Have you ever looked at someone and thought they were TOO muscular? I frequently hear people criticize women with a lot of muscle and low body fat. Personally, I realized recently that my standards for fitness have changed. That change has helped me reach my fitness goals. I suspect it can help you too.
So, what happened?
Well, have you ever heard the term, “vascularity”? you see it in people with really low body fat. Their veins are visibly raised. It happens because they don’t have as much fat under their skin.
When I first started losing weight, I hated those visible veins. I thought they looked ugly and unfeminine. Now, with body fat about 10% higher than it was a year ago, I’m looking for it! I get excited at every hint of veins popping out. Why? Because it’s a sign of low body fat, a goal I’m working towards.
How did something I initially hated become something I love? My standards changed. They were influenced by the people around me.
I’m not alone in this. Believe it or not, you’re impacted too.
I recently read Chip and Dan Heath’s brilliant book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Check out this report from the book:
Obesity is contagious. A groundbreaking study led by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School, which followed 12,067 people for thirty-two years, found that when someone became obese, the odds of that person’s close mutual friends becoming obese tripled!
Remarkably, proximity didn’t seem to matter. Obesity seemed to “spread” between friends even when they were in different parts of the country. In explaining these findings, Dr. Christakis said, “You change your idea of what is an acceptable body type by looking at the people around you.”
Perhaps this shouldn’t be so surprising. It’s clear that different physical characteristics are found attractive in different cultures. I’ve also read numerous reports that if you’re obese, you’re much more likely to have obese children. Yet I was still shocked by this finding.
Fortunately, there’s an up-side. Want to lose weight more quickly and easily? Want to stay motivated long after others have settled? Surround yourself with fit people. Let their high standard “infect” you.
Who do you have in your life who inspires you to reach your fitness goals? What’s one action you could take today to start building a community of fit friends?