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Can social support help me achieve weight loss?

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Social support and your peers play a huge role in weight loss success. It is very difficult to eat healthy when everyone around you is eating unhealthy foods. All of us need social time with family, peers, coworkers and friends. When everyone around us is eating foods that get us in trouble and start us back down the slippery slope it is easy to feel isolated. It is not unusual for your family and friends to try to sabotage your weight loss efforts even if subconsciously because all of your hard work that is paying off may make them feel uncomfortable about their own weight or health issues. Your being successful points out their own inadequacies. That said you cannot live your life in isolation. You need to be able to eat with your family and friends as well as your coworkers. I use the mantra nothing tastes as good as healthy when confronted with temptations. I have learned to find a healthy substitute for just about anything so that I can join in on family pizza night or those birthday parties at the office. Surrounding yourself with people who will support your efforts and not try to sabotage your hard work will make it easier. Find a buddy to cook with, walk with, talk with and when possible eat with. Changing your lifestyle is hard but if I can do it anyone can. Take the first step and don't take it alone.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula explains how social support can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Watch Dr. Durvasula's video for tips and information on overall health and wellness.

Social support has been linked to successful weight loss for years. Anytime an individual connects with like-minded individuals the chance for long term success increases exponentially. In today's ever changing world, social support now comes in two forms: live or online. Choosing which form really is dependent on you. 

Live support groups consist of popular groups such as Weight Watchers, group fitness classes, and running & walking clubs. These groups have been around for years and strive at creating a positive environment for individuals. 

Social networking websites have exploded across the net over the years. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Sharecare, GooglePlus, LiveStrong, and more have opened the possibility for individuals to join a network group of like-minded people. These groups can offer support through wall posting, emails, videos, motivational quotes, articles, links, and more. Where it lacks in face to face contact, it makes up in the ability to open the internets' vast resources. 

A suggestion would be to try both avenues to see which one is for you. Not only will you increase your success in reaching fitness goals, but best of all you can meet new friends.

I think social support is one of the key ingredients to successful weight loss.  Many people who are trying to lose weight think they are alone, this couldn't be further from the truth.  In this day and age so many people are trying to get back into shape and improve their health.  What better way to lose weight is when you have people that understand your needs and are there to support you.  Wouldn't you feel better if you had people in the background letting you know you can do this than if you were just all alone.  Support gives us the motivation, energy and determination to achieve anything.  Just like my clients tell me when I work them out that I work them harder than when they workout themselves.  This is because they have someone there to push them and motivate them to show them that they can do this.  So remember you are never alone and support can be a great tool for success.
Absolutely! Having a buddy that shares your same goals helps both of you stay accountable. We gain better results together and it's also much more enjoyable than taking the journey alone.  So get connected and stay connected through the ups and downs of the process. In addition to having a support system to lean on, know that you too will benefit from being able to lift your partner/group along the way as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.