If so, you’re not alone.
Your close friends, family members and even work colleagues impact your diet—for better or worse. When your friends are healthier than you are, they’re good habits “rub” off on you but the opposite is also true when they’re not so healthy. If you think those in your life are derailing your diet efforts, taking the step and sharing with friends and family that you are trying to eat better and change your behaviors for better health is one of the best ways to help increase the likelihood of success.
Enlisting support of others doesn’t mean that they need to jump into the program with you (unless they want to) or that they’re supposed to become “food police” and stop you from eating candy, chips or your favorite desserts. Instead, what you want from them is to respect your decision to try to improve your wellbeing and by doing so, they won’t do things that undermine your efforts (like bringing desserts to your house).
Sharing your weight loss desire with friends and family also helps you succeed in other ways—it makes you more accountable for your actions and it provides an ear or shoulder when it gets tough or you’ve had a slip-up.
You know how essential it is to have a workout buddy to get you to exercise? The same is true with a diet buddy. A Brown University study found that those with diet buddies lost significantly more weight at 6, 12 and 18 months compared to dieters who participated in the program alone. The success of your buddy is important for your personal success, so be sure to choose a friend who is equally committed to your proposition to lose weight for good!
Several studies show that diet support helps people lose more weight and keep it off longer. Diet support is one of the reasons why the Weight Watchers program works so well is that members are accountable to their behaviors at their weekly or online check-ins and you have others to share your experiences (good and bad) with. No matter how you try to lose weight, dieters who check in with a dietitian or other healthcare professional experience better results. Even online check ins equal better results, so using a program like Weight Watchers online or Spark People would help you achieve your goals.
Three Ways to Get the Support You Need
“Sell” It to Them
Try to encourage friends and family join your efforts without getting upset with them, blaming them or being a nag about it. Position it as a chance for them to improve their self-confidence, health and outlook…not to mention the clothes they’ll be able to fit into again. Come up with ways that you can reward positive behavior changes and sticking with the program. Rewards that have financial incentives often work very well.
There are many online weight loss communities that provide message boards where others share their weight loss tips, accomplishments and setbacks.
Try Something Different
You can’t expect things to change if you do the same things. If you need a healthier network of friends, seek out places where there are more like-minded health conscious individuals. Try a local gym or community center. Join a local hiking, cycling or running club. Having moved numerous times as an adult, I have found a great network of healthy, fit friends through the local fitness clubs I joined.