It’s hard to take it off but even harder to KEEP it off–and one reason may be that fat is contagious. No, not like a cold or the flu–but being around fat people can make YOU fat too (maybe you need some thinner friends!)

Researchers agree that obesity is socially contagious, but exactly how it is "caught" from others remains a murky area. Shared ideas about acceptable weight or body size play only a minor role in spreading obesity among friends. Researcher Daniel J. Hruschka says, "When you see that something like obesity spreads among close friends and family members, this raises important questions about how it’s spreading. Is it because we learn ideas about acceptable body size from our friends and family members, or that we hike together, watch TV together or go out to eat together?

"If we can figure out exactly why obesity spreads among friends and family members, that can tell us where to focus resources in curbing rates of obesity. Is it more effective to change people’s ideals of acceptable body size in hopes that they will change their behaviors or rather directly target socially shared behaviors that can contribute to weight gain or loss?

"You might learn what is an acceptable body size from your friends and then change your diet and exercise to try to achieve that. Or, you might not agree with what your friends or family members think, but still feel pressure from them to achieve some ideal body size. Finally, you may form an idea of appropriate body size by simply observing your friends’ bodies, which in turn changes your eating and exercise habits."

Researcher Alexandra Brewis says, "While the clustering of people with larger or smaller bodies is real, it is not shared values between friends that accounts for it. This gives us important clues about the best ways to tackle obesity as a public health issue–we need to focus on what people do together, rather than what people think."

When it comes to what people DO, Anne Strieber’s famous diet book "What I Learned from the Fat Years" has the answers and it’s now available as a download! When she found her clothes were getting too tight she thought they had all shrunk, until she realized she had gained weight due to Type II diabetes, a genetic condition that manifests in late middle age and makes it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. She not only discovered WHY some of us have this gene, but what to do about it, and after three years of diet and exercise, she managed to lose 100 pounds–and YOU can too! This isn’t an advice book written by a doctor or celebrity, it’s a diet book written by a REAL DIETER, who sympathizes with what you’re going through that has helped thousands of people to shed those unwanted pounds.

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