Losing Weight is Often a Group Effort

“Birds of a feather flock together.”  Ever noticed how life is easier when you’re around people who share common interests or are working toward similar goals?  There is a reason for this.  Utilizing social support is one of the best ways to deal with and cope with stress.  That is if you have access to the right people.  Sometimes we all just need a little help from our friends.Exercise Group Effort

The good news is research even backs this up as it relates to weight loss.  In a study exploring the benefits of utilizing friends and social support during the weight loss process, Wing and Jeffrey (1999) recruited participants either alone or with three friends or family members and assigned them to a standard behavioral treatment with social support strategies.

Participants who were recruited with friends had greater weight losses at the end of the four month treatment and ten month follow-up.

It almost seems obvious, doesn’t it?  Of course it would be easier to lose weight when people are supporting you!

However, what kind of a support system do you have?  Are you surrounded by people who encourage your growth, or are you surrounded by people who insist on keeping you the same as you’ve always been?  We’re a direct product of the five people we spend the most time with.  Just reflect briefly on who you currently have in your life, because getting this part of the equation right could be useful in helping you lose weight and keeping it off.  What characteristics do you look for in a support system?

What do you need to be successful?

In a study exploring facilitators and barriers to weight loss and maintenance, Metzger et al. (2014) studied a group of women who participated in a weight loss program where their food consumption was decreased by 500 calories/day.  One and a half years later, the participants participated in focus groups to determine which factors helped or hindered their weight loss.  They found the key facilitators to weight loss maintenance include:

  • Accountability to others
  • Social support
  • Planning ahead
  • Awareness and mindfulness of food choices
  • Basic nutrition education
  • Portion control
  • Exercise
  • Self-motivation

Surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you and lift you higher is one of the smartest things you can do to support your weight loss efforts.  You’ll feel better, and your body will thank you.

As Barbara Streisand says, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Do you have the support you need to help you reach your weight loss goals?  If not, you do now – Welcome to our community!

References:

Wing, Rena R.; Jeffrey, Robert W. (1999) Benefits of Recruiting Participants with Friends and Increasing Social Support for Weight Loss and Maintenance.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 132-138.

Wiley Online Library (2014).  Facilitators and Barriers to Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance: A Qualitative Exploration.  Retrieved February 5, 2015 from Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com