In a recent study of 125 countries, the United States ranked 21st for our food quality. That is a pretty pathetic ranking for the most industrialized country in the world. Look around, though and you’ll see the evidence of this food ranking in our bodies. Body weights have skyrocketed over the past 50 years as we have become more sedentary, consume far greater amounts of processed foods, and try to pack more into each day, which leads to less sleep and more stress in our lives.
Another study that was conducted this year, investigated how social norms play a role in individual eating behaviors. The study explored how one person within a small social group ate compared to the eating habits of the others in their group. Their study concluded what I have been talking about for years. The way we eat can become a STD.
Let me explain…
STD stands for Socially Transmitted Disease. If you are surrounded by people who are health conscience, don’t usually go for seconds, and drink mostly water with their meals, you are far more likely to eat smaller portions, skip the alcohol or soda, and opt for healthier food choices. The opposite is also true. If your social group drinks alcohol at every occasion, orders appetizers, finishes their main course (maybe even a second helping) and finishes off most meals with dessert, you are far more likely to eat and drink the same to fit in and feel more a part of the group.
Fitting in and being socially accepted by our peers is one of our core human desires and it’s also what makes my job as a fitness professional unbelievably difficult, at times. Change is hard. When you are ready to start making some different choices for yourself, even if you aren’t preachy about it, friction occurs within your social group/family and then you need extreme willpower to stick to the healthy living goals you’ve set for yourself. Willpower has been proven to be finite; we only have a limited supply of it so willpower will only help us for so long.
I have done my best through the Transformation Center and programs like Killer Kurves, to create a new social norm for those wanting to look and feel better by leading a healthy lifestyle. As a Transformation Center community, though, we only spend 3-6 hours together each week compared to the many more hours spent with family, friends, and coworkers. My clients who have made successful lifestyle changes and transformation, all have created friendships and communities within our programs and hang out and support each other outside of class as well!
In other words, long lasting change in their lives and bodies have been achieved by changing their social norms. Once a new norm is established for these clients, going back to their old ways dramatically decreases because doing so would go against their new social norms and would once again put them on the outside looking into their new social group. If you are ready to improve your health and life and change some of your social norms, I would be honored to join you on that journey of change.
If you are in Madison, you can of course come to any of our 4 Transformation Center locations and get plugged in. We have made it super simple to start.
If you live anywhere else in the world we have a program called the Fit Moms For Life (FM4L) Six Week Challenge and you can find a group in your area, start your own, or join our virtual groups.
Either way, with the FM4L program you will be able to connect with others who are looking to up-level their lives with proper nutrition, exercise, positive thinking and time for themselves. Being a part of FM4L can change your social norm and make weight loss and health improvement a reality!
Changing your social norms isn’t easy, but look at those around you. Do you want to be like them 5-10 years from now? If the answer is yes, great! Continue to strengthen relationships with them! Bu,t if your answer is no, today can be that day to make the shift! Sign up for FM4L!
Life is too short to spend it with people who aren’t looking to positively grow in all areas of their life.