It’s the strangest thing: you make a decision to change some unhealthy habits and try to finally shed those last stubborn pounds. You’ve talked about your weight loss goals with your family and friends. And yet it seems like the moment you decide to be healthier is the exact time your spouse chooses to pick up fast food for dinner to “make life easier,” or your friend comes over to catch up over coffee, with a box of doughnuts in tow. It’s hard enough sometimes to stay steadfast in your diet; and those gestures—though you know they come from a good place—really, really, don’t help. Here are a few ideas to get the support you need to succeed:
Be specific. If there are chocolate doughnuts in the house, you’ll likely eat one now and probably another later; and when you smell French fries, your stomach rumbles. You know that, but maybe your loved ones need to be reminded. Think about the foods and behaviors that cause your diet to derail, and share those details with your friends or family so they better understand how to help you stay on track.
Recruit a weight loss buddy. Research suggests friends who do a weight loss program together lose more weight—and do a better job of keeping it off—than people who go at it alone. The same may hold true for virtual friends: another recent study showed dieters who make more connections in online weight loss communities—by logging in regularly, recording their weigh-ins and ‘friending’ other members—lost more than 8 percent of their body weight in six months.
Sign up for text support. In a Duke University study, participants woke up to a text that read “please text yesterday’s # of steps you walked, # of sugary drinks and if you ate fast food,” and received personalized feedback and a tip based on their responses. After six months, the texters each lost about 3 pounds, while a group of women who tracked their health habits in more traditional ways gained an average of 2.5 pounds. Ask a friend to text you daily to help you keep tabs on your habits, or search for a text-based weight loss service that sends you motivational messages or helps track your progress.