Friends and Weight Loss – Connection?
One of the most common weight loss tips you’ll see on exercise and diet sites is to get your friends to involved in your quest to lose weight. However, you may wonder whether your friends really can help you to lose weight or whether you can just sign up on a website to get a workout accountability partner.
It may actually be your friends and family members who are the most poised to help or hinder your weight loss plans.
Points to consider about friends and weight loss:
Workout Partners as Strangers
On Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy, an internet radio show, Dr. Shafran states that the most essential element to successful weight loss is a good system of friends and family members who are on board with your weight loss plans. But what difference does it make if they are friends or strangers?
After all, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology recently published a study on the benefits of exercise partners with no initial distinction based on relationship. In fact, the study’s commentary actually recommended against having your best friend as your diet buddy because your best friend probably isn’t going to be able to hold you accountable.
Practical wisdom would seem to say that a good accountability or work out partner is sufficient.
Why Friends and Family Members Matter Even More
These conclusions, however, do not mean that you should think you’re covered just because you have a strict workout and diet buddy. The fact is that you will spend most of your time with your friends and family members. Your workout buddy may be super strict, but your friends and family can be quite persuasive.
While you may have tremendous will power, there is a limit. And if your sister is constantly tempting you with a deep fried Reuben sandwich with an extra large helping of onions rings while your best friend wants to know why you’re being such a stickler, you may find that your patience and strength will be growing thin.
Additionally, you’re more likely to turn to your friends and family members when you’re going through a hard time. If you have just started working out with someone and do not know him well, chances are good that you aren’t going to want to tell him everything that’s going on in your life.
However, sharing that with your closest companions is like second nature. And when you share what you’re going through, most friends are going to reach for the ice cream or the beer to ease the pain.
Whether you like it or not, your friends and family members will be in a key position to influence all of your decisions. They’re going to be the ones coming up with fun activities that might conflict with your workouts. They’re going to be coming up with high calorie and high carbohydrate meals for fun and comfort.
Simply put, if you don’t have these people on your side and on board with your weight loss goals, you will likely be fighting temptation at every step.
Getting Friends and Family Members on Board
When you share your weight loss and healthy living goals with your family and friends, you provide an additional layer of accountability. Even if they do not agree with your decision at first, the fact that you must explain your reasons will help solidify your basis for pursuing these goals.
If they do agree with you, then they can help you in a variety of ways.
When you are having this conversation with your friends, remember that you don’t have to ask them to do everything with you. If they do, that’s great. But if they don’t, remember that you can persuade them to live healthfully by living as a positive example.
Additionally, as they support you, they will start to see the benefits in your own life. In fact, for added communication and to ensure that you are all on the same page, you should consider letting them look over your workout plans.
For instance, if you get a great program to give you all the tools you need, you can let them see the charts and steps you’re going to use to reach your ultimate goals. It will help them to realize how they can help you while also planting the seeds of hope in their own minds.
So, friends and weight loss are connected, but that does not mean you have to brow beat your friends into joining you. What it does mean is that you need to explain what you are doing and make sure that you are on the same page.
Dr. Adam Shafran, Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy (2012).
Colette Bouchez, “Choosing a Weight Loss Buddy,” WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/choosing-weight-loss-buddy (2012).