The Most Surprising Barrier To Weight Loss

The Most Surprising Barrier To Weight Loss post image

People’s weight loss efforts
can be undermined in this surprising way.
People trying to lose weight
and keep it off frequently face criticism from others, new research reveals.
While losing weight is hard
enough, other people can sabotage these efforts with sarcastic and unkind
These include being told: “You
are going to gain it all back!”
People probably make these
comments because they feel bad about their own unhealthy lifestyles.
They are afraid of being
judged for their own choices and want to get their passive-aggressive sting in
Dr Lynsey Romo, the study’s
author, explained there was a stigma against being thin:
“Many times, when someone
loses weight, that person’s efforts are undermined by friends, family or
This study found that people
experience a ‘lean stigma’ after losing weight, such as receiving snide remarks
about healthy eating habits or having people tell them that they’re going to
gain all of the weight back.”
The study involved 40 people
who had previously been overweight or obese and were trying to maintain their
weight loss.
All gave in-depth interviews
about their experience.
The average weight loss was 77
pounds (35 kg).
Dr Romo explained the results:
“All 40 of the study
participants reported having people in their lives try to belittle or undermine
their weight loss efforts. 
This negative behavior is
caused by what I call lean stigma. 
However, the study found
participants used specific communication strategies to cope with lean stigma
and maintain both their weight loss and their personal relationships.”
Those who had lost weight
tried to avoid this negativity.
Techniques used included
telling people they had lost weight for ‘health reasons’ and to ‘have more
They also tried to keep their
healthy eating subtle.

Dr Romo said:
“Study participants would go
out of their way to make clear that they were not judging other people’s
For example, participants
would stress that they had changed their eating habits for health reasons, or
in order to have more energy. 
Overall, the study highlights
how important relationships are to making sustainable lifestyle changes — and
the importance of communication in how we navigate those relationships,”
The study was published in the
journal Health Communication (Romo, 2018).

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.