by A. Grano on January 1st, 2011 at 10:02 pm
Think of your last late night out with friends… did you consume a few too many drinks, then order a plate full of greasy bar food? Was it the extra alcohol that impaired judgment on that mammoth plate of cheesy fries, or the comfort of your friends noshing away along with you?
Or remember the time you got home late from work, stressed and too tired to cook? Ordering Chinese takeout, spooning out the last of the ice cream in the freezer for dessert, and zoning out in front of the TV with your significant other seemed like a great idea at the time… until the next time on the scale.
Breaking the Bonds of Food
What seems to be the trend here? Unhealthy eating… or our meal-side partners in crime? There’s been a bevy of research surrounding eating habits around our friends, partners, and family members, with studies suggesting that our food habits are directly correlated to the company we keep.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited that overweight children who eat with their obese friends consumed more than they would with unfamiliar faces. Another study from the New England Journal of Medicine further concurs with this theory. However, the co-author, a doctor from the Harvard Medical School, notes that it is not so much that the trend of unhealthy eating is contagious, but rather people tend to associate with other like-minded people.
The other extreme of unhealthy eating can be true as well, where people (typically women) congregate together and perform binge and purge rituals, or strive to attain the “thinnest” status among their friends – regardless of the methods or consequences of reaching and maintaining a certain size, from eating disorders, dangerous diet pills, or excessive exercise.
Healthy & Happy Together
So what is the answer- eat in solitude forever? Of course not! Depending on the company you keep, it’s important to always find balance, and be the one in your group of friends or family who strives to help everyone eat healthy and follow a balanced lifestyle, factoring in not only diet but exercise, sleep, and stress management.
In addition, find other ways to spend quality time with your friends and family, away from the dinner table, bar, or birthday cake. Engaging in activities is often more memorable than simply sharing another ho-hum meal.
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More Tips on Healthy Eating Habits
- Be aware of food choices. If you’ll be attending an event or celebrating a special occasion where you know temptation will lurk, plan ahead by eating a light, healthy lunch and splurge a little bit on dinner. Exercise an extra half hour the day before and after the event. Find joy in moderation, not overindulgence.
- Detox. Regardless of your current body shape, modern lifestyles fill our bodies with toxins. Regular cleansing will help you feel more refreshed and motivated to maintain healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
- Don’t give in to peer pressure. Often, someone we know may get on a junk food kick or conversely, the fitness craze bandwagon, and encourage you to join in, too. Know your personal limits and stay within them. Over-exertion can be just as harmful for your body as over-indulgence.
- Consider natural remedies to help cut cravings. Breaking bad eating habits can be very difficult, especially when ritualistic foods habits like dinners in front of the TV or cookies after school are a part of your family’s routine. However, it does become easier with time, so don’t give up!