Choose Your Friends Wisely To Be Healthy

You’ve probably heard that you are the sum of your five closest friends. It is indeed true that you are influenced by the people that you spend your time with and the research backs it up.

A study of 12,067 people followed over 32 years concluded that obesity spreads through social ties (Christakis & Fowler).

If a friend of yours becomes obese, you yourself are 45 percent more likely to gain weight over the next two to four years. It doesn’t stop there. If your friends smoke, you are 61% more likely to smoke. It even transfers to a sense of happiness. If your friends are happy people, you’ll be more likely to be happy!

If you want to be great, you have to surround yourself with great people. You are who you hang with – it’s called contagism – it rubs off!

If you want to be healthy and active, surround yourself with active and healthy people.

If you want to commit to eating a healthy diet, surround yourself with people who are also committed to that.

If you want to travel the world, surround yourself with others that have that adventurous spirit.

If you want to finish a triathlon, start hanging out with triathletes.

If you want to succeed in your career, find a mentor who has achieved great successes who can guide and direct you.

If you want to have a healthy relationship with your partner, surround yourself with friends who put their relationships first so they can offer a positive role model.

Bottom line – you are who you hang with! So if all your friends drink, eat pizza and chicken wings and sit around watching TV all day, that’s probably what you will do as well. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living it up as well but, my friends and I all understand, we’ve got to earn it first!

Everybody needs people in their life who inspire them, challenge them, build them up, empower them, support them and encourage them to reach for their potential, their personal best, their dreams.

The opposite happens if you surround yourself with those who are negative, critical, and controlling and who steal your joy and tear you down.

People will either support or sabotage. Some people will pull you up and others will pull you down – it’s your decision who you will give your time to.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to disown your current group of friends but here’s some ideas to add more health and wellness into your social sphere.

Do you have friends who are doing things that you want to do and living life the way you want to live? Start hanging out with them more!

Do you know people and/or groups who are participating in events and activities that are interesting to you? Get involved! Sign up!

Can you be the one to initiate more active events with your current group of friends? Look for a local event that you could all do together. Maybe suggest, a short-distance Triathlon, an adventure race, a Golf Tournament, a Half Marathon, a Bike Ride etc. Forward all your buddies the info and registration links to make it easy for them to get excited about it. Be the cheerleader for your group.

When getting together with your friends, suggest a healthy restaurant option, a healthy potluck theme or at the very least bring healthy items to the get-together so you’ve got some choices.

Hire a Personal Trainer or Lifestyle coach. It’s their job to inspire, challenge, support and guide you to your Personal Best. It may be the easy way to get what you need if your current group isn’t the positive influence you need.

Participate in group classes/group runs. You’re all on the same mission and you can feed off the energy of the group. Being around that kind of positive energy is so good!

If you have a friend or current group of friends who tend to be a negative influence and detour you from your goals, and no matter what you do to try to instill a more positive, healthy, active, energy it doesn’t seem to work, you may want to spend a little less time with these friends.

If you have kids, be that positive influence and initiator of healthy, fun activities for them.

Living a healthy life is not a “Do-it-Yourself” deal. It is a fact of psychological functioning that when people attempt to make lifestyle and behavioral changes they succeed over the long haul when they have genuinely positive support provided by family, friends, coworkers, trainers etc. I feel incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of friends who like to participate in events and activities with me and we support each other in living a healthy life. My wish is for everyone to have the same!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.


Join us for the Couve Clover Run (3, 7 & 10 Miles) March 22nd, 2020!

Join us for the 6th Annual Couve Clover Run and celebrate in your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.




Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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