Overweight people spend more when THIS happens

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, even subtle reminders of idealized bodies can encourage overweight consumers to overspend.

Studies show that exposure to body cues (i.e., shapes) can have unintended consequences on seemingly unrelated behavior, such as spending. Seeing a thin -- as opposed to wide -- human-like shape prompts high-body-mass-index consumers to make more indulgent spending decisions.

The authors found that mere reminders of the thin-body ideal can cause overweight consumers to feel worse about their own abilities, including management of their spending impulses.

In one study where consumers were shown an object with a thin, human-like shape (e.g., something that resembles a Coca-Coca bottle), high-BMI consumers were more likely to buy a higher-priced, Fiji-brand bottle of water than a lower-priced, generic-brand bottle. Another study on shopping found that high-BMI consumers were more willing to take on credit card debt after seeing a thin (vs. wide) shape because they felt less capable of reining in their spending impulses.

These findings indicate that consumer advocates should be wary of reinforcing the link between weight, self-control, and financial success, as doing so can have negative consequences. The implications are especially significant considering the negative impact such messages can have on consumer debt and spending.

Moreover, the studies show that body shapes are powerful cues that can influence consumer spending preferences. Marketers have long used slender forms, designs and models to promote social and economic benefits. However, their design decisions might lead overweight consumers to spend more lavishly, leading to potential debt problems.

Did you ever think that exposure to body cues could lead overweight people to spend more?

Do you agree with THIS quote?

"Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it... the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought." 

Can you guess the source of this quote?

These words come from Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), the first treasury secretary of the U.S. under George Washington and the architect of the nation's financial system. Hamilton, who sang the praises of a strong central government, was a brilliant theorist and prodigious writer. He, along with James Madison and John Jay, wrote The Federalist Papers, which pushed for ratification of the U.S. Constitution. He championed the establishment of the First Bank of the United States and led the Federalist Party, the first political party to rise to power in the United States.

It's no surprise that Hamilton's story became the theme for a hit Broadway musical.

The illegitimate son of a Scottish immigrant father and a British West Indian mother (who happened to be married to someone else), Alexander Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis on January 11. Shortly after Hamilton's birth, his father James abandoned the family, fearful that the mother of his child would be charged with bigamy. In 1768, when Hamilton was around 13 years old, his mother died, thus leaving him an orphan. He was soon hired by an import-export firm and quickly impressed the higher-ups. In 1772, they opted to send Hamilton to the American colonies to further his education. He wound up attending Kings College (what is now Colombia University), blazing an improbable trail that would see him become the leading voice in George Washington's cabinet.

Hamilton's rags-to-riches story encapsulates the American Dream -- the idea that with hard work and unbridled ambition, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. In the quote above, Hamilton is essentially saying, "What you call genius, I call hard work and rigorous thinking." When Hamilton had a goal in mind, he worked toward achieving it with unrelenting passion.

Hamilton's life should serve as a model to us all. If you want something badly enough, chase after it wholeheartedly and don't look back. Whether it's starting your own business or buying a house, you need to eat, drink, and sleep your dream -- or else you'll likely come up short. Unfortunately, most people don't invest the time and effort -- physical, mental, and otherwise -- to reach the finish line.

With all the adversity Hamilton faced in his life, it would have been easy for him to throw in the towel along the way. But the Caribbean immigrant never gave up, becoming a Founding Father and one of the most prominent figures in American history. While we will never find ourselves in Hamilton's shoes -- tasked with helping to forge a new nation out of scratch -- we can achieve more than we ever thought possible with persistence and hard work, much like he did.

 Do you agree with Alexander Hamilton? Can "labor and thought" really take you places?

This Day in History: March 24

On this day in 1765, Parliament passed the Quartering Act, which detailed conditions and locations in which British soldiers were to garner room and board in the American colonies.

The Quartering Act of 1765 required the colonies to house British soldiers in barracks provided by the colonies. If the barracks were too small to house all the soldiers, then localities were to accommodate the soldiers in livery stables, ale houses, local inns, victualing houses, and the homes of sellers of wine. Should there still be soldiers without accommodation after all such public houses were filled, the colonies were then required to utilize uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings for said purpose.

As the language of the act specifies, the popular image of Redcoats tossing colonists from their bedchambers in order to move in themselves was not the intent of the law; neither was it the practice. However, the New York colonial assembly disliked being exhorted to provide quarter for British troops; they preferred to be asked and then provide their consent. Thus, they refused to comply with the law, and in 1767, Parliament passed the New York Restraining Act, which forbade the royal governor of New York from signing any further legislation until the assembly complied with the Quartering Act.

In New York, the governor managed to convince Parliament that the assembly had complied. In Massachusetts, British officers followed the Quartering Act’s injunction to quarter their soldiers in public places, not in private homes. Within these constraints, their only option was to pitch tents on Boston Common. The soldiers, living side by side with Patriots, were soon involved in street brawls and then the Boston Massacre of 1770. The British soldiers would stay in Boston until George Washington drove them out with the Continental Army in 1776.

