A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that our friends can make us fat, even when the friendship is a long-distance one. But wait! If I’m overweight, am I making my friend fat? Or is my overweight friend making me fat?
I can’t answer that question, but I can tell you that the research is right! Here’s what I mean.
My niece lost 80 pounds shortly after the birth of her second child. At the time, she had a 4 year-old and a full-time job as a data manager at a big corporation. Even as a child, she had been overweight. When I learned in amazement that she had become trim and fit, I realized I could do it as well.
Once I made changes in my lifestyle and lost 62 pounds, my family and friends started making changes as well. I don’t take credit for their decision or their resulting weight losses. I just marvel at the chain of events.
My brother has lost about 30 pounds, my son-in-law about 60. My
stepson has lost about 45 pounds. My son in
The most accurate statement I can make is, perhaps my example became a catalyst for family and friends to examine and change their lifestyle, just as my niece’s example was for me.
The implications of the research are stunning. Each of us needs to understand the impact we have on each other, whether we are a parent, friend, grandparent, son, or daughter.
Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a role model for everyone around us. On the flip side, we can look to others to be positive role models for us, too.
When you think about it, this research isn’t so startling. We humans are, after all, social creatures. When my friend yawns, I yawn. When the grocery clerk smiles, I smile back.
One thing the research makes clear, though, is that we’re all in this together.
We have a choice. We can be negative role models. But as you can see from the weight loss among my family members and friends, when it comes to eating and fitness, we can just as easily be positive examples.
We must make our choices knowing that our decisions help shape
not only our own bodies but those of our family and friends.