Weight Loss: Don’t Go It Alone

Battling Weight Issues Together = Success

weightOver 78 million American adults are obese, and a new study has some advice: If you are ready to lose a few pounds, don’t go it alone.[1] Baylor School of Medicine psychologist Craig A. Johnson and colleagues received a grant from Weight Watchers International, which they used to conduct a study of 292 overweight participants.1 Half were enrolled in Weight Watchers and half were dieting on their own.1 Results showed that those enrolled in Weight Watchers were eight times more likely to lose five percent of their body weight in six months than those who dieted alone.1

At the six-month mark, those who participated in Weight Watchers lost an average of 10.1 pounds, while those who dieted alone lost an average of 1.3 pounds.1 While the study may be dismissed as a marketing ploy for the dieting giant, its findings did cast light on the complexity of behavior change necessary to lose clinically significant amounts of weight.1 Although education, encouragement, and reward are tools that can help people shed pounds, it does not compare to the power of the social support of a group with a common goal.1

Social Support is Key to Weight Loss

Between the weekly meetings, web-based tools, community message and discussion boards, those who engaged in Weight Watchers were able to receive that social support.1 However, their success at losing a few pounds depended on their attendance at meetings, where veteran members who have been successful shared tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.1 In the study, those who attended most to all meetings were 15.5 times more likely to lose at least five percent of their body weight at the six-month mark.1 Humans are social beings. Making a difficult change in our lives requires social support. Therefore, being around those who encourage and reinforce you is going to be extremely helpful in terms of dieting.1

Don’t Forget to Utilize All Your Weight Loss Tools

Still, using a variety of tools is also important.1 In fact, those who routinely used all of the available resources—online community discussion boards, recipes, point counters, or mobile apps—lost an average of 20 pounds after six months.1 Those who routinely used one or two lost an average of 10 pounds.1

Weight loss is a journey, needing tools and social support along the way to be successful. You can do it.

[1] Healy, M. (2013, October 15). Trying to lose weight? Don’t go it alone, says study. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-weight-loss-weight-watchers-diy-20131015,0,864456.story

One Comment

  • Willetta

    November 10, 2013, 8:34 pm

    If you are trying to lose some weight and keep it off stepping on the scale each day might assist more than hurt.

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