Any journey we undertake in this life is sure to be met with its fair share of challenges, but a journey attempted by oneself can come with additional hurdles, such as feelings of isolation, or of being overwhelmed by the trek ahead. Such is the case with the weight loss journey. As with any goal-setting endeavor, having the support of others along the way is an invaluable part to the successful attainment of that goal. Here are five ways anyone venturing to lose weight can greatly benefit from assembling a support system.
Support Offers Encouragement to Keep Going
Weight loss comes with an inherent goal – to lose weight. As we achieve milestones toward that goal, and receive praise and celebration, it bolsters feelings of positivity and leads to positive reinforcement. That is, the more positive we feel, the more likely we are to want to keep the momentum of that feeling going by continuing to work toward our goal. Furthermore, when a group support system is established, there is a mutual sharing of celebration and praise for each other’s accomplishments. Feeling connected in this way with a community of people working toward similar goals works to the benefit of our psychological make-up; it motivates us to want to find ways to support each other on an active, and perhaps most importantly, consistent, basis.
Support Offers Accountability
It’s just a fact of life that, for most of us, it’s easier to do hard things when we’re doing it with someone else. Why? Research suggests that perhaps it’s because the motivation to “reach the other side,” so to speak, is greater when two or more people know they are each responsible for helping the other one to get there. In this way, support not only serves as a way of assisting others, but it also holds ourselves accountable for holding up our end of the bargain; the promise we make to ourselves.
Support Offers Reinforcement of Health-Related Practices
Studies have shown that dieters who are enlisted in group support – that is, a group comprised of others that are going through their own similar weight loss journeys – tend to lose more than three times the pounds of those who go it on their own. One of the main reasons for this is that in a group support setting, there is ample opportunity for discussion of topics relevant to diet and exercise. In this way, participants are exposed to new ideas (exercise tracking apps to try, or setting up a healthy recipe exchange, as examples), as well as to a consistent application of daily practices (such as keeping a food diary, etc.) This simple conversational reinforcement of helpful health advice and motivational reminders can mean the difference between staying on track or falling off the wagon.
Support Offers Better Decision-Making During Challenging Moments
While we all have the best of intentions for our weight loss journeys, there are going to be times when temptation sets in. A support system can step in and rescue you when your brain becomes distracted and you suddenly find yourself faced with challenges of the decision-making variety. Make sure that the support system you have in place isn’t comprised of people that will bend to your will, or enable you to cheat on your diet or skip your workout routine, but rather, of those that will act as a stronghold, and in the best interests of your goals and overall well-being.
Now, while a proper support system can, and should, provide you with blaring reminders of your ultimate weight loss goals, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play a part in your own support regime. You know yourself best, so before you ever even encounter a moment of weakness, take the time to educate friends and family about what kinds of reminders work best for you. And if something ever isn’t working for you, call on your supporters to help you brainstorm ideas about how to overcome whatever challenges you’re facing, such as offering up healthier food options (or even just having someone there who will snatch those fries away before they reach your mouth!).
Support Helps Keep the Weight Off After Treatment Ends
Research suggests that enlisting family and friends to begin their own weight loss journeys at the same time you are may actually help with the shedding of pounds — and not just in the moment, but in the long run. According to one study, participants who enrolled in weight-loss programs with friends did a better job of keeping the weight off after the program was over. In fact, after six months, two-thirds of those that had group support during treatment had indeed kept the weight off, compared to only a quarter of those who had participated on their own. So, it seems safe to suggest that seeking out a Weight Loss Buddy may pay off by keeping pounds off.
At the Long Island Weight Loss Institute, our professional staff will be your cheerleader and accountability partner through your journey. With us, you can achieve anything!