Even though it is something most of us have heard before, it makes more sense than any other piece of dieting advice out there. By hanging out with trimmer friends, and mimicking their eating patterns, or at least their portions can definitely help.
New research from University of Birmingham suggests that we’re all subconsciously influenced by the eating patterns of others. If you spend a lot of time eating with a person who skips dessert and appetizers, odds are you will, too.
It’s not reasonable to eat every meal, every day with your tiniest friend, but maybe go out to lunch with her, and ask her what she eats the rest of the day. Also, dining with people who are smaller than you, or asking them what they eat, is an eye-opening experience. When we think of “naturally” skinny people who can eat whatever they want all day and not gain a pound because they have a quick metabolism, it’s upsetting. But that’s rarely the case. Naturally thin people may eat a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, but most likely, they didn’t finish their fries and they’ll eat something really light for dinner.
I’ll use my love Robert as an example. He is skinny and doesn’t even think twice about it. After spending over a year with him and eating almost every meal together I noticed the following:
- He doesn’t eat fried foods;
- Doesn’t like mayo in anything;
- Rarely eats pasta or rice;
- Doesn’t even think about putting extra cheese on anything;
- Doesn’t eat sweets, like at all;
- If he eats anything sweet its only dark chocolate; and,
- He doesn’t overfill his plate and when I ask if he wants seconds he usually says something like maybe latter or suggest we do whatever it was we talked about doing first and then if we were still hungry we can eat after.
So why didn’t he rub off on me?
A New England Journal of Medicine study declared that people can actually ”catch” obesity from close friends. When researchers followed 12,067 people over 32 years, they concluded that those of us with very close friends who are obese have a 171% higher chance of becoming obese too. The theory goes: you’re influenced by your friends, and if they overeat, you may unwittingly follow their lead. Surprisingly, spouses have less influence on your weight than close friends of the same sex. The good news is that it may also work in reverse.
I’m not suggesting you not hang out with all your less-than-slim friends anymore but research has shown that the body type of the average person you hang out with affects your weight and size.