Why deep relationships matter

Going back to my youth, there's one thing about me that has never once wavered: my affinity for deep relationships. 

Perhaps this explains why (1) I've kept a small circle of close friends my whole life, and (2) I've always sought serious commitments with girls, as opposed to men who sleep around for a few years before settling down.

It goes to show you that for me, it's always been about quality, not quantity.

I think having fewer people around minimizes the drama in one's life. The more people you know, the more social pressure you get to conform to others' views and agree with their opinions.

I make no effort to maintain superficial relationships in my life. Those people won't be there when I need them, so why even have them as a "friend" on Facebook?  Life isn't a popularity contest. Our high school days are long gone.

I have never had any patience for games. I know that makes me come across as a stiff, but I've always felt very mature for my age. I've passed up many would-be friendships and relationships after sensing that the other person was in it for the wrong reasons.

Thus, it's no surprise that I've been friends with my four closest friends for at least 14 years. Before marrying my wife -- we've been together for 12 years -- I'd never had a long-term relationship, as all the girls who seemed interested in me didn't appear to want anything long-term.

I may not have ample experience when it comes to friends and lovers, but I think my life is better because of it. Depth means more to me than breadth. It's nice to know that I have a pretty long, rich history with almost every single person in my immediate circle. I can only hope all the relationships will continue to flourish for the rest of my life. 

Don't suppress your emotions in relationships

Men are usually the ones who get a bad rap for doing this, but it turns out that women hide their emotions as well.

Why would people do this?

For one, they may want to avoid having an argument. Or, they could very well be hoping that whatever situation is triggering those emotions could be resolved before they have to come out and express their feelings.

But such a strategy is misguided.

Keeping those feelings bottled up might only lead to hurt feelings and resentment later on.

Whether you're feeling sad or angry, opening up to your partner will only make you feel better. One of the reasons we enter into a relationship in the first place is to have someone we can confide in -- someone who will hear us out and provide support when we need it most.

By keeping your feelings to yourself, you prevent your partner from connecting with you on an emotional level and, even worse, may engender suspicion in your significant other that something more serious is afoot (cheating, etc.).

It's better to let those emotions come to the fore than allow them to fester and wreak havoc on your life. Hiding behind a facade of happiness is not only disingenuous to your partner, but to yourself as well.

In the long run, emotional suppression is damaging to the long-term quality of a relationship.

When it doubt, let it out! You'll feel like a load has been lifted from your shoulders.

Do ALL women fall for bad boys?

In my last post, I argued that men's biggest complaint about women is that they generally don't know what they want in the arena of relationships. Some claim to want a nice, sweet guy, but they still end up with the exact opposite. What they say they want and what they actually go for don't always square.

Does this mean that all women have a preference for bad boys?

Nope, not at all.

What all women do want, as I pointed out in that earlier post, is a man with confidence. Because these bad boy types exude self-confidence (sometimes women mistake cockiness for confidence, however), women find themselves drawn to them.

A guy can still be nice and romantic as long as he does it in small doses. No woman wants a man to worship the ground she walks on, as it communicates that the guy is needy and trying to supplicate to her. That just isn't the way to build attraction.

A guy who doesn't seem sure of himself and always looks to his partner for approval is not doing himself any favors. Women want their partners to be firm in their thoughts, beliefs, and decisions. They don't want to feel as if they're the ones in charge. If he doesn't believe in himself, why should she?

Contrary to popular belief, most women don't get very hung up on a guy's looks or how much money he has. While those certainly help, they're just icing on the cake.

Confidence, though, can make the difference between a girl feeling attracted to someone or sending him to the dreaded friend zone. Oftentimes, women themselves can't explain why they feel this way.

Perhaps it's an instinctual imperative to find someone who oozes confidence. In a woman's mind, confidence translates into strength and means the man will likely be better equipped to protect her and their offspring. When you look at it this way, it's not surprising that so many men go to great lengths to project wealth (e.g., a luxurious car, huge house, etc.), as it signals that he has the means to provide for her and the kids.

Mind you, confidence can be faked. Just because a guy lacks or is unable to fake confidence doesn't mean he's doomed to be alone his whole life. However, depending on a woman's attractiveness and how many suitors are lined up to ask her on a date, she may insist on a confident man as a way of weeding out the nice guys who try to buy her affection with gifts and compliments.

Do you agree?

Ever heard or used this word before?

The word of the day is laconic. To be laconic is to use very few words. Synonyms for laconic include terse, pithy, brief, concise, and succinct.

I'm the perfect example of someone who's laconic. I don't like talking unless I have something meaningful to say and I've thought through my words carefully. That's why, when I actually have something to say, people shut up and listen. 

I only wish that people who tend to blab others' ear off realized that they can be laconic and drive their point home without providing so much detail. Sometimes we don't need to hear the whole backstory, you know?

Small talk, chitchat, blabber, babble -- it's all anathema to me. The only form of communication through which I'm known to employ many words? In writing, of course, as you can probably tell from this blog!

Had you ever heard or used the word laconic before reading this post?