Must-Read: Friends Destroy Your Diets
There’s a weird macho culture that a lot of us grew up with that is tough to step away from. Even recently, when we back home to our, let’s say, not exactly forward-thinking hometown for the holidays, we tried to keep from being disgusting slobs by watching what we ate. And so, when the time came to order a side for some bar food, we decided on a salad. And so, of course, we were ridiculed for “being a wuss” when we should be really ordering some kind of unhealthy disgusting food like french fries or tator tots.
See, that’s what happens in social circles. If people think that you’re trying to be better than them — or just ACTUALLY being better than them — they will try to shame you to come back down to their level. And that is terrible. So today we’re heading on over to Men’s Health where they have a bit of a lesson on what to do if your friends are sabotaging your diet:
It’s as simple as not wanting to stray too far from the social norms of the group. “Generally, we’re happier doing what our friends are doing,” says study author Brenna Ellison, Ph.D. So if your friend orders an extra scoop of ice cream, emotionally you’ll feel better if you do the same.
This social influence holds true even when you eat alone, according to a separate review in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you’re aware that others are eating large portions or higher-calorie foods, it increases the odds that you’ll make similar choices. The good news is it can work both ways: If your friend orders a salad, it might encourage you to order something similar.
Head on over to see what you can now do with that information.
About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.