Is Peer Pressure Leading You to Make Poor Food Choices?
“Oh C’mon a salad? Don’t be boring”
When you’re in the midst of your friends, faced with delicious but unhealthy food choices, peer pressure can make it difficult to stay committed to the healthy living lifestyle.
Whether you’re trying to make healthier choices or just want to march to the beat of your own drum, a little forethought is key.
Your family and friends influence your food choices, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself you have it all covered.
Eating is contagious, just like the flu.
We eat like others because we want to be the norm. We want to be like the people we are spending time with.
Studies have shown that people eating together even tend to chew at the same rate. They mirror the person they are hanging with.
That means if you hang with a bunch of foodies, you’re more likely to overeat in order to fit in. It works the other way, too — you’re more likely to pass on that piece of cake if your friends do.
“Whoever you’re eating with has a dramatic impact on what you eat and how much. But if you become mindful of yourself and your habits, it’s easier to stay your own healthy eating course and avoid following what everyone else is doing.
Mindful eating is key to opposing peer pressure. You can use internal instincts to make your food choices instead of following external social cues.
To be a mindful eater, set your intentions before you begin eating — and then follow through one bite at a time. Stay present. Focus on all the sensations eating involves: how food tastes and how it makes you feel. Mindfulness can help you feel more satisfied and in control.
To do it:
Decide how much you want to eat ahead of time. Be clear on your level of hunger and fullness.
Follow through on your decisions, and don’t apologize for or explain them.
Look at how fast others are eating, and try to chew more slowly. If you are aware of what you need, that’s going to make a big difference. Makes you feel more in control.
Practice makes perfect
If you have a hard time saying no to peer pressure, practice, practice, practice. Say, “No, thank you,” and, “I’m full.” Repeat them until you sound and feel confident.
Before you go to a restaurant, look at the menu and pick out what you want. Order first, because whoever orders first usually sets the tone for the rest. If you already know what you want, your choice is yours alone and not someone else’s.