I was reading an article that stated that you are more likely to put on weight if the people you hang with are obese. How is this? Psychologist Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, points out three main reasons why people put on weight if their friends are heavier:
1. People gauge what is normal by looking at others in their social circle. If they gain a few pounds, they don't worry about it because they feel they fit in with their peers.
2. People eat with others in their social circle and are influenced by their friends' eating behavior.
3. People's choices of recreational activities are influenced by other people in their social circle. If you and your friends get together to take walks, hikes, and bike rides, you'll probably be thinner than if you and your friends primarily get together for lunch, dinner, or drinks.
Here's how to avoid contributing to the growing obesity rate—especially with the holidays right around the corner:
• Eat early, eat often. While you may be tempted to save all of your calories for a holiday food bender, you'll actually feel like eating less during a holiday meal if you eat something full of fiber, such as oatmeal, for breakfast, along with other healthy snacks like walnuts throughout the day. If you can, start your holiday morning off right with a walk, jog, or bike ride.
• Focus on people, not pie. At a holiday function, make your first order of business catching up with friends and family without carting around a plate of chips and dip. Interesting conversations could prove to be more fulfilling than junk food, says Rossman.
Once hunger does strike and you're tempted to load up on sweets, focus on your gut to determine if you're really hungry. Before filling up a plate, take a short walk or find someone interesting and strike up a conversation, Rossman suggests.
• Plan an active activity. If you can, start your holiday morning off right with a walk, jog, or bike ride. You could even start a family or friendship tradition: Plan a nature outing, a walk, or a sledding, skating, skiing, hiking, or caroling holiday event to get moving.
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