A study by Duke University recently found that overweight teenage girls who read novels featuring a heroine who gets fit lost more weight than teens who read other novels (or none at all). These are interesting findings, but I wonder what the implications are.
Surely a series of novels, subtly marketed to overweight teens and featuring spunky heroines who get into shape, is currently in the works somewhere as a result of these findings. But I see this backfiring; teens would quickly sniff this out and the books would become stigmatized.
In my mind, the study opens the question of motivation versus self esteem. In another study researchers found that looking at pictures of thin models made people less likely to snack on cookies immediately afterward. But what about the way these images make us feel about our own bodies? Blogger Laura Moncur comments that self-esteem matters less than action.
Honestly, I think the whole self-esteem issue is moot. It doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself as long as you do what you need to do to be successful. Photos of thin models or not, the most important thing to keep you healthy is DOING what needs to be done to be healthy.
I have to admit, that chills me a little. Yet, as this article in CalorieLab points out, the ideal of body acceptance is a little tricky. So where's the balance? How do we motivate ourselves (and especially young people) to be our best selves without despising the selves we are now? How do we embrace transformation and our current selves at the same time? What do you think?