects on health.
Researchers examined the available literature in this field and discovered that collusion, eating habit, and sabotage all impair attempts by persons wanting to lose weight. The Surrey team discovered that sabotage typically impacted a person's confidence and self-esteem, significantly affecting their attempts at weight loss. This included discouraging healthy eating and erecting obstacles to attending support groups.
Jane Ogden, Professor of Health Psychology and lead author of the study from the University of Surrey, said: "Weight loss often results in change, from giving a person more confidence to a change in social dynamics in their relationships. Many do not welcome such changes and may, consciously or subconsciously, try to derail a person's attempts to lose weight in order to keep things the way they are.
"We need to explore this area further to develop interventions which could target family and friends and help them be more supportive in helping those they are close to lose weight."
Closely linked to sabotage, researchers identified 'being a feeder' as a harmful form of social support. Although often done as a gesture of love or as a sign of wealth and status, researchers found that deliberately providing food when the person is not hungry or trying to eat less can be detrimental to weight management. Interestingly, researchers also pinpointed collusion, which is often seen to reflect kindness and friendship, as a form of negative social support. Analysing a number of studies, researchers found a examples of family, friends and partners colluding with those trying to lose weight through 'going along' with their behaviour when it is not in line with their weight loss goals. Professor Ogden added: "People pursue weight loss for a number of reasons, be it for their overall health or to feel better about themselves. Support from friends and family can be an invaluable tool in helping people achieve their goals however sometimes those closest to them thwart their efforts by tempting them with unhealthy food or acting as a barrier in helping them adopt a healthier lifestyle."
This research was published in Current Obesity Reports.