Last Updated on April 13, 2017 by Marie Bautista
Has this ever happened to you when you are out with a friend dining out?
You are trying to eat healthy the whole week and are quite proud of yourself. The menu is screaming for you to get the carbonara, but you tell yourself, “I really shouldn’t.”Then your friend says to the waiter, “I want the carbonara.”“Make mine carbonara, too.” You hear yourself say.
IKR. This must have happened to me a lot of times. Our friends tend to have a big influence on our health decisions. I actually read somewhere that the way your friends shape your health behavior is part of a scientific research!
Here is how our friends may be making us fat:
The Ripple effect
I was not planning on having my flu shot a couple of days ago, until I found out my friend is having hers. That was when I decided (in just a couple of minutes because my friend was on her way to the clinic) that I needed one, too.
The way our friends eat and work out is contagious, and unconsciously, we tend to look to our friends for our eating and exercise habits, too.
Take for instance when you hated yourself for finally getting that carbonara and promising yourself you won’t get any desserts. Until your friend starts ordering the apple pie ala mode, that is, then you finally decide you need to have one, too.
And that’s not just it. We tend to have the feeling that you need to have what your friend is having.
We have friends who are “food friends.” They are friends whom we can call and say, “My day is miserable. Let’s have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.”
One of the many reasons why we tend to give up our resolves may have a scientific explanation. When we get swayed by our friends’ decisions, studies say that the area of our brain making conscious decision is not activated. Instead, this part of our brain where vision originates named the occipital lobe is activated.
What does this mean? We tend to disregard what is right and healthy (by not ordering dessert) and concentrate on what we see other people doing (biting on that delicious apple pie ala mode).
Eating what your friend is eating may not be entirely bad.
Consider this: if your friend is eating her salad, you are more likely to order salad, too, instead of that apple pie you are craving.
This means that as much as your bad health decisions may be influenced by your friends, your friends’ good health decisions may also rub off on you.
And once you see your friend watching what she eats and making time for workout, you may decide to do the same things, too. And as long as you don’t sabotage your friend into ordering those burgers just this once or not going to the gym just today, you (and your friend) are on your way to slim.
Set Your Own goals
Hanging out with friends who make healthy decisions may be good for your waistline, but what will you do when you get a new job or move to a new city and you start to have a new set of friends who have un-heathy habits?
You don’t need to get some new jeans for yourself.
Set your own goals and be strong in your resolve to eat only healthy food.
Being conscious of your friends’ food influence on you is important. Once you realize you are being swayed into your friends’ un-healthy eating, you stop yourself. Be aware and commit to a healthy meal. Try ordering your meal first. That way, you can choose the healthiest meal and won’t be tempted with the meal your friend is having.