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.