Did you know that obesity is socially contagious? According to a Framingham Heart Study and many others, participants that had a friend that became obese increased the chances of the participant to also become obese by 57%. Though the causes aren’t fully understood it is though that it has to do with the influence of a community and what it perceived as acceptable. Be it bad eating habits, little exercise, or just being okay to gain weight.
An active social life is part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle but your friends could very well have a negative impact on your weight. By no means are we saying to drop your friends but instead set a healthy example. Below are just a few ways that your friends may be impacting your weight:
Big groups = big appetites
People who eat with others eat 44% more food on average compared to solo dining. Two people was 33% larger, three people 47% bigger, and it just increases as the more people are in attendance.
Thin friend, not so thin problem
Some people just have a high metabolic rate and can seemingly eat whatever they want while maintaining a thin figure. In a study it was found that when eating with a thinner friend they tended to overeat when their friend did but conversely exercised more control when the overeating was don’t by a heavier friend.
The couple that eats together
A study done analyzed the impact of friends, siblings, and spouses and their impact on eating habits over the course of 10 years. It was found that couples had the biggest influences on each other’s eating habits with alcohol consumption and snacking being impacted the most. On the flip side this halo effect also works for healthy habits.
When dining out with friends be careful as it seems that groups tend to order similarly, especially if you have to order aloud according to a University of Illinois study. This is attributed to people being happier making similar choices to their friends. To stick to your healthy diet, stick to your decision and try to order first.
Alcohol and Late Nights
If you notice all your activities involve alcohol this can take a serious toll on your waistline as well as your sleep. The alcohol will add empty calories and poor sleep habits lead to more belly fat. Furthermore, research has found that if you don’t get enough sleep you are more likely to crave unhealthy foods the following day.
Friends can have various impacts on your eating habits and activity levels. Be it little to no exercise, bad eating habits, being heavier than you, resentful of your weight or success in dieting, not being supportive, or simply just pressuring you to have a dessert or skip a workout. Their habits, presence, and even words can lead you to making poor eating habits and skip exercise.
Just like your parents warned you about, you have to be careful about who you surround yourself with as they can have a deep impact on you, and in this case, your waistline.
For more ways your friends might be making you fat, click here.