The people we are closest to, and spend the most time with, influence who we are; that should come as no surprise. But your friends may have much more of an impact on your health than you realized. If you struggle to lose weight, or want to gain insight into your health, start by taking a look at your closest friends.
We tend to get along best with people that we agree with on things - this includes how much we believe we should exercise, how much and what we should eat, and what a normal body size is. And all of these factors influence how much we weigh.
Recently, researchers looked deeper into the connection between social circles and people's weight. What they found is that your best friend's weight will likely determine whether you will gain or lose weight over the years. Some even say that you will likely weigh within ten pounds of the person you are closest to.
When researchers looked at the long-term data from the Framingham heart study, they found that the strongest patterns of weight gain or weight loss was between friends. In fact, a person's chance of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if that person's close friend became obese.
The good news about these studies is that the influence of your friends' weight is just as strong for losing and keeping it off as it is for gaining it. When one person loses weight, it motivates others around them to lose weight as well. And, having a workout buddy motivates you to continue exercising.
Having friends who are overweight should not be a reason for you to blame them for your own weight gain. Everyone has to take responsibility for the choices they make, and the lifestyle they life. If you and your close friend are both overweight, use it as an opportunity to set goals together that you can both work toward.
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