7 Places to Find Support on Your Weight Loss Journey


It’s much easier to stick with a weight loss and exercise plan when you have support.

By joining a support group, whether in-person or online, you can share tips on diet and exercise, find an exercise buddy, and discuss your struggles and successes. Support groups can also help enhance your mental health as you face any challenges of your new healthy lifestyle.

Support comes in many forms. Here are seven places you can find the help you need during your journey to a new, healthier you.

Having others to talk to who are facing the same challenges as you is key to long-term success. Together, you can make healthy choices as you overcome unhealthy behaviors. In-person support groups offer companionship on top of accountability.

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) maintains a list of in-person support groups by state.

Overeaters Anonymous also allows you to search for local meetings that can help you overcome eating and dietary challenges.

These meetings may be held at local hospitals and often include medical professionals who can answer your questions. The organization provides access to over 6,500 meetings in over 80 countries.

Participating in a weight loss program with a group of friends may result in more weight loss than doing the same weight loss program alone.

In an older study involving 166 people, 76 percent of those who were recruited alone completed the weight loss program. Only 24 percent maintained their weight loss in full over the course of 10 months.

Among those recruited with friends, 95 percent completed treatment and 66 percent maintained their weight loss in full over 10 months.

A more recent review found that diet and exercise programs delivered in groups are more effective for promoting weight loss. On average, people in a group program lost about 7.7 pounds more than people who didn’t enroll in a group program after six months.

You can team up with a few friends to join a local gym and take classes or search online for an exercise group nearby. You can also search Meetup.com for weight loss or group fitness training.

If you can’t find anything in the area, ask your doctor or nutritionist for a referral to an exercise program.

If you’re seeking the help of medical professionals, another option is to join small weight-loss groups based at universities or medical centers. Psychologists, nutritionists, or other weight-loss professionals often run these clinic-based support groups.

Over the course of several weeks or months, you’ll be given individualized attention to assist you with formulating a new healthy lifestyle. Ask your doctor or contact a local university to see if any similar programs are available.

There are plenty of online support forums available. Most forums offer a safe place for members to share stories, diet and exercise plans, and to seek motivation.

Examples include:

Keep in mind, though, that many of the people on these forums aren’t medical professionals and may offer you inaccurate advice. Always check with a doctor before starting a new diet plan or exercise program.

Weight loss apps are incredibly useful. They can help you track your calorie intake and exercise. Many of them also offer support in the form of social media connections and chat rooms.

For example, MyFitnessPal has a message forum where you can connect with other users to share tips and success stories. Or, you can create your own group with a more specific focus.

The app for the wearable fitness sensor Fitbit also has strong community features.

Once you purchase a Fitbit sensor, you can connect with other friends and family who also have a Fitbit. You can participate in challenges with them and even find a local challenge with people you don’t know.

Another app known as FatSecret allows you to chat with others and create or join groups to connect with people who have similar goals.

While these programs often come with a cost, they may be the best choice to keep you engaged and focused on an exercise and diet program.

WW (Weight Watchers), for example, is one of the most popular weight-loss programs in the world. Its success is at least partially owed to its use of social support.

Every membership level — including a basic membership — provides 24/7 online chat support and access to their digital community. You can also access group meetings or receive one-on-one support from a coach for an additional cost.

Another commercial program that has shown success in long-term studiesTrusted Source is Jenny Craig. Along with a meal delivery program, Jenny Craig offers community-based support in the form of online forums and member blogs.

7. Bariatric surgery support groups

If your doctor suggests bariatric surgery, your entire life approach will likely change following it. You’ll have to stick to a strict diet and adjust to life with your new appearance. It’s important to be able to talk with others who are going through the same changes as you.

Ask your bariatric surgery center for a referral to a bariatric surgery group or try searching on Meetup.com for a bariatric surgery group nearby. These groups are often open to people who have undergone weight-loss surgery, as well as those who are considering the procedure. Friends and family may also be welcome to attend with you.

If you’re living with obesity, one of the best ways to get started on your weight loss journey is to find a group of people to support you along the way.

Friends, family, and even strangers can give you the motivation you need and the advice that’ll help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Online forums, in-person support groups, and social media apps can all help you through your weight loss journey.

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