Stronger Together: Creating a Weight Loss Support System
While losing weight is a personal and private goal for many people, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, a good weight loss support system may be the difference between the success or failure of your weight loss goals.
What type of support do you need?
Think about what types of support you want and what form this support system should take to best meet your needs. For instance, you will almost certainly need emotional support, someone to listen to you and encourage you —not just about weight loss but about any issues you’re struggling with. Someone you can turn to instead of food to soothe your emotions, someone who can encourage you and celebrate your successes.
You may also need practical support—a person who can watch the kids so you can hit the gym, or to be your workout buddy or walking partner. You might also want someone to swap recipes or go grocery shopping with.
What about inspirational support? Having someone you admire and look up to can also be motivating when you’re striving to reach goals. This person could be someone you admire for his or her weight loss efforts, but you can also think bigger than that. Who inspires you to work hard, do your best, and reach higher? Who makes you want a better life? You don’t even have to know your inspirations personally—that’s where the Internet, books, or videos can help.
Where to find support
Next, decide if you want in-person support, or is contact by phone, Internet, or text OK? Are you looking for encouragement, accountability or both? Kind words or brutal truths or something in between? What type of motivation do you respond best to?
Some people love group meetings while others are more comfortable with anonymous online support. Some people do best if they announce their weight loss intentions to the world, while others need only to set a weight loss goal for themselves privately. Be honest about what you need with both yourself and your support system.
If your friends and family members are up for it, enlist their help. However, sometimes those closest to you aren’t the best choices for the role of weight loss support system. While it doesn’t always happen, you may run into adverse reactions to your weight loss plans if loved ones feel threatened by or jealous of your new behaviors.
If you need to look beyond friends and family for support, other possibilities include co-workers, gym acquaintances, online groups, “in real life” (IRL) support groups, and virtual support groups. You may need to experiment to find the best combination of support to suit your personality and needs.
Once you’ve got your team in place, remember to show your appreciation for your support team’s help. And also remember that support is a two-way street. Offering support to your own supporters not only helps them, it makes you feel great, too.
No matter what type of support you need, you can find it online or in real life. Lean on your support system when losing weight feels hard, and celebrate with them when you meet your weight loss goals.