Your Friends May be Making You Fat

As with many habits, be they good or bad, health appears to be closely tied to social rituals and the behavior of those in one’s social circles. Consider smoking: how many times a day do I hear “I only smoke when I’m out drinking” or ” . . . only with my friends”, etc. Friends are good and all, but not worth smoking for.

So, why are friends so influential on our weight? According to this NPR bit, the people we hang out with do indeed influence our lifestyle to a significant degree.

I’m sure I’d have a hard time getting in shape if I hung out with nearly anyone on a regular basis. Think about it: every social function is based on food. I probably would feel far too awkward carrying my plastic containers of chicken and sweet potatoes that I diligently prepared at the beginning of the week while my friends indulged in burgers and fries. There are minimal, if any, healthy food options when you eat out. Yeah yeah yeah, so and so has a salad with low-fat dressing – too bad you could make that salad (and even a better salad) at home for 1/10 the cost. Plus, restaurants are in the business to make money – they will be taking shortcuts, which means they will use the cheaper, fattier ingredients to cut costs.

I have a patient, a woman in her 50’s who is morbidly obese, has Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and all the other metabolic syndrome and cardiac risk factors typically associated with it. Every time I see her, we discuss her weight, and she renews her vows to make a change before the next time we meet. She confided in me once that she was once able to drop 15-20 pounds, but when she did so, her “friends” distanced themselves from her, making snide comments and frowning upon her success because they were never able to achieve the same. She regained that weight and hasn’t made any progress since.

I can absolutely see the findings from this article taking place on a daily basis. Sometimes we all need blinders and need to be selfish for once; you have to take charge, because no one else genuinely cares about your fitness.

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One Response to “Your Friends May be Making You Fat”

  1. Cant agree more. Friends are great but people give into peer pressure and not even know it! Even adults!

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