Your network might be the key to weight loss
With the New Year fast approaching, many people find themselves wanting to shed extra pounds and there is no shortage of diets that promise results. While diet and exercise are essential, finding a weight loss or accountability buddy may be just as important to overall success.
A 2018 study found that participants who chose a supportive buddy or partner to join a weight loss program lost more pounds and waist inches than those who tried to lose weight alone.
“To make it sustainable, you need regular check-ins with someone – a dietician, obesity specialist or support group for example,” said Amy Paulus, a nurse practitioner who specializes in Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. “People need the support of others.”
Paulus sees the benefits of having a support network every day, but knows there are many ways to find friends who will hold you accountable to your weight loss goals. While she sees the leading difference in patients who participate in medically supervised weight loss programs, she also recommends that people trying to lose weight join support or social media groups of like-minded individuals to achieve lasting results.
“Find ways to seek a group of people with similar goals and objectives,” she continued. “Having the support of other individuals who have gone through similar struggles is essential to long-term sustainability of weight loss.”
Moreover, having others be a part of your weight loss journey has additional benefits. For example, the support groups at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital offer members ways to navigate some of the challenges associated with weight loss – from clothing swaps and recipe exchanges to mindfulness exercises and stress reduction.
Additionally, Paulus and her team work with patients of the group to understand their unique challenges, add or adjust medications, respond to symptoms and continue to educate. Importantly, the group setting also holds its members accountable.
“If someone starts to slip into bad habits, there is a friend to pick them up,” explained Paulus. “Seeing everyone on a monthly basis helps keep the group on track and focused on the future.”
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people are diagnosed and treated for obesity. To understand if you are at risk, start by taking our healthy weight assessment to determine your BMI.
About the Author
Kristen Johnson, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing manager with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She previously worked as a speechwriter and staffer on Capitol Hill. She enjoys running marathons, good coffee and exploring Chicago’s many neighborhoods.