Is eating with your friends bad for your diet?
I think we all have one of these friends: she’s thin and fit, yet when we go out to eat she packs away more food than a linebacker. Burger, fries and a shake? No problem. I’m often tempted to keep up: if she can eat it and look that good, I can too, right? (Look better in 4 weeks with our super-easy plan to slim down. )
Not so fast, I tell myself, remembering what I read in our latest issue of EatingWell Magazine . A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that female college students who watched a film alongside a researcher who was thin ended up eating almost twice as much as when they ate alongside the same researcher wearing a fat suit to make her look obese. (Find 3 foods to eat when you overeat here. )
There are several reasons why I may not be able to keep up with my friend and expect the same results, according to the researcher, Brent McFerran, Ph.D.: metabolism, body size, genetics, activity level, age and gender all affect how much one can consume without gaining weight. (Get three simple tricks to outsmart your metabolism here. ) Those factors aside, consider that my friend maybe didn’t eat a large breakfast or for her this big meal is a rare treat. (Discover 5 "bad" foods you should be eating. )
So instead of telling the waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having,” I’m going to remember to keep my eyes on my own plate, and order a meal that’s healthy for me. Or better yet, I’ll invite my favorite friends over for dinner and cook them a delicious, healthy meal we can all enjoy. (Get some easy dinner recipes ready in 30 minutes here. )
Do you think your friends affect the way you eat? Tell us what you think below.
Michelle Edelbaum , Diet Blog , Diet , Weight loss
Michelle is the digital director for EatingWell. She puts her background in journalism to work at EatingWell.com to help deliver daily inspiration for eating healthy.
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