Who and what we surround ourselves with shapes our life. A study showed you had a 171% greater chance gaining weight if your friends were fat. This may be partly because of social norms (there is less social pressure to lose weight if people around you are heavy), because of lifestyle (we might adopt the habits from our friends that lead us to gain weight too) and perhaps because your microbiome becomes similar if you hang around someone a lot, and microbiomes have been shown to correlate with weight.
Moods are contagious too. Have you ever found that when you are around negative or gossipy people you become that way too – you don’t even see it at first, but one day you hear yourself and you realize you’ve changed?
When I asked a masseur what I could do for my chronic low back pain, he said, “Stop doing things that hurt it”. The answer was so obvious, I laughed out loud – he was right: I pick up heavy boxes when I volunteer every Thursday night, and the stationary bike I use several times a week exacerbates the pain too.
The message is clear: Want a healthier, more active life? Choose friends who exercise and eat at healthy restaurants. Want to feel better about yourself? Avoid those people who bring you down. Want to read more? Join a booklovers MeetUp.
Your mother was right: the people you hang around are important.