Skinny Models Make Us Fatter
Better try something else. Turns out, skinny models make us fat.
Well, maybe they don’t make us fat, but a new study found that women who used eating diaries with a slim model on the cover actually gained weight because they started sneaking more snacks. To make sure the model was the problem, researchers traded the picture for one of with an average sized woman. Lo and behold, the over-snacking subsided.
Anne Klesse, study researcher and assistant professor of marketing at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, says that challenges that seem unattainable can make us give up, adding:
Being constantly exposed before and after eating, every time I am writing in my diary, I am reminded of a very skinny model, the idea comes up that it is not attainable for me… Our findings reveal that the perception that a goal is unattainable demotivates dieters from investing effort in achieving the goal and causes them to disengage from the goal.
Since the models are Photoshopped and starving, the images are, indeed, unattainable.
This resonates with other studies which found that looking at skinny models in fashion magazines leads to more body image problems and eating disorders (overeating is one type of disorder).
And in fact skinny models, and the small chance we have of looking like one, can plain stress us out. I’ve been known to self-medicate by eating more when I feel anxious. Maybe you do too?
Best to be guided by realistic and healthy images, not body goals that cannot be found in nature.