Are Your Friends Stimulating You Fat?
Picture this: Your partner has had a tough day at work, comes home and heads straight for the pantry, pulls out a container of chips and crunches while unloading about all the annoyances of the day. Afterwards, its ice cream on the lounge while watching TV.
What are you doing during all of this? You may have believed, “Hey, I had a tough day, too, gimme a handful. Or perhaps, sensing just how sad and disappointed your partner is, you, too, start feeling down, so you grab a spoonful and commiserate over the vanilla chip.
If you find that you overeat when youre emotionally overwhelmed, you may merely be a “food empath, ” Judith Orloff, MD, writer of the new book “The Empaths Survival Guide, ” told Fox News. These types of people assimilate stressful energy from the world into their own bodies and then overeat as a result, she explained. You reach for food when youre stressed out about anything.
And yes, loved ones can be a source of that stress. And yes, their anxious positions can be, too. Being a food empath is contagious, Orloff said. The effect is often surprising. These feelings and your knee-jerk reaction to them can be an unconscious habit.
Because the pull to eat in the face of this type of energy is so strong, Orloff recommended putting physical distance between you and the person whos stressed. In other words, take several steps back, which will minimize their influence over you. Instantly focus on exhaling slowly and deeply. This releases any tension you may have picked up, she said.
Reducing the added sugar in your diet is another strategy that lets you preserve even blood sugar levels so youre less prone to swingings in mood. Feeing multiple small protein-rich dinners throughout the day will also help, Orloff said.
Finally, theres the issue of adopting a friend or family members unhealthy habits and what thats doing to your waistline. If your friends are prone to skipping workouts over Netflix binges with junk food, youre more likely to do to the same, Tamara Melton, MD, RDN, director of LaCarte Wellness in Atlanta, told Fox News. Peer pressure is very real when it comes to healthy eating, and surrounding yourself with people who have healthy habits will help you stick with yours.
Its all about building on behaviours both good and bad. One survey found that obesity spreads among social networks, but the researchers found that you can use that contagion to force-out healthy habits to catch like wildfire through a group. Indeed, people who are at a healthy weight seek out healthy foods and ways to be active, and their lifestyle and therefore the people they hand out with support their healthy weight, Melton said.
So the power is yours: When a friend asks what you want to do, tell them to grab their sneakers for a hike. When youre in charge of bringing lunch, take along a veggie-packed grain salad with fruit. Its the little steps that add up. And when theyre in full freak-out mode, maybe urge them to burn off the nervous energy with a walk around the neighborhood with you rather than heading for the fridge.
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