Are Eating Habits Contagious?

are eating habits contagiousThe short answer is yes! The question is are you the one who is influencing others or are you being led astray by others? Well that can vary depending on whose company you are in…….

The last week at work has been a little bit naughty for me. We had some charity bake sales, birthdays, leaving dos and one of our suppliers brought us some chocolates. Now normally I am really good and I will have a little bit but am really good at not needing or wanting to gorge on sweets. However, last week was different and I wanted a piece of everything going and then some! Now I know that part of this was me being a little bit hormonal, but the other part of it was that I was being influenced by my co-workers. And not in the way you might think, at no point did anyone say to me “oh go on, just have one more”, I needed no encouragement! What I was being influenced by was their actions not their words.

leading a healthy life / eating habits contagiousScientific studies have shown that you tend to subconsciously replicate the eating behaviourĀ of those that you associate strongly with or someone you have a lot of respect for. The studies showed that in those situations people felt they were conforming to “normal” eating habits and felt they were more likely to fit in. However, it also showed that there was very little influence in the words and verbal reasoning used i.e. saying to someone “eating more vegetables is better for you” had very little sway over physically seeing someone or a group of people eating more vegetables. By witnessing behaviour the individual was more likely to copy.

Food habits can also be swayed by those who are seen as undesirable. For example a person you dislike means thatĀ you feel disengaged and do not want to be associated with them and therefore you would be less inclined to copy their eating habits and might go out of your way to ensure that you do not conform to their habits.

After looking back at my last week I can identify that I was firstly craving sweet things and I was over exposed to it. But I was also being influenced by those around me who I feel are the same as me, I work with a lot of health conscious, fitness obsessed people. And because I was already feeling weak willed and they were being naughty I followed! It’s not something that’s bad as long as you can recognise it in yourself and also bear in mind that you could be influencing someone else. So when you make the decision to be a little bit naughty and having a cheat meal or snack just take a second to think whether you are following suit, do you really want it or need it, and who might you be influencing to do the same?

Love Roo xx

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