How your friends can help you hit your goals faster
If you’ve been trying to lose weight and struggling because
- you keep falling off the wagon …
- you get stuck for ideas on how to eat or exercise in an enjoyable way …
- your motivation keeps landing in the trash …
… help is at hand! Your best allies for winning at weight loss might be closer than you think.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be a lonely ride on the struggle bus.
It can be pretty tough traveling the road to better health alone.
Most of the time, when life gets hard, we turn to our friends, family, and partners. We can rely on them to give us a reassuring squeeze, offer some kind words, and love us even when we’re a snotty mess.
Did you know that your loved ones can also be the people to help you smash your weight loss goals?
What if you redesigned your weight loss journey to include more fun, more laughter, and more support?
Sounds good, huh? It’s really simple too. All you need to do is find a weight loss buddy!
The science behind weight loss buddies
Science backs up the idea that social support (in other words, having allies, cheerleaders, and metaphorical “partners in crime”) makes a big difference when we’re trying to transform our bodies.
For instance, in a study, people on a 15-week weight loss program either buddied up with someone else — a family member, a friend, or a romantic partner — or went at it alone. The results were pretty remarkable: Those who had a buddy lost weight, lowered their BMI, and dropped their waist circumference significantly more than those without.
When we look at intermittent fasting specifically, a study found that social support was a key factor in people’s ability to complete their fasts and made it easier for them to stick to their intermittent fasting schedule.
And, although relationships of all kinds are helpful (hey, even your dog is rooting for you to go for a walk), a study explored how romantic partners in particular can support each other. It found that people were more able to lose weight and stick to their goals when they worked together to:
- implement dietary changes;
- motivate and encourage each other;
- support each other emotionally; and
- exercise as a couple.
The value of social support beyond weight loss
Your social health (the relationships and interactions you have with those around you) affects your physical health in more ways than you might realize.
Your social health matters in a clinical sense.
For instance, a study found that feeling satisfied with your relationships at midlife can predict your long-term health better than your cholesterol levels.
Research also shows that people with strong, healthy social connections get over illness more quickly, live longer, and have a lower risk of chronic disease. In comparison, those with fewer positive social connections tend to be more depressed and have a higher risk of premature death.
And your social health matters in a behavioral sense.
Our friends, family, and partners can be role models — if they join a gym, maybe you try it too.
They can be cheerleaders, encouraging you to try new foods or boosting your confidence to go after a goal.
They can be activity partners who get you up for an early morning swim or after-work hike.
There are so many ways the people around you can influence your behavior (not all of them helpful, as you’ll know if one of your loved ones leads you astray more frequently than you’d like).
What if, instead of leaving it to chance, you harnessed that?
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to eat better and exercise regularly when those around you support your efforts.
- If you’re having a rough day, they can pick you up and cheer you on.
- If you’re ready to bail on your workout, they can talk you through the blocker or exercise with you.
- If you’re stuck for dinner inspiration and takeout is calling your name, they can help you think up some meal ideas.
- If you’re feeling unmotivated, they can remind you of your why and help you rally.
But they can only help if they’re a part of your team.
Get a buddy on board
Think about the people in your life right now: your friends, family, partner, colleagues, and wider community.
- Who’s out there working on a similar goal to you?
- Who is supportive and encouraging?
- Who do you trust to have your back?
- Who would be fun to partner up with?
Once you’ve got some folks in mind, go get ‘em, tiger! Invite your people to join you on your quest to lose weight, eat well, and build some new healthy habits.
We’ve got the perfect 3-step way for you to do just that:
Step 1: Join SIMPLE by taking our quiz.
Step 2: Invite a friend, family member, or partner to join SIMPLE too. Click the button below to copy a done-for-you invite to your clipboard, so you can easily send them the details.Copy invite
Step 3: Start supporting each other to succeed.
Not only will you reach your goals faster (and have more fun doing it), you’ll be supporting someone you love and nurturing a relationship that means something to you, too.
Physical and social health win-win!
- Dailey R, Romo L, Myer S, Thomas C, Aggarwal S, Nordby K, et al. The Buddy Benefit: Increasing the Effectiveness of an Employee-Targeted Weight-Loss Program. J Health Commun. 2018 Feb 16;23(3):272–80.
- O’Connor SG, Boyd P, Bailey CP, Nebeling L, Reedy J, Czajkowski SM, et al. A qualitative exploration of facilitators and barriers of adherence to time-restricted eating. Appetite. 2022 Nov 1;178:106266.
- Theiss JA, Carpenter AM, Leustek J. Partner Facilitation and Partner Interference in Individuals’ Weight Loss Goals. Qual Health Res. 2016 Aug;26(10):1318–30.
- Malone JC, Cohen S, Liu SR, Vaillant GE, Waldinger RJ. Adaptive midlife defense mechanisms and late-life health. Pers Individ Dif. 2013 Jul 1;55(2):85–9.