Are You in Denial About Your Weight? [AUDIO]
A recent study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found many people in New Jersey and across the country believe they weigh less now than they did a year ago, when in fact they’ve actually put on a few pounds.
Psychologist Dr. Steven Tobias, who practices in Morristown, isn’t surprised by the results.
“I would never underestimate the power of denial – it’s a very strong human defense mechanism that people use quite frequently. Denial is a normal way for people to respond to stressful situations, because if you think about being overweight, it probably makes you feel bad, you don’t want to feel bad, so you avoid thinking about it, or you look to rationalize it.”
He also pointed out, “As the whole population gets fatter and fatter, what people do is they compare themselves to others. And so, if you look down the street and you see people that are heavier than you are, it helps to justify your own weight- because gee, look, at least you’re not as fat as that person.”
Dr. Tobias added more men tend to be confused about whether or not they’ve actually lost weight.
Women More Aware of Weight Changes
“I think women are more self-conscious about their weight – I think they keep track of it better than men do. Men have a more casual attitude towards it, whereas women are more focused on the details of it.”
He said there is also a concern about the pendulum swinging the other way, where men would become obsessed with their weight in an unhealthy way, which could lead to more eating disorders. So it’s a difficult situation, a sort of balancing act that people need to be aware of.