Weight Loss: Finding Support
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People who lose weight in groups tend to lose more weight and maintain their new sizes more easily. The mutual support and encouragement helps you tackle the challenges and keeps you going through the ups and downs of reaching your ideal size.
Needing support is normal. By nature, on our journeys through life, we seek companionship and soul mates. Your journey to reach your ideal size is no different. A personal support group can be a huge help. Its members are your cheerleaders, a sounding board, and a place to discuss your eating concerns. Whether your support group is just one other person or 20, being part of a group can make a difference in your success. The good news is that going the distance alone isn't necessary.
If a weight-loss support group fits you, join and stay with it. If it doesn't fit, find another option. A support group that doesn't fit is like a shoe that's too small. No matter what you do, it still isn't going to fit. You don't need to bend and conform so that you can fit into the weight-loss group.
As you know already from experience, losing weight presents many potential roadblocks and some difficult terrain. We're referring to such things as late-night eating binges or unconsciously polishing off the whole bucket of popcorn at the movie. Perhaps in a nervous social setting, you might chomp down on dozens of appetizers or experience emotional upheaval that leads you to drown your sorrows in a quart of ice cream!
Then there's the question of how to emotionally deal with the slip-ups, the little binges, the eating past 5 on the hunger scale. Picking yourself back up and rebuilding your weight-loss resolve can be challenging. Some days it can seem easier to just give up and forget about trying to get to your ideal size.
You don't have to do it alone. Let's repeat that: you don't have to do it alone. A support group can give you the encouragement to keep on keeping on—one day at a time or one phone call at a time until you reach your ideal size.
Support groups come in many varieties. Here are some of your choices:
Formal commercially sponsored groups. These are usually part of national weight-loss programs such as Weight Watchers. Meetings cost about $10 per session and are based on the eating philosophy of the sponsor. But beware. You might have to step on the scale or do other unproductive activities, so preview the group before you join. If you don't feel positively motivated after your first couple meetings, don't go back.
Internet support from such sites as eDiets and iVillage. Since the Internet is perpetually available, you can sign on at any time for information and encouragement. Many of these sites have ongoing chat rooms. Some offer online consultations with registered dietitians and psychologists. (Lucy's website at www.LucyBeale.com and Sandy's website at www.NutritionSandy.com offer information and e-mail support.)
Ongoing groups in your town. These groups are often listed on community bulletin boards and in the local newspapers. Sometimes attendance is free, sometimes not.
A group sponsored by a weight-loss coach, registered dietitian, or by your church. Most likely there's a fee for these groups, but it can be money well spent.
Your own support group. You can form your own small group of friends or acquaintances that meets together for lunch, dinner, at each other's homes, or virtually via the Internet.
Make sure that the support group you choose is uplifting and positive. In some groups, people become very emotional and delve into their heavy-duty life conditions and challenges. Decide whether that feels good to you and, most of all, whether it ultimately supports you in getting to your ideal size. Don't get hooked into a group that's little more than a gripe-whine session.
In addition, when choosing a support group, be sure to attend about three sessions to find out how it feels and whether it meets your needs. Use the following criteria for your decision:
Are the people in the group dealing with many of the same eating and weight issues that you are?
Do the people in the group have about the same amount of weight to lose as you do?
Are the group members losing weight or just talking about it?
Is the flow of the conversation uplifting and positive?
Do the group members really want to get to their ideal size, and are they willing to do what it takes?
Are you comfortable with the weight-loss and eating philosophies presented?
Are the members celebrating their wins at each meeting and getting positive acknowledgement and reinforcement for their progress?
If the group feels right, join it and be an active participant so that you take away something from the meetings and make progress toward your goals. If the time comes when you need to move on, do so. It's perfectly fine to leave the group when it no longer meets your needs. Don't ever let yourself be shamed into staying by the group leader or by the other members.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.