Simply Seeing Fat People Will Make You Fat, Too

Illustration for article titled Simply Seeing Fat People Will Make You Fat, Too

Ladies and gentlemen, avert your eyes. According to a ‘study' published in the Journal Of Consumer Research:

University of Colorado researchers offered candy to people who had been shown one of three pictures - a fat person, a normal-weight person, or a lamp. The researchers found that those who had seen the picture of the fat person took more candy than those who had seen either of the other photos.

In a similar study involving cookies, the same researchers found that people ate twice as many cookies after seeing a picture of an overweight person. And a 2007 Harvard study found that having obese friends tends to make people fat, NPR reported.

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Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information in this article on whether or not staring at lamps will cause your body to morph into a lamp, but I'm pretty sure it's safe to say it does.

Oh, and just in case you didn't catch the part about how you probably shouldn't be friends with overweight people because they will ‘make you' fat, let the researchers explain:

"Seeing someone overweight leads to a temporary decrease in a person's own felt commitment to his or her health goal," the researchers said in a written statement released by the journal.

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Thankfully, CBS News was balanced enough to include at least one person who did not agree with these findings:

"That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard," Peggy Howell, of the National Association for the Acceptance of Fat People, told CBS News. "If we look at anorexic people, do we eat less?"

Yes, yes, but what about the dangers of staring at lamps?!? The people have a right to know!!!

Does seeing fat people cause overeating?
[CBS News]

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DISCUSSION

karmasutra-ar-svensk-old
karmasutra är svensk

This will probably be met with some amount of flak, but to me this isn't ridiculous. Actually, this way of loosening the diet strings when you see a larger person, and feeling worse and eating less when you see a thin person (yes, Peggy, it happens), is what I live on a day-to-day basis. I do have an eating disorder, which makes me very attuned to anything that reminds me of weight or food, but it's been proven that many, many women who may not have a diagnosable ED are still obsessed with dieting and thus may have a similar mindset. It's not like in a public setting I eat a cookie for each bigger person I see, it's that when I'm thinking about eating something 'bad' or triggering, seeing a larger person is more likely to make me do it ("hey, they're bigger and it's okay so it's okay if I binge") while seeing a smaller person will not (thinspo, anyone?).

This isn't something I do because I 'hate fat people.' This is something that has come to be because of my seriously messed up relation with food and weight. Sure, you can tell me that it means I'm a bad person, but I'll just tell you that it means I, and whoever else does this, need help.