Is your social circle affecting your weight?

friend circle

friend circleThink about who the top 10 most influential people are in your life. This isn’t a list of celebrities or people you admire – these are the people who affect your everyday life on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Friends, your partner, family members, your sports coach…

Your circle of influence can have a massive effect on your goals and whether you achieve them or not. If you’re trying to lose weight, get fitter, or improve your health, are all these people in your social circle helping you to achieve your goal – or at least, not setting you back?

How much does your circle of influence affect your health?
Think about the following:

  • Does someone else cook for you?
  • Do you have a gym or exercise partner?
  • Do your friends suggest fast food restaurants when they know you’re trying to be good with your eating habits?
  • Do your friends have the same health and fitness values you have?
  • Does your partner bring fast food into the house and eat it in front of you?
  • If your family offers you seconds/thirds at the dinner table, do you feel obligated to eat more?
  • Is someone in your circle of influence criticising your health and fitness routine to the point where you feel like giving up?

Now, obviously we aren’t saying get rid of anyone in your social circle who goes against the grain of your goals. However, The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that suggests ‘obesity is contagious‘. Their findings suggested that if you have a friend who is obese, you are 57% more likely to also become obese (and overweight family members may also affect your weight).

How to ask them for help
If you know someone in your social circle is pulling you further away from your goals, sit them down and have a chat. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help them adjust to your new lifestyle plan. How do they feel about what you’re doing? Are they supportive of it? Is there anything they don’t like about it?

Explain to them that what you’re doing means a lot to you (as does their support). If they’re making things difficult for you, it’s important to bring it up.

Don’t forget that it can also work the other way. If you’re healthy, fit and eating well, you have the power to pass on your healthy traits to those in your circle of influence!

At the end of the day, it does come down to it being your body, your decisions. But self control can be difficult to master if other people are steering you off track – whether they mean to or not.

Image / Flickr – Ashley Webb

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