How Your Neighbors Impact Your Weight


“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor,

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Do you remember this little snippet of a song? The song from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood?

How is it possible that our neighbors and our neighborhood can be connected to our weight?

Let me clarify…I’m not talking about your next door neighbor here, or even how close you live to a Whole Foods supermarket. I am talking about the neighborhood you have living in your own head.

Mean Neighbors & Negative Self-Talk

Are your head neighbors mean? Do they…

  • Judge your actions?
  • Criticize your choices?
  • Tell you that you are stupid? Lazy?
  • Tell you that you will never be good enough?
  • Make sure you know how disappointed they are in you?

This whole neighborhood of mean, judgmental, shaming, criticizing people who just won’t leave you alone…even if you ask them to, even if you don’t want to listen, even if you try to shut the door on their face, they persist.

They stay there…living in your head.

Their voices are loud.

Their voices are shaming.

They are relentless.

And, they are very good at what they do. They have had many years of practice.

Their talk creates fear inside of us. This fear enlists cortisol, the hormone that is released in times of stress. Studies show that high levels of cortisol contribute to weight struggles.

Their talk increases the judgment of yourself, your body, your thoughts and your actions.This also increases your stress level. Cortisol again.

Their talk creates shame and self-loathing, it decreases self-esteem and self-worth.

This can reflect in the choices that you make.

Choices like…

  • Staying in bed
  • Isolating yourself from your family and friends
  • Not doing things you enjoy
  • Numbing your emotions with food



Why is it that you decide to keep these neighbors living in your head with you? Why haven’t you moved them out yet? Said “HASTA LA VISTA?”


It is almost as if these neighbors have become your employees and you’ve kept them on the payroll.

Haven’t you paid them enough already?

Isn’t it time to fire them?

I sent my neighbors away to an exclusive upscale retirement community in Florida, they have enough money to live there very comfortably for years…

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Isn’t it time for a CHANGE?

A change in these employees you keep around?

Change in thoughts

Change in opinions

Change in neighbors…

Are you willing to bring in new neighbors?

Invite them to live in this headspace that is uniquely yours?

With specific requirements, of course… that they be:

  • Supportive
  • Kind
  • Encouraging
  • Strong
  • Compassionate
  • Caring
  • Dependable

Job Description:

Change the voices from judgmental to supportive. From mean to kind,  degrading to encouraging, criticizing to compassionate…

Imagine having intelligent, kind and compassionate conversations, encouraging and supportive words and uplifting messages going on inside your head. How would that make you feel?

Changing your neighbors, choosing your thoughts, creating a safe environment, decreasing fear and allowing kindness and compassion to enter your head can help increase your self-esteem, your body image, your self-worth and have an impact on your health.

Choices become just that, a choice to eat this or that, a choice to say yes or no, a choice to listen or not, a choice without shame or judgment.

Finally, a choice that is not accompanied with a critical voice.

This safe space that you create can encourage choices that take special care of you, because you are worth it, and yes, the neighbors you choose to keep in your head can have a direct impact on your health and weight.

Choose wisely.

“Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?”

6 responses to “How Your Neighbors Impact Your Weight”

  1. Kim says:

    Annie thanks but I have one question – how can a person stop thinking about food when not physically hungry? The neighbors are constantly saying eat something – driving down the street- the thought comes eat something- I tell myself I am not hungry then I find myself criticizing myself and my efforts to change — can You suggest any help? I WANT NEW NEIGHBORS!

    • Anne Poirier says:

      Hi Kim, thank you for the response. Being curious about what is going on can be a great place to start. And please know that it takes time to cultivate and strengthen the compassionate and kind new neighbors. You can also ask in that kind voice what it is that you really want and need. Maybe a walk, a good conversation, a bath, a hug, a nap, or it may be all of them. Sometimes it is something to eat too. And that is ok…

  2. Janel says:

    Thanks Anne!! Just what I needed to hear today 🙂

  3. Carla Hall says:

    Hadn’t thought about my inner voice being my neighborhood. We sure live in the same place! Makes sense…thank you. What you said is so true. My inner voice can often be my inner mean critic. I’ve named this “little gremlin,” Boots. That was my nickname growing up, when so many of my negative self-thoughts were started. I’ve read that rather than thinking of it as the inner critic, think of it as inner curiosity. That really shifts things for me. Not sure who said it originally, but it’s right on target.

    • Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC says:

      Thank you Carla, I love that way of thinking of it…inner curiosity. Approaching our emotions that way can be helpful too. Nonjudgmental curiosity…mindfulness at its best…

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About the Author

Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC

Former Program Director at Green Mountain | Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy

By sharing experiences and lessons learned through her writing, Anne’s goal is to first, help women finally feel free enough to break away from their dieting chains and learn how to listen and honor their body’s internal cues. Second, to discover and experience more joy in moving their bodies and finally, understand the importance of taking time for themselves. Her philosophy of strengthening the connections among participants’ minds, hearts and bodies fits perfectly with Green Mountain’s philosophy of lasting change through comprehensive, integrative health programming. Anne is the Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy and former Program Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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