According to psychologist and neuro-linguistic programming therapist Dr Heidi Heron, naturally ‘thin’ people don’t think much about food, weight or their body, while paradoxically, overweight people generally do. Focusing on losing weight can create unconscious efforts that invite the opposite outcome.

“If a person is constantly thinking ‘I’m fat’, the mind will take that as an order to fulfill. And if a person thinks ‘don’t have a biscuit’, they inevitably just thought of a biscuit because the mind has to see and think about a biscuit in order to not choose to eat it.

And, if it’s in the mind, a person will be more likely to crave it and then give in and eat it. ‘Thin’ people are not generally thinking about what ‘not’ to eat,” Dr Heron says. The unconscious mind “follows orders, takes everything personally and is unable to process negatives directly”, she adds. Therefore, even where weight loss is a goal, the optimal focus is on behaviour patterns themselves to achieve lasting change.

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