Friends and Family
Besides eating broccoli like it’s going out of style, one of the most important things you can do to help keep you on track is have a good support system. Ideally, this would be the people you live with, because there is nothing harder than eating a salad while your significant other is digging into a bacon cheeseburger with fries. In fact I think that should fall under the Geneva Convention definition of torture! But if you don’t have the support at home, there are so many other places you can find it. Get a friend to join you on your mission, misery loves company right! I kid, I kid!! Having someone else commiserate with you when the going gets tough and to keep you motivated when you’re losing your willpower is invaluable! Psychological research has backed this up. Having someone else to work out with can also help you stick to the schedule. It’s harder to skip that workout when someone else is counting on you.
But perhaps your friends are all irritatingly thin and healthy already. It’s time to go online. Thank goodness for the internet! There are a gazillion websites and boards dedicated to weight loss. Literally a gazillion! Join a support board. Talk with other people there and you’ll find there are so many people going through the same thing you are and they can be a wealth of information, support, and motivation.
There are also websites and apps that allow you to keep track of your weight loss, as well as counting calories for you and logging your exercise. Particularly in the beginning as you’re figuring out what works best for you, I think it can be helpful to keep a food diary. Some studies have shown that those who keep a diary of everything they eat actually lose more weight than those who don’t. It can be a wake up call just to see how many calories you’re actually consuming, even when you think you’re being hardcore healthy. Those little buggers are in everything! Keeping a diary also makes it easier to figure out what food you may need to cut back on, or eliminate altogether, when you’re actively trying to lose weight. For me, that was sweet potatoes. I noticed a pattern that the more I ate sweet potatoes, the slower the weight came off.
You know the quote, “Birds of a feather flock together?” Well it’s another reason to get the people around you to join you in getting healthy. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that who your friends are can increase your odds of gaining weight by 57%! The study followed a social network of 12, 067 people for 32 years, tracking the weight of the subjects over the years. The researchers knew the relationships between the subjects, sibling, spouse, neighbor, etc., and were able to observe what happened to individuals over the years as those in their social circle gained or lost weight. Their most significant conclusion was that a person was most likely to become obese when a friend became obese. Crazy right! Luckily, the reverse also holds true, and the same effect was observed for weight loss. So grab your BFF and help each other! After all, a long healthy life wouldn’t be much fun without your bestie there with you!