Woman showing how much weight she lost.The scales may not lie, but the people standing on them do.

That’s what researchers at the University College of Cork in Ireland found. They looked at why measurements of Body Mass Index (BMI) by doctors have been increasingly higher than the measurements given by patients over the past few years.

Scientists have known for a long time that people tend to overestimate their height, but it seems people are underestimating their weight more than ever before.

The researchers think that because society as a whole is becoming more obese, it’s affecting our perceptions of our own weight.

We tend to agree.

You see, the human brain loves to make comparisons. This is why we often feels good to have people around who are fatter than us. Our brain compares us favourably to them, and we feel thin by comparison.

The problem is that as society gets fatter, we can still feel thin compared to other people, even though in real terms we may be clinically overweight or obese. This fools us into thinking we are thinner than we really are.

To make matters worse, our brain also craves familiarity. We tend to find comfort and safety in being with people who are like ourselves.

So being surrounded by fatter people can motivate us to become more like them – to reach a point where our weight is ‘normal’ or ‘average’ compared with everyone else.

It isn’t something you consciously think about – it just happens automatically at an emotional level.

You don’t need to anything as drastic as finding thinner friends though… Simply being aware of these natural drivers and learning how to work with them can make all the difference.

DietAssist can teach you how to avoid the 12 most common psychological pitfalls people face when losing weight, so that reaching your weight loss target becomes easier than you ever imagined.

Why not register for our free introductory module?