Buddy Up for Weight Loss
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Buddy Up for Weight Loss

A diet buddy can provide you with companionship, motivation, and positive encouragement. Here's how to find the right buddy for you!

Why Seek Support?

You've decided once and for all to finally take off the extra weight you've been blaming on your last pregnancy -- which was years ago! But this time around you're going to do it right; no quick-fix diet pills, or every meal in the form of a shake for a month. So you've met with your doctor to set realistic weight loss and timeline goals; you've chosen a food management plan that fits your personality and lifestyle; you've even signed up with a personal trainer at a local gym. All your bases are covered. Right? Wrong. You've overlooked an essential component of any successful weight loss plan: support.

Success in Numbers

As kids we were told there was safety in numbers. We were encouraged to buddy up when we were out and about, the idea being our buddy would look out for us, keep us out of harms way, and give us help should we need it. That same kind of support can be extremely beneficial to anyone trying to lose weight. However, buddying up for weight loss isn't about safety in numbers, it's about success in numbers, where fellow dieters team up to help one another achieve their weight loss goals.

Any successful dieter can tell you that will power and discipline are important, but that a nurturing support system makes the difference between sticking with it and giving up. A buddy provides the moral support needed to help keep you focused and on track by being your confidant, cheerleader and drill sergeant all rolled into one. They can make it so you won't feel as if you're in the weight loss game on your own.

Finding a Buddy

You may think the encouragement of your family is all the support you will need, but don't count on it. While they may be sympathetic, your family may not always understand the frustrations you will face with regard to your weight. Your buddy will be the positive, non-judgmental advocate you need. The concept is pretty simple, and finding one can be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Step One: Establishing Your Need

The first thing you need to do is figure out precisely what kind of support you will want your buddy to provide-because it can differ for each individual. Are you hoping to find someone who will help you stick to your diet, especially during the tempting hours at work (you know those two hours immediately before or after lunch when the munchies come calling), or to go with you to market on grocery day to keep you away from the snack aisle? Maybe you want a workout buddy; someone who will not only encourage you to maintain your exercise plan, but who will go on that power walk with you each morning. Or perhaps you're looking for a peer group where you can share tips and advice, and receive positive feedback when you hit your weight loss wall.

Whatever your need(s), you should clearly establish them before beginning your search. And once you find your buddy, be sure to take the time to discuss your mutual goals with each other; remember this will be a give and take arrangement.

Step Two: Finding the Right Fit

Your ideal buddy should be like a comfortable pair of shoes: a comfortable fit. When thinking about candidates, consider:

Location -- you'll want someone who is readily accessible. A hard to reach buddy is going to be less effective than someone who can be there for you in a flash.

Lifestyle -- the best candidate will be someone who has a similar schedule as yours and is available to meet when you are. If you're a stay-at-home mom with two small kids, your single friend with the 9-to-5-office job may not be an ideal match.

Personality -- someone who is supportive yet stern is your best bet. Your buddy shouldn't intimidate you, nor should they be overly indulgent. They should be even handed in their ability to encourage you without being too tolerant of whining or laziness.

Step Three: Making Your Choice

So where can you go to find a buddy? Anywhere, really, but again, it's about finding the right fit in terms of location, personality and lifestyle. Consider the following:

The Office -- work based buddies can help each other by bringing in healthful lunches and snacks on alternating days, taking a lunch hour aerobics class together several times a week, or setting aside an allotted period of time at the end of each work day to discuss any progress or setbacks.

The Office -- work based buddies can help each other by bringing in healthful lunches and snacks on alternating days, taking a lunch hour aerobics class together several times a week, or setting aside an allotted period of time at the end of each work day to discuss any progress or setbacks.

Friends and Family -- whether it's your mom, your best friend or your baby brother, the people close to you are often ideal choices because they know your limits as well as your strengths. And it's all the more rewarding to be working towards a healthier you with someone you love.

Organize a Group -- organizations like Weight Watchers? champion the idea of group support as an aid for weight loss. You can create your own support group by starting with a pre-existing group-like your playgroup, or friends from your local church or temple-then setting a weekly meeting time and place. As the saying goes, "If you build it, they will come!"

Connect Online -- this is ideal if you live in a rural area where friends are often far away. Many women's issues or parenting web sites often have {entire community areas} dedicated to weight loss where you can be sure to find a like-minded soul ready to team up with you.


Being a Good Buddy

Remember that to truly benefit from the buddy system you need to establish a give and take relationship. It's just as important for you to bolster your buddy when they hit an exercise rut or to be there in their time of crisis. But also keep it light. Make time to do nurturing things like going for a manicure when one or the other reaches a significant goal; or have a potluck lunch with your group, where you can try out each other's tasty, low-cal recipes. By keeping your buddy relationships energized and upbeat, you'll all reap the benefits of strength in numbers.