Did you know that obesity is contagious? And I do not mean like germs or a virus, but socially contagious. Didn’t you ever hear the saying that birds of a feather flock together? People that are similar stick together. Well, this holds true when it comes to fitness and health. Repeatedly, research is showing that your friends and family can be influencing your waistline. So are you surrounding yourself with the best influences? Don’t worry, you do not have to ditch all your non-fit friends, but you should be aware of why obesity is contagious.
1. Bad Influence
If your friends continually blow off the gym for happy hour and convince you to miss your workouts for social events, they are being a bad influence. But don’t worry, you do not need to get a whole new set of friends just yet. Share your fitness and health goals and make them a part of this so they do not feel left out. Since obesity is contagious, if you practice this you can make fitness contagious instead!
2. Friends Share Similar Eating Patterns
Did you ever notice that you order the same appetizer as your bestie? Or maybe you both have the same food quirks? That is because friends share similar eating patterns. This is a good thing if you all order salad when you go out on the town and a bad thing if you can name 15 of your favorite burger styles. So try new, healthier meals or better yet, prepare them at home so you can control the ingredients and fat content!
3. Friends Share Similar Habits
Your weekly Thursday night outing ends with several drinks and a late night to bed. It is tough to miss a scheduled girls’ night out with your friends without upsetting them. This is especially the case if it is to get to bed early for an early morning workout the next day. So how do you combat your weekly routine with the girls without ditching your friends? Explain your goals to your friends and suggest trying something different like bowling, indoor rock climbing or roller skating. You can still have a blast without packing on pounds.
4. Peer Pressure
So you and your best friend go for a dinner to catch up, and when the dessert menu comes and you wish to pass, she gives you the look that shows you she has only chocolate cake on her mind. You fall to the pressure and order a dessert to share, but then you feel guilty the rest of the night. This peer pressure is common amongst friends so you need to get on the same page and choose a healthier version of the indulgent dessert for future outings!
5. Exercise Alike
Look around at your circle of friends and compare your fitness levels. They are probably similar. That is because most friends exercise alike. You can find serious runners that are friends with other committed runners; the same goes for other sports. So make some fit friends at racing events and invite your friends to join in. Set a fit circle so you can motivate one another!
6. Learning Acceptable Body Size
If you can share your skinny jeans with your friends and trade tops, you are not alone. Studies show that people of similar body shape hang out together. This not always true, but it is in most cases, because people learn acceptable body size from whom they surround themselves with. If all your friends are overweight by 20 pounds, all of a sudden it is accepted. So set up a weight loss competition with your friends so that you can all better your health together!
7. Attitude is Everything
If you spend every opportunity to relax with your friends and de-stress, you may notice food becomes a large player in this session. And your approach to adversity becomes surrounded by food, rather than addressing the problem. Your attitude and approach to life is everything, so get positively healthy and spread the message to your friends!
So now that you know how birds of a feather flock together, are you ready to change your life with your friends? Become a leader and spread the message of health and fitness to your friends so you can all make the most out of your life together!