We call this “social support” — and it makes all the difference in the world.
Who you have in your social circle — and what they do, and how they think — will have an almost magnetic pull on who you are. In fact, there is interesting new research showing that obesity spreads almost like an epidemic. The people in your life will forever be pulling you, even unconsciously, toward being just like them. As research has clearly shown, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
That’s all well and good, except when it comes time to change, because as you change those same people will be pulling you back to the way you were — usually not intentionally or maliciously, just . . . just because. They can’t help it.
When it comes to fitness and fat loss, the same applies. Now this doesn’t mean you need to scrap your friends and family and beg the local yoga teacher to adopt you. It just means that as you start to get in shape, you better get some other like-minded people in your life, or you’ll soon be putting the pounds back on faster than you lost them in the first place. I’ve seen it time and time again.
That’s why I encourage individuals to join a gym, attend fitness classes, get involved with a local sport team, or join the lifestyle management courses I teach: you can interact daily with people who are just like you, chasing the same goals as you. No matter where you are in the world, no matter where you’re starting, you will find people in the group just like you who get where you’re coming from. That reassurance, and even the mere realization that you aren’t alone in this, exerts a new sort of magnetic pull — this time, though, toward the life you want and not the one you’re leaving behind.
So take the opportunity to join groups or befriend new people who are doing what you want to do: maybe yoga or spin class, a friendly team sport league, even reconnect with a fit friend you maybe haven’t talked to in a while. Anything. Because if you don’t, beware the subtle but powerful pull back to where you were.