Sticking to your weight loss plan is easier when you’re surrounded by a strong support system. Sharing diet tips, cooking with friends and having an exercise buddy are just a few ways social support can make it easier to lose weight.
Researchers have found that people who enroll in a weight loss program with friends do a better job losing weight and keeping it off, while those who attend a weight loss program on their own are less likely to keep the weight off long-term. Studies have also revealed a link between satisfying relationships with friends and family and fewer health problems.
A supportive network of friends and family can help weight loss surgery patients adapt to and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating right and exercising regularly. According to the Mayo Clinic, finding support for your weight loss efforts can be the key to success.
Social support can take a variety of forms, including emotional, practical and inspirational support. Someone who provides emotional support offers a listening ear and shoulder to cry on when you feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Practical support may come in the form of a friend offering to watch your kids while you go to the gym or a family member who helps you prep healthy meals for the week. Inspirational support is that buddy who commits to working out with you, encourages you to keep moving and helps you stay motivated to stick to your goals.
How strong is your support system? Do you need more support from family and friends, but aren’t sure how to get the support you need? Here are a few tips to help you build and maintain a healthy support network:
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as negative support and be prepared to encounter some unsupportive behaviors from loved ones along the way. These actions may not be intentional, but they can easily throw you off track if you are unprepared to deal with them. Some common unsupportive behaviors include friends giving you a hard time about hitting the gym instead of going out, or a family member being offended that you didn’t try her famous dessert at a holiday gathering.
It is normal to encounter some of these negative behaviors along the way. Don’t assume your friends or family are unsupportive, but gently remind them that you’re changing your lifestyle to get healthy.
Remember, you aren’t in this alone. McCarty Weight Loss Center offers patients a comprehensive support system including nutritional guidance, fitness training and psychological support.