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Buddy Up For Better Health

Buddy Up For Better Health

Folks who have weight-loss buddies lose twice as much weight.

In an episode of the 90s sitcom News Radio, co-anchor Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman) wants to stop smoking, while news director Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) is attempting to give up coffee. It’s clear they aren’t going to help each other become successful when Bill says, “Come on, Dave. We went a full nine and a half hours. Must we continue this little charade?”

Even though those two failed, quitting a bad habit is easier when you have a buddy. The key is that you and your buddy have to be committed to success for both of you.

In one study of 109 people, folks on a diet that had weight-loss buddies who were successfully shedding pounds lost twice as much weight as dieters who went it alone. Another found that having a new workout buddy can skyrocket your commitment to exercise regularly. And there’s the study that found the odds of quitting smoking are nearly six-fold higher for couples who quit together than for someone who tries to break the habit solo.

So how do you find a supportive, like-minded buddy?

  • Ask friends and family if they would like to join you.
  • Join groups dedicated to your goal—for example, explore the Obesity Action Coalition, Nicotine Anonymous or ask a trainer at your gym for help finding another member to buddy up with.
  • Once you have a buddy, write down your individual goals and a realistic time line. Then pledge to help keep each other on track or get back on track—no judgement.

Medically reviewed in September 2019.

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