Big-gulp drinks, double bacon cheeseburgers, super-size fries — it’s no secret that portion sizes have ballooned in recent years and that options for quick food fixes are seemingly limitless. How can anyone navigate all of that alone? The solution? Team up. Studies show that having support enhances self-control and self-esteem and provides motivation to keep going strong.
Lose weight in a group for the best results
The studies are unequivocal: people who attend support groups as part of a comprehensive weight-loss program lose more weight than those who go it alone.
- Some things are hard to do alone. Riding a seesaw is one of them, and so is losing weight. That’s not surprising, considering how difficult it can be to cut calories and stay motivated enough to keep doing it, day in and day out. Having some help works.
- In one study of nearly 50,000 post-menopausal women, one group was given educational materials with specific advice about how to cut calories by eating less fat and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The other group participated in 18 individual or group sessions during which they received the same advice — plus support and encouragement. Guess which group lost more weight? That’s right. The women who attended the meetings lost an average of 2.3 kilograms (five pounds), during the first year, which was about 1.8 kilograms (four pounds) more than the other group.
- The more meetings you attend, the better your results. Researchers at New York Obesity Research Center found that among 423 men and women, those who participated in a commercial weight-loss program with group support lost more weight during the first year and dropped more centimetres (or inches) than those who lost weight without participating in a program.
- Another study found an association between attendance at group meetings during the year following weight-loss surgery and the amount of weight lost. Want help from the comfort of your living room? Internet-based support is effective, too.
Use a group to keep the weight off
Get a group of friends together who also want to slim down, and not only are you more likely to lose weight, but you also have a better chance of keeping it off.
- Researchers recruited 166 people to participate in a weight-loss program either alone or with three friends or family members. Among those who embarked on the program with friends, 95 percent completed the program compared to only 76 percent of those who dieted solo. After 10 months, 66 percent of the group dieters had maintained their weight loss compared to only 24 percent of those who were on their own.
- The more meetings you attend, the better your weight-loss results.
Group members offer a unique kind of support to help you lose the weight and keep it off. Consider finding a weight-loss group today and start shedding those unwanted pounds!