Choosing a Weight-Loss Buddy: A Key to Successful Weight Loss

Tips for a team approach to lifestyle changes

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Do you share your feelings about food, exercise, and weight with other women? Do you really talk, or do you only speak about it superficially—what diet you are currently on, what you ate today, how you cheated, how much you’ve lost or not lost?

Do you ever really talk about what you go through in relation to eating, exercise, and weight? Would you be willing to share your weight-loss secrets with another woman? If you haven’t tried this route before, you may find success with a friendly support system.

When you team up with another woman, you can bounce things off of each other. You can look to your weight-loss buddy for new ideas, and you can give each other added strength, confidence, and hope.

Finding a Buddy

You may already have friends who share similar challenges and hopes. That could be a good place to start. However, if your relationship is already well established and isn’t one where you’d feel comfortable “going deeper” in your conversations or committing to a partnership in your goals, your weight-loss buddy could also be someone you don’t (yet) know so well.

If you belong to a gym, look for like-minded women in a class. You might even ask the instructor if he or she knows of others who would like to work on weight loss with a partner, and the instructor could connect you. The beauty of a gym-based buddy is that you know she is geographically close to you, has already taken some of the same steps you have (joined a gym), and you’d have a built-in meeting place.

No gym? A mothers’ group; church, mosque, or synagogue; public library or town pool; adult education center; or online support group (such as BabyZone’s community board Diet & Exercise Support) are also potential sources for buddies. You might even check posts on Craigslist or other online bulletin boards in your community—or post your own—to find interested partners. You can meet for a walk or a cup of coffee, and see whether your goals and personalities align.

Here’s how to partner up when you’re ready to work on taking off weight:

  • Decide how you will meet—on the phone, through email, or in person.
  • Decide how often you will talk. It’s good to set up a special time at least once a week and stick to it.

Tips for Getting Started

Once you’ve decided how and when you’ll meet to support one another, it is time to get started! Pick a question of the day to discuss from the following list:

  • Do we feel safe enough with each other to really open up? Share your apprehensions about discussing personal matters and make each other feel comfortable enough to talk about real issues.
  • How much do we want to fix our weight problems? Confirm your desire to make lifestyle changes and discuss the aspects you find most challenging.
  • How can we best help each other? Ask each other for what you really need.
  • What are our biggest secrets about our eating and exercise habits? Sharing the things you are most ashamed of will rid you of a big burden.
  • What’s the hardest part of eating healthfully and exercising? Help each other through the rough spots.
  • Do we have confidence in our ability to make better dietary choices? Through mutual support, you can greatly boost your confidence.
  • How can we stay motivated? Together you can create strategies to help you stick to your diets.

Keeping up the Momentum

These are conversation openers for you. It is around issues such as these that women can really bond, support, and inspire one another. As you become a stronger weight-loss team, you will come up with other important questions to add to this list. You’ll find a deep well of knowledge and strategies to dip into when you pool your resources with another woman in this way.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to pick a weight-loss partner who won’t let you down. Many times women try to lose weight together, and too often one will do well through making a serious effort, while the other will not. That is hard on the weight-loss effort and on the friendship. This is a serious endeavor and it won’t help if the woman with whom you team up takes your goals lightly and is not brave enough to explore the issues at hand.

Pick someone you truly like, someone with whom you are comfortable, someone you think will have the utmost respect for your innermost thoughts and feelings. Choose a woman who you consider honest and straightforward, someone who will take this journey to permanent weight loss as seriously as you do. Establish this relationship with a partner who won’t judge you, someone who will have sensitivity to what you feel, what you think, and who you are.

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