‘Friendship diet’ is a healty strategy

?When we lose 20 pounds...we may be losing the 20 best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.? ?Woody Allen


Let?s imagine that you?re looking to lose a few pounds. You could (a) belly dance; (b) starve your belly; or (c) belly laugh.

I know, that?s a tough one. But go ahead, choose letter C. You?ll be happy to learn, as I was, that authentic, deep, spontaneous laughter is a legitimate calorie burner. But none of those phony humor-the-manager or shut-up-the-salesman partial chuckles?it has to be the real deal.


Could that be?

If you believe?which I choose to and highly recommend that you do, too?the Interna?tional Journal of Obesity?s report (Energy Expenditure of Genuine Laughter published May 2006) then yes, it definitely could be.

The publication?s findings show that compared to a resting state, 15 minutes of genuine laughter can burn between 10 and 40 calories. In a year?s time, under the right circumstances, the extra expanded energy and heart rate increase from this laughter could add up to a real weight loss of one to four pounds.

OK, maybe that won?t melt away inches or a dress size, but those results do carry some real significance.

You have a scientifically proven health reason to spend time with friends. Presented in just the right manner, this could be effective ammunition to get some personal time.

And to add to your arsenal, lifestyle writer Victoria Wesseler reported on MSN that friendships in general make us healthier. Her online article stated numerous studies have shown that people who have personal confidante(s) live longer than those who exist in isolation.

All the more reason to nurture the friendships you have or to make an effort to befriend the friendless. There are no age or distance requirements or limits to accomplish that.

And no excuse. It?s simple. Spend time with friends, be healthier, and live longer.

I recently had the chance to spend three days with one of my oldest friends. No structure, no responsibilities, no time clocks, no state borders.

It didn?t take us long to adjust. She rode along with me to an out-of-state conference and somehow, even after the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets, endless Italian restaurant garlic bread, interstate ice-cream pit stops and tavern social hours, I came home feeling much lighter. No doubt thanks to the friendship diet.

Who else gives you a reason to break into a calorie-burning laugh? Never mind that you might be sharing that laugh over a bowl of flour tortilla chips. Everyone knows that salsa is a smart low-fat choice.

Wesseler best summarized a friend?s value: ?(Friends) soothe your spirit?they help you through significant life passages?they understand you better than you understand yourself. They want what?s best for you. They create a safe place to discuss your dreams and fears. They are Lucy to our Ethel; Laverne to our Shirley; Monica to our Rachel.?

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