[Psych] Can't stop thinking about your fats? It might really make you fat

, by 雨夜 [アマヤ]

It has been a long time since I have posted something pyschology-related! So here is one for you today!

Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) asked over 1,000 normal-weight teenagers how they viewed their bodies, then checked back with them 11 years later. 78% of participants who had felt overweight as teens ended up overweight as adults.


Does this mean if I keep thinking about my wrinkles/pimples/dark eye circles, I will get more wrinkles/pimples/dark eye circles?

What about my academic grades? Or income? Does thinking about those lead to increases?

-okay enough kidding-

The researchers' theory is that for some people, thinking about their fats negatively impacts their eating habits. For example, someone who wants to lose weight may skip meals, resulting in a reduced metabolism. When the body cannot metabolize as efficiently as before, it becomes easier to put on weight! So skipping meals isn't the ideal way to lose weight.

Another possible reason is that thinking about losing weight can lead to psychosocial stress, which puts more burden on the body and can lead to weight increases. Some of us do binge when stressed, yes?

Of course, we are all different, so the results of one study may not always be applicable to you. There are many likely reasons as to why some people do end up overweight, and there are as many reasons as to why some of us do not end up overweight, or can even lose weight, like me. For example, if thinking about your fats motivates you to do something productive about it, then good for you! ^_^ But too much of anything is never good, so take caution.

Journal Reference
Koenraad Cuypers, Kirsti Kvaløy, Grete Bratberg, Kristian Midthjell, Jostein Holmen, Turid Lingaas Holmen. Being Normal Weight but Feeling Overweight in Adolescence May Affect Weight Development into Young Adulthood—An 11-Year Followup: The HUNT Study, Norway. Journal of Obesity, 2012; 2012: 1 DOI: 10.1155/2012/601872



  1. If they were of normal weight, I wonder why they felt overweight?

    Also normal weight is subjective. They could have have a normal BMI but high fat to muscle ratio. It's hard to say without knowing the parameters used in the study.

    I'm also fascinated because I always thought Norway was a very healthy country. XD

  2. It's their perception? People affected by bulimia or anorexia are also plagued by distorted perceptions of their own body. Majority of my dancer friends would occasionally complain of being too fat when they already look stick-thin XD