Being surrounded by weight-obsessed mates can make you feel fatter

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Friends who constantly bang on about their figure can affect your self esteem...

The Fault Finder, gossiping girls, Wedding guests

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Picture the scene - you're standing in a crowded bar surrounded by a group of friends, when one of them suddenly says 'That guy would never fancy me looking like this, I need to go on a diet'. Obviously, she's feeling very insecure, but now consider the fact that she's a size ten and you're a healthy size 12-14. How does that make you feel?

According to new research, there's a close link between a woman's weight, her body confidence and the attitude of her closest friends to diet, fitness and exercise.

Apparently, we're more affected by the comments of our friends rather than our actual size and body shape. Even if you're brain knows you're not fat or unattractive a tactless comment from a friend can make you question yourself.

New research suggests we can 'catch' worries and self-esteem issues from our friends even if we feel, internally, quite content with our bodies.

Naturally, we start to compare ourselves to our female friends and use them as an attractiveness bench-mark. So, if they think they're fat and they're thinner than us it's difficult to take the logical high-ground.

So, what can we do to stop this type of worry? Well, first thing first, there's no point comparing yourself to a friend with a completely different body shape. If they're tall, athletic and flat chested they probably have a flat tummy, but your natural pear shaped figure means you're never going to look the same!

Here are five things to tell yourself next time a friend makes you self-doubt...

1. Just because they're dieting for Christmas, doesn't mean you have to. Don't let their choices be your choices.

2. So what if they don't like their stupidly skinny legs...tell yourself three things that you're really happy with and flaunt them to the max.

3. If a conversation is making you feel uncomfortable, change it and step back in the drivers seat.

4. Is your friend constantly talking about her body because she's insecure or because she's grappling for attention? Find out which one it is and either build her confidence or ignore her when she's obviously looking for compliments to massage her ego.

5. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There's no one size fits all when it comes to attraction, so don't assume that your 'beautiful friend' is the only one who will ever get the guy.

What do you think?

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