A successful weight loss or weight management plan includes strategies to manage common day-to-day temptations, like those freshly-baked cookies in the company breakroom or the friend who wants you to skip yoga in favor of happy hour.
Enlisting a support person–or “buddy system”–is a fun and effective way to stay on track with your wellness goals.
Kim Meeuwsen, registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program, offers reasons the buddy system may be a key to successful weight loss:
Accountability – You’ll be less inclined to hit snooze if you know someone else is depending on you for an early morning workout. Don’t have a local friend to enlist? Technology can help you to stay connected and set goals with a long-distance wellness buddy. Every Monday morning, text a photo of your scale weight. Or, become “friends” on a tracking program like MyFitnessPal. These programs can be used via smartphone or online and allow you to view each other’s daily food and exercise logs.
See yourself through someone else’s eyes – Feeling frustrated with the pace of your weight loss or your overall weight management goals? We’re usually much harder on ourselves than we are on others. Instead of getting down on yourself, reach out to your support person. He or she can help provide a realistic perspective and remind you to treat yourself with the same kindness you’d show to another person who is making similar lifestyle changes.
Find the motivation – Time flies when you’re having fun. How often do you meet a good friend for dinner and an hour passes by in what feels like 5 minutes? Try spending that hour walking the trails or laughing together through a Zumba class. Whether you’re motivated by a little competition or you just enjoy company during your workout – squeezing in extra activity is much easier and more fun if shared with someone else.
Consider structured group support – Having trouble identifying one person who can be your “buddy”? Why not join a supportive group? The Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program provides weekly meetings where 6 to 12 people with similar goals meet and interact on a regular basis. Many participants find that the camaraderie and supportive environment helps them to reach or maintain their weight loss goals. Our experts also are available to meet one-on-one with participants. This team includes an exercise physiologist, registered dietitian, physician and licensed therapist.
It’s natural to feel a bit hesitant about asking for help. But finding your “buddy” can keep you on track and help you to stay strong when faced with temptations. If you’re able to ask those closest to you for support or identify a buddy, it can make the journey to good health and successful weight loss much easier and manageable in the long term.