Are Eating Habits Contagious?
Could it be that one of the biggest obstacles to weight loss is actually the people around you?
It isn’t a factor we talk about a whole lot, but it just may have more impact on your waistline than you think.
As a matter of fact, research shows that those around us can significantly influence our health behaviors and the way that we eat.
Here is a little more info to get you thinking, and some tips about what you can do to stay on track despite the influence of others…
Our social group may have the biggest influence of all over what we eat. One study found that people are actually 57% more likely to be obese if their friends are obese. If you think about this, it makes a lot of sense. We tend to surround ourselves with those that are similar to us, and we also tend to behave similarly to them in social settings.
What you can do: If you want to get healthy and feel like your friends are not on the same path, try to see if you can bring them along with you. Suggest healthy restaurants or potluck get-togethers, become fitness buddies, and plan activities together than aren’t food-centric. Also, be sure to let them in on your specific goals. It will be easier for them to support you, and they just might get inspired as well.
The same study cited above found that those who have an overweight spouse are 37% more likely to be obese if their spouse is obese. This can be a tricky situation. I know that when I was at my heaviest, it had a lot to do with being in a relationship in which I essentially took on the same eating habits as my partner (lots of pasta and pancakes, very few fruits and vegetables). Understandably, when you live with someone it is a lot more difficult to avoid junk food if that is what they enjoy.
What you can do: The best thing you can do is to talk about it. See if you can become a team and try to incorporate healthy changes together. Try taking some of you’re favorite recipes and giving them a healthy makeover, and agree to keep temptation out of your cupboards. If your partner isn’t on board, don’t criticize, just stick to your game plan and let it be. Who knows, maybe your success and enthusiasm will win them over.
We all try to practice what we preach and stay pretty healthy in this office, with one little exception…cookies. There is a restaurant very nearby that makes spectacular oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. These things are magical and usually arrive still warm from the oven. If someone goes anywhere near the restaurant, chances are that a cookie or two (or three) will come back with them. Many an afternoon have I thought I should say “no,” but ended up indulging instead.
What you can do: Whether it is bagels, doughnuts, lunch meetings, or cookies, just be aware that these over eating temptations come up often in the workplace, and do your best to prepare. Eat breakfast before you go to work, pack your own lunch, and be sure to have healthy snacks on hand so that it is easier to avoid these diet pitfalls. Also, never be afraid to politely decline, it may be difficult sometimes, but you will always feel better for it later.
Oh, and of course you can drink your Wu-Long Tea to help fight off cravings.
Thanks for some very good reminders. Today is fresh-from-the-farm blueberries pick-up day. Good habit to go with salad-a-day, 2-mile walks, tea–yes, tea, fresh fish, body weight exercises, etc…but the mochas, maple bars and occasional Main Street Cookie Co. chocolate chip specials still occur. Ah, the struggle for balance continues!
We all have the struggle for balance (darn those cookies), but it sounds like you are on a pretty great path.
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