Researchers: Your New Year's weight loss resolution may hinge on perception
Losing weight: It's an age-old, oft-repeated New Year's resolution.
Yet University of Michigan researchers may hold the key to a successful completion of the resolution this year.
It's all (or mostly) about perception.
A U-M faculty member studied populations across five countries and found that if people believe obesity is primarily caused by overeating, they're more likely to be thin. Those who believe being overweight is primarily caused by a lack of exercise are more likely to be overweight, according to Brent McFerran, a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business.
McFerran's research was published in the journal Psychological Science.
According to McFerran's findings, the beliefs a person holds predict how that person will approach the goal of weight loss. In short, people who believe obesity is caused by diet consume less food.
The problem, McFerran said, with that is that people tend to overestimate the amount of calories burned during exercise and underestimate calories in the food they eat.
For example, a 20-ounce venti Java Chip Frappucino from Starbucks contains 580 calories. It would take the average person four hours to walk it off, according to a news release about the study.
Anirban Mukhopadhyay, a marketing professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, coauthored the report.