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:
- Sounding Board
- “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!