Life is not easy. You are often surrounded by criticizers, judgers, faultfinders, complainers, nit pickers and protestors wearing the cloak of friend, colleague or relative. Sometimes, you cannot ignore such relationships and it becomes necessary to maintain them. However, you never realize that these so-called necessary and unavoidable relationships are poisoning you mentally and draining your patience.

Recent research conducted on more than three thousands adults in the 30 – 40 age group found that adults who had troublesome, sadistic and negative relationships added more fat to their bellies over the course of fifteen years compared to adults who were not in negative relationships. Volunteers conducting the research try to find out the meaning of negative relationships for each adult. They asked how many friends, family members and colleagues made remarks or unfair judgements, criticized or just simply turned them down on various occasions.

Research carried out in the past has exposed a link between obesity and poor social activities. However, much of the information collected in this regard is not sufficient and it is not easy to say what is responsible – poor social connections causing obesity or vice versa, says lead scientist Kiarri Kershaw of Northwestern University.

Relationships can turn bitter if a person becomes obese, not the other way round. Kershaw’s research team observed adults for many years before publishing their study. The researchers reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology that although many individuals gain weight as they get older, individuals who are in bitter relationships tend to gain a little extra. Experts warn that deposited fat on the belly may pose a risk of various life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments.

Kershaw further states that food is another culprit. Negative relationships cause anxiety and stress, which leads people to eat junk, i.e. processed foods and alcohol, both of which can make you fat. Briana Mezuk, of Virginia Commonwealth University, says that stress not only affects our psychology, but also our body’s chemistry. She further states that stress can also change the way the body’s metabolism works by stimulating the stress-response system, which tends to deposit large amounts of fat on the belly compared to other parts of the body.

Although it is unfortunate that strained relationships can affect your body, the good news is that change can reverse the situation. If sour relationships can make you obese, good ones can make you leaner and healthy. The new study reveals that people who are supported by friends and family didn’t accumulate as much fat as their peers. Kershaw states that supportive relationships can help you remain mentally strong and can prevent you from overeating in order to tackle stress. Thus, if you are surrounded by negative people and bitter relationships, think about whether these relationships are worth your mental and physical health.

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