Fate may not make you fat, but believing in it might. A new study out of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has found that people who have a high belief in luck and fate are more likely to live unhealthy lifestyles. No, this doesn’t mean playing the lottery will give you a gut. Rather, you can shortchange yourself through self-fulfilling prophecies. If you believe your health is completely determined by genetics, you may be talking yourself out of hitting the gym.
The study also found that the opposite was true: people who believed their life can be changed by their own actions ate healthier food, exercised more, smoked less and avoided binge drinking. The research was conducted to gain a better understanding of psychological causes of obesity.
“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,” Says Deborah Cobb-Clark, director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.”The main policy response to the obesity epidemic has been the provision of better information, but information alone is insufficient to change people’s eating habits. Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity.”
Maybe it’s time to re-examine your beliefs before you head to the gym, or before you give up on the gym altogether. Being 5’8” is something you have to accept, but your health, strength and fitness is something you can change.