Will Your Social Circle Help You Lose Weight?

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Who is in your social circle? How do they influence your weight loss efforts? Is your buddy ready to dive into the buffet bars again? Is she content to passively play on her phone rather than get up and move? All of this makes a difference.

Research tells us that our social circle greatly influences our health behaviors. Having the right people around you makes a difference. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, if  you have a friend who became obese, you have a 57% chance of also becoming obese. Think about it. Are the chips and ice cream brought our during sporting events or card games? My brother is notorious for this. Card games mean a whopping bowl of ice cream will be on the table with the card deck! And if you are in the weight loss mode, watching someone snack away can be difficult. Now, you can bring your own low calorie snacks to the next football play off. It helps! But carrots versus brownies…hmmmm.

We know from studies that if you and a friend decide to lose weight together, your chances of sticking it out increase. So teaming up with friends to accomplish a weight loss goal is a good idea. This is why so many weight loss programs encourage groups to meet. It’s all about the support and encouragement to keep going despite all the temptations to quit.

Also, think about physical activity among your friends. Do you have a few that invite you to walk at lunch? Maybe there is a group who plays tennis or hikes on the weekends. Physical activity helps during weight loss so finding that social circle of active exercise makes a big difference. You need others to inspire you to get out there and be active. I remember when I didn’t want to walk every day, I had a friend who called and said we are doing it. I had no excuses and she kept me motivated. Otherwise, I would have talked myself out of it on most days.

Social support can be emotional, physical, and inspirational. You might need a friend to encourage you when you are ready to give up. Or maybe a family member to inspire you to reach your goal. And as I mentioned, an exercise friend may be needed to pull you off the couch and get you moving.

When it comes to weight loss,  think about who is in your social circle. It is easier to stick to your plan when others around you are on board. Now, it doesn’t mean you have to ditch all your friends and find new ones. You can still set your own goals. And you could look for a community group or a wellness challenge to join. Many work places have these. And if you still can’t find a group, form  your own. You might be the encouragement others need.

So this year, when you decide weight loss is one of your goals, consider your social circle. Make sure you have the support to keep going when you run out of steam. A little help from friends is always a good idea.

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Dr. Linda Mintle Author, Speaker, Professor, Media Personality and Licensed Therapist Host of the Dr. Linda Mintle Radio Show, Faith Radio It is rare that a trained academic who speaks passionately to the heart of people providing real answers to real life problems is so relatable. Dr. Linda’s fun personality and expertise comes through whether she’s helping her audience stress less or make peace with their thighs! Dr. Linda has her Ph.D. in Urban Health and Clinical Psychology and is a national expert on mental health. She has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and pain management. With 30 years of clinical experience working with couples, families and individuals, she brings her common-sense approach to people who want to live in positive mental health. Dr. Linda is also a bestselling author with 20 book titles to her credit, a radio host of the Dr. Linda Mintle show, professor, national speaker, winner of the Mom’s Choice Award, a national news consultant, featured writer for Beliefnet and hosts her own website. Her academic appointments keep her abreast of current research in her areas of expertise. Her media experience includes seven years as the resident expert for ABC Family’s Living the Life television show and regular appearances on network television and radio. It is often said that being with Dr. Linda is like having coffee with a friend. She makes the complicated issues of relationships and mental health easy to understand and applicable to everyday living. The ease she has with people, coupled with her clinical training and experience makes her a sought-after speaker on college campuses, conferences and special events. Whether she is doing a TV skit with Tim Conway or discussing teen violence with Queen Latifa, Dr. Linda will entertain, educate and integrate faith and mental health in everyday living.