Your Girlfriends and Your Weight

By Guest Blogger Holli Thompson

You love spending time with your girlfriends, but did you realize the power you have over each other when it comes to your weight?

Some interesting studies have been released lately about how integrative those gal-pal relationships are and how they effect our size and ultimately our health.

Studies out of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) confirm that common lifestyle, body weight and body-mass-index are consistent in groups of girlfriends. Healthy friends tend to stick together and support one another’s healthy lifestyle choices through exercise, better food choices, and even their optimistic outlook. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Harvard University published studies back in 2007 confirming that obesity spreads among friends, and that your chances of becoming obese or gaining weight is in large part dependent on who you’re hanging out with. 
Arizona State University recently went further with Harvard’s study and published more findings, investigating three different pathways towards behavior that might attempt to explain this phenomenon.

They found the “Monkey See, Monkey Do” behavior to be the strongest; people don’t necessarily think about body weight when they make decisions based on what their group of friends is doing. It seems to be very much a pack mentality when it comes to food, which is why you often see people of the same size together.

You’ve seen that in action. 

Your friend says, “Forget the diet, I’m diving in for the ribs and chocolate cake.” You’re pulled. She’s doing it, why can’t you? You want to have fun too. 

You find yourself eating more and more, “having fun”, and 20 pounds later, wondering what happened.

The MIT study shows that the opposite can be true. Your girlfriends can support you and lift you up to better choices.

Use the power of the “Monkey See” mentality to make a date with your girlfriends–go for a power walk, check out the local vegetarian restaurant, meet at Barre class , and try not to make it all about the food.

You need those girlfriends and they need you. 
Realize the importance of each others’ lifestyles and work towards healthier foods and activities for yourself, and all your BFF’s.

Holli Thompson is the founder of, a virtual wellness company that offers group seasonal programs, weekly blogs and private coaching with Holli.  She is an author, and has a book releasing in early 2013 on discovering your Nutritional Style.  Holli is also a media personality, appearing monthly on ABC talk show “Let’s Talk Live” in the Washington, DC metro area. She has appeared on StyleFX on Fox news, and daytime news shows on all major networks. She was profiled by More Magazine in 2012 and featured in More magazine’s reinvention TV Special airing in late 2011.   Holli’s blogs have been featured in The Daily Love, Crazy, Sexy Life and Ask Miss A on-line magazine.

  1. This is such a great article Holli! I read something that made me think about girlfriends and sisterhood.

    “A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. ~ Isadora James

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