Putting a printout of the “ideal” body on your fridge is no new weight loss secret, but Blake Lively recently revealed that she uses an image of bikini-clad Gisele to curb cravings. “I have a picture of Gisele Bündchen in a tiny bikini in my freezer …. It gets in the way of my ice cream,” Lively was overheard saying last week at the premiere of her new film, All I See Is You, in NYC.
The idea is that the image will serve as motivation to skip snacking, and a recent study out of the University of Bern in Switzerland found that “weight control cues” such as art and images can, in fact, encourage healthier food decisions and help people pursue a goal weight. Researchers examined the eating behavior of 114 individuals after viewing notoriously thin sculptures by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti and reported reduced food intake.
While the authors of the study acknowledge that these statues would be seriously underweight IRL, they maintain that similar environmental cues should be considered as a way to help people lose weight. However, many health experts argue that the fetishization of impossibly skinny figures can lead to disordered eating. “For people who look at thin pictures, it’s not necessarily their goal in the moment but a fantasy of bodily perfection. They usually look at the photos with a mix of longing and shame at the same time,” Bonnie Brennan, senior clinical director of adult services at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado, told Health.
I wish I had her flat stomach. I wish I had her long legs. I wish I had her toned arms. It’s easy enough to fall into the comparison trap without seeing a photo of Gisele (which, by the way, is likely Photoshopped) every time you reach for snack. Instead of encouraging healthy habits, these unrealistic expectations can kill your motivation and keep you from reaching real goals. So, before you consider taping a supermodel to your fridge, try posting a photo from your wedding day or from a vacation where you look healthy and, more importantly, happy instead.