Importance of a Healthy Support System in Weight Loss

No, I’m not talking about foundation garments and weight issues, but rather about whether or not it is important to have a support system around you as your work on getting healthier and improving your level of fitness.

As I was gaining weight I always had a plan for losing it. Sometimes I tried going it alone, and other times I joined WW or a group at our church. I never was successful at any of those plans, not because there was anything intrinsically wrong with them, but rather because of my failure to actually take their advice. Regardless of what plan you are following, I think it is important it is to have some kind of support system in place as you are working on losing weight and changing your lifestyle.

When I talk about support in weight loss what comes to your mind? Even as I was typing that sentence I got a visual picture of a group of people sitting around talking about weight related issues. But when I further reflected on  it, I realized that support comes in many different shapes and sizes.

The last time I tried to lose weight, and was finally successful, I did it “on my own.” But did I really do it alone, or in saying that, am I not giving credit to the incredible support my husband gave me throughout those 14 months and beyond? I’m not sure I could have done it without him there cheering me on, and encouraging me if I got discouraged. *Thanks John!*

What are you feelings about support and weight loss?

Some people do very well with a group like Weight Watchers which, if you actually stay for the meetings, has a built in support system within their framework. Other people, like me, do better working a plan on a more individual basis. As with many things in life, there is no one right thing for everyone. And in fact, your needs may change over time.

But support in some form is vital and beneficial. A 1999 study by the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic showed those participants who were recruited for a weight loss study with their friends experienced a higher success rate both during the weight loss phase and beyond. I have found this to be true in my own weight loss class.

In my class, the participants definitely develop a bond with each other, and those who have stronger relationships either with me, or a “buddy” in the group tend to do a little better than those Lone Rangers. The accountability they give to each other seems to help them push through when times get hard. Here are some other benefits that having a good support system can offer:

  • Accountability
  • Encouragement
  • Celebration
  • Sounding Board
  • Advice
  • “Kick in the Pants”

My sweet husband wisely never offered me weight loss advice because he knew better, nor did he ever “kick me in the pants,” but he was always there to encourage me, celebrate with me, listen to me complain, and support me in any way he could. If you have someone who does those things for you, please tell them thank you!

So as you go about your week, think about who makes up your support system. It may be a significant person in your life, or you may be part of a group. I think it’s important to continually evaluate whether or not your support system is still working for you. If you need to make changes, don’t be afraid to make them. And if you need some extra support because your journey is getting to a tough phase, I’d encourage you to make a concerted effort to develop some relationships that are positive and nurturing for you. 

Who do you turn to for support? I’d love for you to share your thoughts!



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About Diane Carbonell

Diane Carbonell is passionate about weight loss. Subscribe to regular blog updates and receive the latest information on weight loss, weight maintenance, and healthy living. Keep up with Diane by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


  1. When I am frustrated or dragging with food issues I turn to my husband who listens silently and waits for me to figure it out. He knows he cannot tell me what I need to do but he can listen and love me until I find what I need to do. I have a mentor who I turn to, who in turn will ask my questions that will help me understand the answers are there if I look at them. I have several close friends who have celebrated their journeys right along with mine and we have shared experience to help each other. I have tools to use each day and through that repetition I have a basis to fall back on when my brain squirrels try to impede my healthier thoughts.

    Before all of the above, I turn to a loving Creator who will always give me peace, love, and direction, if I am willing to ask and receive.

    Jane C recently posted…I am not living my life without cheesecakeMy Profile

  2. Who do I turn to for support? In the following order:
    … lovely hubby (who is ‘usually’ wise enough to keep quiet and let me vent, then figure it out for myself)
    … other weight loss bloggers (I’ve had amazing support and a lot of practical advice this way)
    … Google (you need to be selective but there’s a lot of good stuff out there)

    As to your point about evaluating this regularly, I quite agree. For a while I went to see a dietician but ended up feeling I knew more about how best to do things for me than she did as her advice was pretty generic.
    Deniz recently posted…A line in the sand…My Profile

  3. Dianne, you are so right. Support is crucial in weight loss. I too have came to realize that when a lady who took me under her wings, showed me a group of hers to belong to.
    Belonging to that group gave me the nessasary support I needed to succeed at my weight loss and now maintenance phase.
    blackhuff recently posted…Living in the momentMy Profile

