Why You Should Care if Your Friends Gain Weight

May 27, 2021 | Ownership

Relationships and influences from friends and family can go both ways. You have the friends who are always there for you… and on the flip side you have that flaky friend who’s great when she’s there, but you can’t actually count on her to be there when it matters.

Or maybe you have one sibling who’s a positive influence on you because they’ve got their shit together. And on the flip side you have the one who’s kind of a mess, but is always up for fun shenanigans (but at the expense of your responsibilities).

The fact is, who’s around us matters, and it matters way more than we think it does. And it can influence us in both positive and negative ways that we don’t often realize in the moment.

Blind Leading the Blind

This holds true especially in this time of our lives when we’re figuring out this thing called life. Most of us are relying on a shared experience of going out and hanging out in our 20s, figuring out who we are and what life looks like.

Then once we thought we had the hang of it, suddenly toward the end of our 20s and early 30s people began having babies and things settled down and here we all are again still trying to figure out how to do life. That means what the day to day looks like, what our career/business looks like, what our health looks like and more. It’s all in a constant state of change and we’re in it together figuring it all out.

So it’s the blind leading the blind because we are all trying to figure it out in our respective friend groups, yet each of us thinks that our experience is unique. 

By that I mean when we feel silly not knowing something or asking about something, we think we’re the only ones who don’t know – like it’s a life lesson we missed somewhere so now we feel dumb asking. 

What School Didn’t Teach Us

Except there wasn’t a life lesson we missed – it’s not stuff that’s taught in school. There’s no class that teaches how to be healthy in adulthood and our most useful experience with living a rounded, active life was playing high school sports or maybe in college. But even that is flawed for our experience now because back then life revolved around boys and sports, with school a distant third. 

I’m sure you’ve experienced this elsewhere in life – unprepared by school, to say the least.

Have you seen other moms just ‘get’ something and you felt dumb for not knowing it? Like maybe you didn’t hear the nurse at the hospital when you gave birth; or you missed a home ec lesson on mom-ing?

And it made you feel silly for not knowing something that was never taught… it happens a lot as a woman.

And it’s the same deal with our health – there’s so much we feel silly asking about or talking about, and we were never actually taught, so we end up relying on what those around us do.

Your Social Network

So while we’re all trying to figure out life with careers and relationships and families, we develop certain habits and behaviors and routines. Some are rubbed off from those around us; and some we pass on to those in our circles.

And THAT is why it matters so much who is around you and what they do, and how they live.

Research has shown the impact of our social network on our weight – if you have a friend who is obese, you are 45% more likely to be obese. Even if just a friend of a friend is obese, you’re 25% more likely to be obese.

These shared behaviors and norms reach much further into our own lives than we’d like to admit. 

But this isn’t a PSA to not be friends with someone because of their weight. Over 70% of Americans are overweight and obese, and that stat alone should tell us there’s something cultural about it. Being overweight has become normalized (which comes with both positives and negatives), but then so do those behaviors that lead to overweight and obesity. 

Which is why having a community of people to establish healthier norms and behaviors can be so beneficial when trying to improve your health. 

It rubs off on you without you even having to do anything! (if that’s not a massive win, I don’t know what is – you don’t even have to do anything for it to start being effective!)

Without social support, weight loss and adherence to weight loss programs decreases. But WITH social support, you’ve got a recipe for success.

I recently asked a few of my clients in my group coaching program what makes the group setting so special and here’s some of what they had to say:

“This group opened my eyes to the fact that my struggle to meet my goals was not unique, which in turn made success feel very attainable.”

“The celebration of every little win is so encouraging!”

“It’s easy to tell myself that it’s no big deal to finish a hard workout, but others celebrating it unprompted shot my motivation through the roof.”

“The group is awesome to connect and commiserate.”

“Knowing we aren’t alone in our struggles and our wins.”

“I felt so comfortable sharing concerns, struggles and goals with this group.”

“It felt safe to struggle, achieve, joke and commiserate because I knew everyone else was feeling those emotions throughout the process as well.”

“It’s like being on a team again and having teammates to lean on, motivate each other and pick each other up when needed.” 

“The benefit of the group is that when you’re doing a workout you don’t want to do, you can think of the others doing it so you know you’re not alone.”

“Being able to see if they’re doing it, then what’s my excuse.”

I think they’ve said more than I could ever say! So if you’re looking for support and community like they mentioned, check out the Running with Bacon Online Community (RWBOC) already!

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