Catch the Desire to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

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Healthy Lifestyle

Clive Thompson, author of "Is Happiness Catching?" writes about how good habits spread, just like a virus. In his New York Times article, he cites research conducted by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler. Two years ago, Christakis and Fowler analyzed data from the National Heart Institute's Framingham Heart Study. Their analysis indicated that if we keep in contact with people who are fit and want to live a healthy lifestyle, we are likely to be influenced by them, helping us become healthier ourselves.

Contact Your Friend's Friend to be Your Weight Loss Buddy

In the past, we've been told that it is easier to lose weight if we recruit a friend to keep us on track. A workout buddy or a diet buddy can help us feel like we have someone else in the game, that we are not the only ones on the difficult weight loss journey. With the help of a buddy, we can schedule workouts, plan meals, and offer emotional support.

But Christakis and Fowler found that for maximum results, we can't ask just anyone to be a buddy. Surprisingly, that buddy, they said, should not be a close friend. Rather, it should be our close friend's friend. Christakis and Fowler found that if our friend's friends are all losing weight, we will be more heavily influenced to lose weight ourselves. In this case, we are surrounded by people losing weight. It then seems like everyone is losing weight, giving us a greater incentive to join the crowd, lose weight, and keep it off.

Create a Social Network to Help You Lose Weight

So what are the implications? If we know that we need to lose weight, how should we position ourselves within our social networks so that we can be successful not just in losing weight, but in keeping it off? Finding a bunch of our friends' friends probably doesn't seem feasible in real life.
But what about cyber life? Through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social media outlets, we may very well be able to connect with people that can influence us on another level than a single workout or diet buddy could. These sites exist to connect us not just with our friends, but with our friends' friends. They exist to connect us with other like-minded individuals. They may just provide us with the strong, multi-faceted networks that we need in order to truly submerge ourselves in achieving our goals.

SparkPeople.com, MedHealth.org, and FitDay.com are all sites that are designed to put us in contact with people that have similar goals as well. The only difference between them and the more traditional social media outlets like Facebook is that they bring people together who are working to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles. Do you have a friend that is using one of these sites? Join. Connect with your friend. Connect with your friend's friends. Create a universe where everyone is working on the same goal that you are.

Achieve Your Goals

If you are fighting the battle of the bulge, you are not in the minority. In fact, there are millions of Americans that are fighting it right now. Befriend them so that you can be successful, they can be successful, and as a country we can triumph over an epidemic that costs too much, compromises too many lives, and leads to too much disease. Certainly, a workout buddy that happens to be your friend is a great first step. Go one step further and connect with others, giving you yet another arsenal of support and advice. The more people that you know who are working to attain similar goals, the more successful you are likely to be.

You may also be interested in Online Diet and Fitness Tools, Smart Approach to Exercise Leads to Weight Loss, and Cooking May Be Your Best Diet Strategy.

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