  4. So true. I have several ways I get support. One is through my blog with both strangers and friends from real life reading it. My best friend also has weight struggles and we support each other a lot. My husband is also good about listening.
    Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic recently posted…Week 21 ResultsMy Profile

  5. I did WW years ago but what really helped me at the time was having a friend who did it with me. We also worked out together. Now, my support comes online. Both in the blogging community and on my “diet” forum. For me, I think support makes a big difference. Keeps me going when I might otherwise throw in the towel.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Y’all Come Track Now, Y’hearMy Profile

  6. I lost all of my weight on Weight Watchers. I also have a great support system at home. My husband and friends are all part of my support network. I have different people for different needs. Fitness, health and therapy. Walking around the lake with a good friend is better than therapu AND free. I KNOW I could not do this without supports. GREAT post!
    Jill recently posted…Let Me Count the Ways…My Profile

  7. Diane, just last night on the news they showed a report about how WW is the best “diet plan” out there & they think a lot of it has to do with the meetings & support people get from that.

    I do think people have to really look at who is “hurting” them when they start a weight loss plan & especially as they are succeeding & people may want to put them down – sabotage. People may have to avoid certain friends or people if they try to sabotage them… it is sad but it is true…
    Jody – Fit at 53 recently posted…Protein Peanut Butter Chocolate CookiesMy Profile

  8. I’d say my biggest supports would be my family and the blogging community. I do Weight Watchers, but it’s the online variant and I find their message boards a pain to navigate compared to others I’ve used so I stick with either blogging or SparkPeople for online support :)

    My older son is my biggest cheerleader, I think. He takes huge amounts of pride in the fact that he’s the one who shouted my high weight from the rooftops (okay, from beside the scale at Publix) and then asked, loudly, “Isn’t that quite a lot?” So he feels a bit of ownership in my weight loss, LOL.
    Amanda recently posted…WW Weigh-In, Week 27My Profile

  9. I would have to say both on my part. All my life I had a weight problem, and all the times I tried dieting alone or on a plan I failed. I wasn’t ready to accept what really has to happen and that is change. Losing weight is just the first step, keeping it off is a battle!

    I adored my support group on Nutrisystems when I lost my weight, but then it kind of fell apart. So I went blogging and found another support system and that kind of went by the wayside, but then I found this Group of ladies (Blackhuff mentioned in her comment) and I have found a place to call home. I love the support we give each other, we have a leader who tries her best to help us. I need Group now on maintenance more than anything.
    Sheri @Motivation For Fitness & Health recently posted…Don’t You QuitMy Profile

  10. I spelled my own blog name wrong, too funny… :)
    Sheri @Motivation Health & Fitness recently posted…Don’t You QuitMy Profile

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  13. Not just with weight loss! Having a supportive group, and especially significant other can make all the difference between bing a success of failure. Unfortunately, the opposite with a lack of support or even sabotage is also true!

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  15. My “lifestyle” buddy went off to college so for the last 2 years we’ve journaled online together, text’d back and forth and had many long phone calls. She’s in Dallas on an internship and has just decided to return HOME! I can’t WAIT! She’s such a good, creative cook and eats so healthy! This mom is one happy camper to have her moving back. She “may” even be a good influence on her father’s food choices. She has him wrapped around her little finger. ;) I’m so happy I’m about to burst! I spent 10 days with her in Dallas and we ate out once a day. We tasted some amazing healthy foods and I came home only a few lbs up. Time to get crackin’.

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  19. Great post!

    I have had fantastic ongoing support from my husband. I’ve never had weightloss support “in real life” from anyone else, so it’s great that he’s been behind me 120%. He knows I have to exercise a lot to keep the weight off, and he’s always been very supportive and encouraging about that too. We started going on regular hikes together and now hiking and snowshoeing are a shared passion as our fitness level continues to increase.

    Only this morning, I wanted to run a work-related issue past him as I got dressed for the gym, and as I was on my way out the door, he said, “I enjoyed watching you get dressed – you’re looking so skinny and athletic”. Comments like that make all the hard work worthwhile!