Whose Fault Is Being fat?

Is it the bad influencers? Or are you just a weak person looking to point the finger?

In a recent post I asked “Is Being Fat Contagious?”

One recent study that’s gotten lots of publicity says, yep.

“Obesity spread like a virus. Weight gain had a stunning infection rate. If one person became obese, the likelihood that his friend would follow suit increased by 171 percent.” More here.

Not everyone gets fat being around fat friends. Reader Robin writes how the habits of her friends did NOT rub off on her,

“I have many friends that have battled weight – I stayed slim, they drank alcohol, I didn’t…” See comments here.

It’s the low quality food that made them fat, says Robin.

True. Fast food and other low quality foods makes people fat.

And. It this is also true: We are social creatures easily influenced by others. There are both bad and good influencers are out there.

Three years ago, my then 29-year-old nephew, AH, came to live with me for 5 months. For the first time in his life, he ate healthy 3 times per day. (All real (ER) foods.)

AH, 5’10”, weighed 310 when he came in June. He dropped 45 pounds by that Thanksgiving. He looked fabulous and his energy came back. In December, his old girlfriend came to live with him. She was a junk food and carb addict and proud of it (she was 19, and already had various ailments.)

They moved in together down the block. In 6 months, AH had gained back the 45 lbs and 15 more.

16 months later. AH is now in CA, with a new girlfriend. They both wanted to lose weight, so together, about 9 months ago, they went on low carb regime. AH has now lost 75 lbs. She’s lost about 35.

Moral. With respect to behaviors that matter to you, from eating to advertising to the treatment of other people, unless you are on a clear mission with clear values, and with good support from a few friends, you’ll be easily influenced by others. I mean others who DO have a clear mission or set of values. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes it is a bad thing.

So in an area of life where you are weak and want to improve, find someone whose values you agree with and hang out (online or off) with such a person as much as possible. So it rubs off.

And above all, TEST and experience the new behaviors so you can see for yourself if they agree with you and make you feel like a better person.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Thank you so much for posting this. As a trainer I see when 2 people do a diet together or have someone on to support them, they do much better.

    Im glad for the "healthy food stores" like Whole foods for helping to offer a better variety of choices that help people to improve thier eating habits.

    Its hard to change just like anything in life but if you have the right tools (foods) it makes it easier to succeed.

    If we can show the public "fast healthy" food options and combat the "fast food" syndrom, we can help fight obesity.

  • Hi Kim – let me explain a bit about my first comment. I do not feel that obesity is caused by the people we spend time with at a higher rate than the food we eat. The study was tracked from 1948 to 1985 – think about how food changed during that time frame and it gets more “junky” every year. The study was about how people gained weight not about how they lost it.

    I don’t think we need to be as concerned about “whose fault is it” as we need to learn how to gain our health and lose the weight.

    I do agree 100% that you will lose more weight and keep it off with a good support group. Most people are not going to change friends because their current friends are over weight so it does make sense to use a support group of folks who are losing weight, if that is your goal.

    I know I had several folks within the group that really helped me when during the ER detox. I had a very hard time when I quit smoking but with the support of the group I won and gained that huge side benefit.


  • Robin – Yep I agree with both points of view…friends help (and hinder) and the quality of food has sunk so low now that we have to scavenge for real, clean non-processed non-toxic foods. And the more our friends eat badly the more folks with no clear picture or mission on their eating values will just fall in – and regret.



    Thanks, and yes right on.

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