Anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows how difficult it can be. Busy schedules, unhealthy food at every turn and the emotional toll of dieting can make losing weight seem impossible – especially when you’re taking the journey alone.
For many, therein lies the secret.
Several studies cited by Healthline prove that having someone accompany you on your weight loss journey can help you keep off the pounds. A study of couples, for example, found that when one person started a healthy habit, the other one was more likely to follow in their footsteps.
But what do you do if you don’t have a significant other or loved one to help motivate you? It’s simple – join a weight loss support group.
‘Never in My Wildest Dreams’: Lori’s Weight Loss Story
Lori Popp knows the power of a support group. About 19 years ago, doctors told her that she had three years to live as a result of her health issues, many of which stemmed from her weight. Lori decided to undergo bariatric surgery, and her decades-long weight loss journey began.
“I lost 200 pounds,” said Popp. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would lose 200 pounds.”
Her health has been through ups and downs since then, but through it all, she’s maintained her positive attitude. She credits Dr. Raymond Georgen, General Surgeon at ThedaCare, with saving her life and approached him with a new idea following her bariatric surgery:
A weight-loss support group at ThedaCare.
“Many bariatric patients have lived their entire lives being obese,” said Popp. “They need to know they’re not lazy like people think they are. They are the most loving, caring, awesome people, but this disease has taken their life away. Having someone to talk to can make all the difference for them.”
Benefitting from Support
As a patient champion at ThedaCare, Lori meets with people who have questions about bariatric surgery and the lifestyle changes they’ll experience before, during and after their procedure.
“Lori has been an inspiration to countless patients who are considering bariatric/metabolic surgery,” said Dr. Georgen. “She has been a tremendous advocate and has helped many of our patients as they recover post op. It’s hard to imagine how many lives she has impacted with her warm smile and ‘can do’ attitude.”
Lori encourages patients to join or form support groups so they can increase their chances of success and benefit from:
Surrounding yourself with people who share similar weight loss goals is the perfect way to reignite your motivation when progress seems slow. You care about their success, and they care about yours. It’s like having your own personal cheerleader to keep you on track and help you remain positive.
A study from the American Society of Training and Development found that you’re 65% more likely to complete a goal if you commit to someone. If you make a specific appointment with that person to check in on your goals, you increase your chance of success by up to 95%.
3. Long-Term Success
Partnering with a support group can help you maintain your weight loss by ensuring your healthy habits stick long after the initial weight is gone. Bariatric surgery patients who turn their goals into a healthy lifestyle tend to be most successful for the long term.
“Thanks to the support I’ve surrounded myself with, I still have the tools to maintain weight loss 19 years later,” said Popp. “(After gaining weight), I went back to the basics and lost the 25 pounds this year.”
4. Emotional Support
Weight loss journeys contain a lot of emotional ups and downs. Maybe you’re scared of failing, you feel guilty about your choices, or you’re stressed about other things going on in your life. Having a support group is especially important for dealing with the emotional toll of weight loss. Your support group is made up of people who want the best for you. They’re here to listen, offer advice, and keep your spirits up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
“Being a patient champion means the world,” said Popp. “We get to celebrate with patients, and even cry with them. It’s such an emotional rollercoaster. I just want to pay that forward — all of that experience.”
Plan dates or meetups with your workout buddy that blend physical exercise and healthy food with fun! You’ll look forward to spending time together, and might even forget you’re working toward your weight loss goals!
Here are some of our favorite ideas for healthy summertime meetups:
- Hit the water in a kayak or paddleboard
- Play a sport
- Meet at the beach for some swimming
- Do outdoor yoga
- Take advantage of a nearby bike or walking trail
- Set up a family “Olympics” obstacle course in the backyard
- Have a dance party
- Sign up for a group exercise class
- Try a new restaurant with healthy options
- Shop the farmers market for fresh veggies for a farm-to-table family dinner
Establishing a Weight Loss Support Group
Fill your weight loss support group with people who care about you and your well-being! Think about family, friends, social networks and coworkers who might be able to offer you the weight loss motivation you need. Has someone mentioned their own weight struggles to you lately? Ask them if they’d be interested in setting goals together and making a schedule for regular check-ins.
You can also work with a wellness coach, personal trainer or an established support group like ThedaCare’s patient champion program. These are people who are going through the same struggles as you and have a wealth of knowledge and tools to help you succeed.
If committing to a set schedule is difficult, there are a variety of apps, virtual coaching, social media sites, online forums and more that can offer weight loss motivation. Here are some popular options for tracking your progress and staying motivated:
- Loseit forum on Reddit
- FatSecret app
- Noom app
- Fitbit app
- Weight LOSS Support Group on Facebook
- Fox Valley Bariatrics (private Facebook group)
- Bariatric Surgery Real Talk (private Facebook group)
The Power of Human Connection
Maintaining weight loss is hard. Research indicates that about 80 percent of people who lose a significant portion of their body fat won’t be able to maintain that weight for 12 months. This is why it’s so important to set yourself up for success with a weight loss support group.
“I do what I do because these patients need hope and optimism for their future,” said Popp. “They need to know they’re not alone.”
Ready to start your weight loss journey? We can connect you with the expertise and support you need to succeed.