Society has always fed people commercial concepts of beauty. Sadly, there are many adolescents who define themselves based on cookie-cutter notions of beauty. They look at the mirror and say “I look fat,” even when they aren’t. And here’s the cold, hard truth--mouthing such a statement like a mantra can actually make it come true, and that’s according to legitimate scientific research, reports

In Norway, a two-part survey was conducted within the periods of 1995 to 1997 and 2006 to 2008. The study followed 1,196 participants with normal weight from their teenage years to their mid-20s. After the given timeframe, many of the participants still had normal body weight, but those who had gained a few pounds had interesting findings: based on body mass indexes, 59 percent of the women who became overweight as adults thought themselves fat when they were teenagers.

"Perceiving themselves as fat even though they are not may actually cause normal weight children to become overweight as adults," says Koenraad Cuypers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Although it may seem coincidental, a person’s frame of mind may actually have great effects on the body. Those who perceive themselves as fat tend to unconsciously change their diets or skip their meals inappropriately, which may cause more harm than of good. Also, the psychological stress related to weight gain caused by an irregular lifestyle may add a few more inches around the waist, making it a vicious cycle of obesity.

So what can you do if your daughter thinks she has to be as thin as a Victoria's Secret model to be liked or loved? Sit down with her and explain that she's beautiful in her own right, and that she doesn't need to look like anybody else. If she's a bit on the heavy side, help her believe that her efforts are actually working, and she's on her way to achieving a healthy body weight. Focus on being healthy, not necessarily being thin. And ban the fat talk. After all, it’s all in the mind.

(Photo by Andy Rennie via Flickr Creative Commons)

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