If you’re in a diet rut or unable to breakthrough a weight loss plateau, you might want to consider teaming up to slim down.
It’s true: new research shows that you can double your weight loss with a motivated diet BFF.
The old cliché “there’s strength in numbers” is certainly true when it comes to weight loss. One study from Brown University found that dieters with motivated diet buddies lost about twice as much weight at six, 12 and 18 months compared to those who tried to slim down solo or with a diet partner that wasn’t as successful herself. The authors suggest that having a friend, sibling, spouse or coworker who follows a diet program and loses weight will boost your chances of success too.
How to pick a pal? Opt for quantity over quality. It’s more important to have one buddy who’s really committed than to have a handful who are only partly invested in achieving their goals, and helping you achieve yours, the researchers found. In addition, the authors also found that spouses are not necessarily the best diet buddies. One of the most effective ways diet partners lost weight was by dedicated journaling of everything they ate.
To find a diet buddy that will improve your odds of success, look for someone that you know has a can-do winning attitude that you admire. Explain to her what you’re trying to do and assess whether she’d be up for the challenge too. A friend, neighbor, coworker or someone from a group exercise class or work colleague are all places to scout out for that Diet BFF.
Support SOS: Build Your Own Weight Loss Cheerleading Squad
“Sell” It to Them.
Try to encourage your friends and family to join your efforts without judging, blaming or nagging. Position it as a chance to create something great together (a healthier self and relationship—double bonus!) and come up with rewards for every positive behavior change (a massage for a tough workout or new clothes after you’ve lost some weight).
There are many online weight loss communities that feature message boards where people share their weight loss tips, accomplishments and setbacks. Ones we like: Spark People, Lose It! and MyFitnessPal.
Try Something Different.
You can’t expect your weight to change if you do the same activities (or nothing!) with the same people every day. If you need a stronger social network, visit places where you’re sure to find like-minded health-conscious individuals. Having moved numerous times as an adult, I have always found a great network of healthy, fit friends through local running, cycling, swimming or CrossFit gyms. Most CFers have found that CrossFit provides the most tight-knit community and most Crossfit gyms help organize diet challenges for members.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD