Are your Friends Sabotaging your health goals?
by Josh Gray
Last week I discussed how our identity needs to match our goals, or at least the person we are trying to become, if we want to change to stick. Continuing with the theme of identity, I will discuss how our peer group/families affect our identity, which in turn will decide what habits we develop.
Believe it or not we identify with the groups we belong to in some form or fashion. For example, athletes will normally hang out with other athletes (if they want to be successful) and musicians will hang around other musicians, etc. This is because they all have something in common, whether that is talents or goals.
The same thing can be said of physical health. A person's body composition or diet/exercise habits will typically be similar to those in their inner circle. We've all heard the saying "we are the average of the people we are around the most" and when it applies to health, research backs this up. A person whose peer group is mostly overweight/obese will have a 57% higher chance of being overweight/obese.
So how is this possible?
Well in order to be a part of a specific peer group, you have to do the activities that the group deem fun or enjoyable. The activities a group of overweight/obese or unhealthy friends would engage in would all center around food, such as:
-going out to eat
-going to the bar for drinks (while also eating unhealthy bar food)
-binge watching shows while drinking and eating
In order to be accepted and remain a part of a peer group, you must participate in those activities otherwise you will receive less invitations and eventually become an outcast.
So, am I saying to drop all of your fiends if they don't want to adopt healthier habits?
No, I am not, but you may want to reduce the amount of time you spend engaging in some of the unhealthy behaviors that are keeping you from reaching your goals. Also, it wouldn't hurt to find a few people who either have similar goals or that are a few steps ahead of you to help keep you accountable.