Your bestie Betty loves to obsess about the fact that she really (really) needs to lose those last 15 pounds. But according to a recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “weight talk”—aka conversations with family and friends about how much you or others around you weigh—is one of the fastest ways to sabotage your body image and relationship with food.
Here’s why: Flash back to when you were a kid. According to researchers, if parents spend too much time fixated on their own weight (positively or negatively) or encouraging kids to keep an eye on the scale, kids are more likely to tune in and adopt unhealthy weight-loss strategies like dieting or binge eating as a result.
On the flip side, it’s better if conversations about body image focus on healthful habits (like eating right) minus any mention of how it correlates to the scale.
Which brings us back to Betty: Childhood habits don’t just go away as we get older. Remind your friend that her weight loss efforts should never be a numbers game.