Learn how to use your friends, family, even your phone and online communities for successful weight loss.
Every facet of your social network—family, friends, even your local or virtual community—can influence your weight. Here’s how to work that to your advantage.
Your spouse. In a study in the International Journal of Obesity, when people joined a weight- loss group their spouses naturally lost about 3 percent of their body weight in a year. And since partners tend to share fluctuating waistlines, your spouse’s weight loss should help you stay slim too. A win-win.
Your phone. When people in a Finnish study texted their daily weight and received text messages with tips to cut calories and amp up exercise, they lost about 7½ pounds more in a year than those who didn’t. Ask a friend to text you daily or sign up for an online weight-loss program that includes daily text messages to help keep you on track.
Co-workers. One study found that when co-workers were put into two groups and competed together for the biggest weight loss, they dropped more weight than people who followed a worksite weight-loss program alone.
Your family. Eating with your kids may help you keep pounds off: one study found that adults with kids in the house who ate more family meals weighed less than those who ate separately from their kids.
Weight-loss groups. A structured in-person program that connects you with other dieters can boost your success. Though both groups lost weight, people who joined Weight Watchers lost twice as much as those who received a physician-guided plan, says one study in The Lancet medical journal.
Online communities. Prefer a virtual weight-loss group experience over an in-person meet up? Go for it—online support may help you lose too. Of course, you’ll get out of it what you put in— the more you use a weight-loss web site, the more likely you may be to lose weight, or maintain the pounds you lost.
Your friends. When friends participated in a group weight-loss program together, they lost more weight—and were more successful in keeping it off—than people who did the same program on their own, says research. Buddy up!
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