Even if you're highly motivated when you start a weight-loss diet, sticking with it until you reach your goal is a challenge. Losing weight is even more difficult if your friends, spouse or children don't support your efforts. A good way to keep yourself inspired is to connect with other people who are dieting. Successful weight loss is strongly associated with social support, according to Psychology Today. There are many options available.
Nonprofit Support Groups
Join a nonprofit group in your community for weight-loss support. Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS, encourages a nutritionally sound diet and gradual weight loss. Members can attend weekly meetings for support and education. Members pay a fee but the program costs less than commercial programs, according to Colorado State University Extension. Overeaters Anonymous is a 12-step group meeting for people who believe they overeat compulsively. It focuses on the mental and physical aspects of overeating and does not offer advice about food, diets or weight loss. No fees are charged. If these groups aren't available in your community, you can "attend" their meetings online.
Commercial Diet Program Support
You can find social support, motivation and education about diet and exercise at Weight Watchers, the commercial diet program known for its group meetings. The meetings are considered an important factor in the program's effectiveness, according to U.S. News Health. The Weight Watchers program is based on a balanced diet, exercise and gradual weight loss.
Internet Weight-Loss Communities
If you want social support for weight loss that is convenient or anonymous, consider joining a group on the Internet. Researchers who studied a large Internet weight loss community found active forum discussions with themes that included motivation, encouragement, shared experiences, friendly competition and recognition for success. This community played an important role in the weight loss efforts of its members, according to a study reported in the "International Journal of Medical Informatics."
Partner with a weight-management coach for social support and motivation. A small study performed at the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island found that dieters who were paired with a coach lost a significant amount of weight over six months. Surprisingly, they lost the same amount of weight whether the coach was a behavioral specialist or simply a peer who was also participating in the study. The support of another person who watches over you, holds you accountable and roots for your success can make a difference.
Support Through Social Media
Psychologist and weight-management expert Sherry Pagoto advises dieters to seek social support through social media. Consider starting your own blog or making use of Facebook or Twitter to find a supportive social circle of like-minded individuals. Create a free Facebook community page and post daily about your progress. Include links to articles, videos and recipes to add interest. People who "like" your page will receive regular updates. Starting a blog is another way to share your thoughts, challenges and progress with others as you lose weight. Over time you will attract readers and commenters, says Pagoto. Tweet or post your blog entries to Facebook to reach even more people.