Some interesting studies have been released lately about how integrative those gal-pal relationships are and how they effect our size and ultimately our health.
Studies out of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) confirm that common lifestyle, body weight and body-mass-index are consistent in groups of girlfriends. Healthy friends tend to stick together and support one another’s healthy lifestyle choices through exercise, better food choices, and even their optimistic outlook. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Harvard University published studies back in 2007 confirming that obesity spreads among friends, and that your chances of becoming obese or gaining weight is in large part dependent on who you’re hanging out with. Arizona State University recently went further with Harvard’s study and published more findings, investigating three different pathways towards behavior that might attempt to explain this phenomenon.
They found the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” behavior to be the strongest; people don’t necessarily think about body weight when they make decisions based on what their group of friends is doing. It seems to be very much a pack mentality when it comes to food, which is why you often see people of the same size together.
You’ve seen that in action. Your friend says, “Forget the diet, I’m diving in for the ribs and chocolate cake.” You’re pulled. She’s doing it, why can’t you? You want to have fun too. You find yourself eating more and more, having fun, and 20 pounds later, wondering what happened.
The MIT study shows that the opposite can be true. Your girlfriends can support you and lift you up. Use the power of the “Monkey See” mentality to make a date with your girlfriends: go for a power walk, check out the local vegetarian restaurant, meet at yoga or Zumba, and try not to make it all about the food.
You need those girlfriends and they need you. Realize the importance of each other’s lifestyles and work towards healthier foods and activities for yourself, and all your girlfriends.