How Your Friends Influence Your Body Image
Healthy LivingNovember 8, 2012
Your friends might be tainting how you view yourself.
Your friends might be tainting how you view yourself.

You know how your friends can pick you up when you're bummed out? Yeah, they can also make you feel crappy about your bod.

By Korin Miller

New research from Mount Alison University in Canada found that how women think their friends feel about their bodies influences their own body image. So, if you have a friend who is always griping about her love handles, you're more likely to worry about your extra padding, too-even if you don't have any.

Related: How to Be Happy (When You Need a Boost)

In the study, researchers surveyed women on how often they talked to their friends about weight loss, exercise, appearance, and eating. They also checked in on the women's body image and whether they felt peer pressure about their weight.

Here's the crappy part: Researchers found that the more women felt pressure to be skinny, the more likely they were to worry about their bodies-even if they had great figures. Even worse, their body worries mirrored the ones that they thought their friends had...even if their friends weren't all that worried about it.

Related: 15 Ways to Get a Killer Body Image

Basically, your friends can really screw up your body image if you let them. Our advice: Next time your friend starts complaining about how much she hates her butt/hips/thighs (and we all have at least one of them), tell her she looks fabulous and change the subject. Eventually, she'll get the hint-and you'll feel better about yourself in the process.

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