We sat down in a coffee shop in Uppsala, Sweden. It had been a long day and I was thinking about cakes. I asked my mother-in-law what she wanted and she opted for a mango smoothie. I was impressed. It was a konditorei so imagine the buns, cakes, and ice-cream there was around.

We had been pretty good food wise all week and I was about to falter. Her decision snapped me to my senses and I sat down with a good ol’ cup of tea instead. That was actually what I needed, just to sit down for a moment, rather than stuff myself with anything sweet.

I once read that your circle of friends strongly influences your eating habits (1). If you sit down and have lunch with friends that are heavier than you, you are likely to eat more yet if your friends are slimmer, you may eat less. 

There’s a number of factors involved including collaboration where you start to have similar thoughts about body size so adjust your food portions accordingly. There’s peer pressure where you feel pressured to eat like your friends or family. Then there’s monkey see, monkey does – which is what I did. Even though I fancied a cake, since my mother-in-law was being so good, I decided to pass.

I believe that these principles apply in other areas of our life too, say exercise or work. So are the people around you a good influence?


  1. How your friends make you fat—the social network of weight