The epidemic of excess weight can be caused not only by advertising, discounts, large packages of food and watching TV in the evening. It turns out that our weight is greatly determined by the environment that affects us even if we do not notice it.
The rate of product consumption
British scientists are known to pay much attention to the psychology of human behavior. A recent study, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, will be of interest for everyone, who would like to look like a “woman on the cover” rather than a “plus-size woman”.
Specialists from the University of Liverpool examined eight studies related to the nutritional problem in society. Eric Robinson and his colleagues analyzed how the data on the norms of product consumption (including the size of a serving) can influence food choices.
According to Mr. Robinson, studies have shown that food consumer behavior can be influenced by society. We choose the same products in the same amounts as the surrounding people.
Who is to blame?
As you know, over the past decades the serving size in catering establishments has got two or even three times bigger. We blame fast food restaurants and too sweet cakes, Christmas holidays and all inclusive system, which does not help control the consumption of products and allegedly contributes to weight gain. Unfortunately, we are responsible for the situation – no one forces us to eat in restaurants and buy these cakes, enjoy Christmas feasts unrestrainedly and eat huge servings at the Swedish buffet. However, not only we are guilty, but our surroundings as well. British scientists have confirmed that our eating behavior is very strongly influenced by the surrounding people – relatives, friends and colleagues. In other words, those with whom we sit at the same table.
Tell me who your friends are and I will say what your weight is
Research has proven that the surrounding people not only affect what we eat, but also determine the size of our portions, as well as the periods of snacking and their number, the amount and type of consumed alcohol, etc. How does this happen?
If a person with whom you communicate and eat carefully controls what he/she eats and avoids harmful dishes, you will subconsciously or consciously do the same thing. And even if you are not keeping to a diet like your friend or colleague, you can still choose foods with fewer calories, eat less, think and talk about food less often. It happens out of a sense of solidarity: you cannot talk with a dieting person about new cakes, which have appeared in a candy store around the corner. You prefer to abstain and support the idea that apples are useful and accept the invitation to eat one of them.
On the other hand, if your nearest people restrain their eating habits, constantly eat potato chips, wafers, crackers and rustle with candy wrappers, you gradually get used to this state of affairs. You may even think you are too far from their way of thinking and living.
The traditions in your workplace also matter. If your colleagues constantly bring homemade cakes and cookies, you cannot constantly refuse their offers referring to your diet. You may find it indecent – you are part of the team, after all. So you gradually get used to patties and cookies, you even feel sad if one day no one brings anything sweet to please the colleagues. The fact is that a person gets used to everything. And if the surrounding people eat a lot, you are also involved in this holiday – even if you eat less than others. Everything is relative.
It is curious that dietary habits work even if a person eats alone. Habits become one’s second nature. Nutritional habits in particular…
How to maintain a healthy weight?
- What should you do in this situation?
- Protect yourself from harmful products at home. Just do not buy them.
- If you find yourself in a place where people eat a lot, just select a couple of dishes for yourself and eat them; do not pay attention to other dishes.
- Do not eat up only out of politeness – this courtesy “extends” your stomach and spoils the figure.
- Do not be tempted by the charms of food, even if you heard the refrigerator door slam at midnight. Drink water and go to bed!
- You are free to be the leader of your environment. Declare to everyone that you eat right, abandon chips and chocolate bars, take only soup and salad for lunch, and people will follow you.