When you have support, sticking to a weight loss and exercise plan becomes much simpler. You can share tips on diet and exercise, find an exercise buddy, and talk about your challenges and successes when you join a support group, whether it’s in person or online. As you confront any difficulties associated with your new lifestyle, support groups can also assist in improving your mental health.
Your journey to weight loss can be difficult, but peer support can help people stick to a plan that includes healthy eating and regular exercise for longer, according to research from 2016Trusted Source.
In point of fact, it appears that group diet and exercise programs are more effective at promoting weight loss. According to a Trusted Source study from 2018, after six months, individuals who participated in a group program lost an average of 7.7 pounds more than those who did not.
But which kind of assistance should you select? There are numerous forms of support. During your journey to weight loss, you can get the support you need in these seven locations.
Neighborhood peer support gatherings:
If you take part in a weight loss program alone, you may lose more weight than if you do it with a group of friends. Having conversations with others who are going through the same difficulties as you is essential to long-term success.
Together, you can develop new habits and make healthy choices. In addition to accountability, in-person support groups with participants who are all embarking on a weight loss journey together can provide companionship.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many support groups now offer virtual meetings for those who don’t want to meet in person.
How can you find peer support for losing weight in your area?
You can join a local gym with a few friends and take classes, or you can look online for a nearby exercise or weight loss support group.
You can also look for group fitness training or weight loss on Meetup.com. Search for support groups on Facebook and filter your results by location is another option.
You could also try Overeaters Anonymous, which lets you look for meetings in your area that can help you overcome eating and dietary issues.
These gatherings may take place at nearby hospitals and frequently include medical professionals who are able to respond to your inquiries. According to the organization, meetings in 75 countries can be accessed.
You might also want to check out The Obesity Action Coalition, a virtual option that also keeps a list of in-person support groups organized by state.
Groups based at clinics:
Joining small weight loss groups at universities or medical centers is another option if you want to get advice from doctors.
These clinic-based support groups are often led by psychologists, nutritionists, or other professionals who specialize in weight loss. In order to assist you in establishing a new healthy lifestyle, you will receive individualized attention over the course of several weeks or months.
The local support search engine on Psychology Today can help you locate medically supervised groups. You can also request a referral from a local university, hospital, or clinic by contacting them or asking your doctor. Virtual support may also be available for many of these groups.
Online support forums are another option that doesn’t require in-person meetings. The majority of forums provide a secure environment where members can discuss diet and exercise plans, share stories, and find inspiration.
Some examples are:
Three Fat Girls on a Diet with the Help of a Bariatric Pal:
However, keep in mind that a lot of the people on these forums aren’t doctors, so they might give you wrong advice. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or diet, always consult your doctor.
Apps for losing weight are extremely helpful. You can use them to track calories and exercise. Additionally, many of them provide assistance through chat rooms and social media connections.
In the app MyFitnessPal, for instance, there is a message board where you can interact with other users to exchange advice and success stories.
Strong community features are also present in the Fitbit app for wearable fitness sensors. You will be able to connect with other friends and family members who also have Fitbit watches once you have purchased one. You can join challenges with them and even search for challenges in your area with people you don’t know.
You can chat with other people and create or join groups in FatSecret, another app, to meet people with similar goals.
Programs from businesses:
Even though these programs typically have a price tag attached to them, they are still an option that might help you stay committed and focused on a diet and exercise plan.
For instance, one of the world’s most well-liked weight loss programs is WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Its use of social support is at least partially responsible for its success.
Access to their digital community and 24/7 online chat support are included in each membership level, including the basic one. For an additional fee, you can also attend group meetings or get one-on-one support from a coach.
Jenny Craig is another commercial program that has been successful over long periods of time, according to a 2015 review of research. Jenny Craig provides community-based support through online forums and member blogs in addition to a meal delivery program.
Groups that support bariatric surgery:
If your doctor recommends bariatric surgery, your entire approach to life will probably change as a result. You’ll have to follow a strict diet and get used to your new look. Being able to converse with others going through the same changes as you is essential.
Try looking for a bariatric surgery group in your area on Facebook or Meetup.com, or ask your bariatric surgery center for a recommendation.
People who have had weight loss surgery and those who are considering it are frequently welcome in these groups. You may also be invited to attend with family and friends.
Local medical facilities may be particularly well-equipped to provide support groups specifically for bariatric surgery. For instance, American Bariatric is a forum where you can interact with individuals who have undergone or want to undergo bariatric surgery. You will also receive assistance and guidance from medical professionals there.
Establish a group of support:
If nothing else works, sometimes taking action on your own can help you achieve your goals. Find members of your own support group who can provide you with the necessary support.
Start your own support group in one of these ways:
With friends or family who are interested, start a small support group where you can exercise, plan meals, and hold each other accountable.
Create a post inviting members to join your Meetup or Facebook group.
Inquire about the existence of a support group at a local weight loss organization. If not, volunteer to lead a support group. How do you start a support group for weight loss?
Following these suggestions from The Well Project, which will assist you in making the group a success once you have determined the kind of support group that you want to have and have recruited some participants:
Choose the focus. Consider the following types of inquiries: Is it a support for weight loss in general? Is it about eating well? Is it about work out? Is it about surgery to lose weight?
- Choose the size. Despite the fact that online groups can be larger than in-person ones, you might want to limit the size of the group to make it easier to manage.
- Choose the space. If you are hosting a support group in person, choose a location with enough room. If the meeting is held online, check to see that everyone has access to the necessary technology.
- Set the ground rules. What kind of conversation will take place? Make sure that everyone is aware of what is and is not permitted. In general, keep the support’s conversation and rhetoric respectful and nonjudgmental, whether online or in person.
- Choose the content. There is no requirement that a support group simply meet without an agenda. You can plan special social events, invite speakers, or create a conversation agenda. Invite members of your group to offer suggestions.
- Managing a support group can take a lot of time. Concerning member volunteers who can assist in maintaining the group’s momentum by taking on some organizational roles,
Finding a supportive group of people to help you lose weight is one of the best ways to get started on your weight loss journey if you are obese. You can get the help you need to stay healthy and the motivation you need from family, friends, and even strangers.
You can get support throughout your weight loss journey from social media apps, in-person support groups, and online forums. Physical-led support groups can be found at hospitals, universities, or local medical clinics.
Many in-person meetings now offer online participation options because many people prefer virtual meetings. Consider starting your own support group if you have the time and desire.