How the People Around You can Influence your Health


How many times have you said to yourself; ‘I am going to start eating better and not eat sweet foods after dinner’ I’ve said that exact quote to myself countless times. Then you get home after a long day, eat your dinner and meander off to the couch to watch your favourite TV show. You’re proud that you have used some Mr Miyagi-like discipline and not had dessert. Moments later however, your partner plonks themselves down next to you with a bowl of your favourite sweet un healthy food. At that point your mental resolve is put to the test. Unless you are extremely determined to reach your goal and / or amazing will power, the chances of you not tucking into those sweets is very low. This is only amplified when your partner encourages you to join them in eating that food. This has happened to me countless times.

Often people ask me ‘Why would someone’s partner actually encourage them to eat poorly, knowing they are attempting to lead a healthy lifestyle?’. My response to that usually startles them. I believe that it comes down to the emotions – love, fear or guilt. When one half of a relationship attempts to improve a part of their life, unfortunately many times the other half of the relationship will attempt to sabotage their efforts in fear of losing them, especially if they are not on a similar road to self improvement. Unfortunately this is often the case.

Believe it or not, this fear is driven by love; that is the fear of losing their love if their partner develops into a person that may either attract or be attracted to a more positive person. This can be terrifying for people. Some other people attempt to sabotage their partner’s efforts to help themselves feel better. Saying things like ‘Come on have some with me’ only serves to make them feel better about eating something that they know is wrong.

Situations like those described above are quite a challenge for someone to confront. What if you trained like a crazed banshee for an hour a day, six days a week. That’s awesome, well done. However, this still only represents less than 4% of your life. The general consensus is that your ability to lose weight is 70% related to eating, which leaves just 30% related to exercise. It’s really what you do away from the gym that will get you the results of your dreams. Therefore, you need to ensure that you not only understand what to eat and how to maximise your recovery, but most importantly understand what influences you to eat certain foods and exercise.

Research on this topic has found that for many people, their poor food habits are largely influenced by the food choices of the people around them. This supports the theory that we are all a product of the people that we spend the most time with. These people are commonly known as your ‘Circle of Influence’.

It’s clear that on the TV show ‘The Biggest Loser,’ one’s ‘Circle of Influence’ has an enormous impact on the results the contestants achieve. Prior to entering the house, each contestant’s circle of influence obviously negatively impacted their ability to eat the rights foods and frequently exercise. However, when they enter the house, their circle of influence improves dramatically. Not only are they encouraged by people with similar goals to eat well and exercise, they had fantastic Trainers providing them with the education and accountability to succeed. Unfortunately, when they return to their normal everyday lives they return to their more negative circle of influence and often they end up going backwards on their journey and
pile the pounds back on. This highlights the importance of ensuring that people who wish to lead a healthy lifestyle are encouraged and supported throughout their journey by those closest to them.

Therefore, to improve your circle of influence, seek out positive people who are on a similar journey to you. Hire a personal trainer, join a sporting club, make an effort to spend time with people you know who are going through a similar journey to you and include those around you in your journey as well. You might be surprised at how much your loved ones will enjoy going on this journey with you and you may even be able to influence them to change their lives for the better.

Being a runaway bay personal trainer, I often see some of my clients struggle to achieve their goals until their partner starts training and eating well with them. Many of my clients who have their partner cook for them, struggle to achieve their goals if their partner is not prepared to serve healthy foods. After all, having to prepare 2 different meals (or more if you have kids) is a waste of time! However, once their partner starts training and is motivated to eat well, they never have to prepare multiple meals again, as they are now only preparing healthy ones.

This seems like a great segway to a massive problem, childhood obesity. I believe the best way to combat this epidemic is to educate and influence the parents all over the world. There’s something great that happens when parents are educated about healthy food habits. I
have personally seen children turn their young lives around for the better as a direct result of their parent’s new found attitude to healthy living. Unfortunately, I have seen unhealthy parents actually take away a child’s opportunity to exercise as a means of punishment if they do wrong. This once again highlights the impact of one’s circle of influence.

In summary, I would encourage you to share your goals with your family and friends. That is, make your goals public so that those people around you understand and support what you are trying to achieve. They will help keep you accountable to doing the little things even when
you don’t feel like them. Consider who you are with and / or influencing you during your ‘danger times’ when you tend to eat the wrong foods.

Everyone has certain times when they are prone to making poor food choices. Even if those people are not interested in exercise they should be encouraged to learn about healthy eating habits and hopefully the extra education will rub off on everyone around them. As
the old saying goes; ‘’It’s hard to soar like an eagle if your surrounded by turkeys.’’

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