Last week Sonja helped us with choosing apps for keeping food records – one strategy research shows is key for successful weight loss. Another crucial piece to the weight management puzzle – and making healthier choices – is being able to rely on support from family, friends and colleagues.
That’s important because getting to and staying a healthy weight is AICR’s first recommendation for cancer prevention. Too much body fat increases risk for eight cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast, and endometrial cancers.
When you experience a setback in your weight loss efforts, you might think you just need more willpower or to be mentally stronger, but research shows that even with our best efforts, those around us affect our weight loss success. I saw that dynamic in action too many times in my work with college students trying to lose weight. They’d be making progress with eating less junk food or finding ways to be more active, and then time at home with family and friends could quickly seem to undo the good work.
But you can change that. You may be starting new habits this fall making positive eating or activity changes, so how can you make sure you have the support you need? Here are 3 tips to help you garner positive help from those around you:
- Identify at least one friend or colleague who consistently makes healthy choices and is willing to be supportive.Talk with him/her to determine what that support will be – it may include regular check-ins, eating lunch together or exchanging daily texts with ideas or encouragement.
- Let family or friends know how they can be supportive. Ask them to help in specific ways. For example, say “One of my strategies is to not keep sugary drinks in my house – I have a variety of no-calorie drink choices, but you are welcome to bring your own beverage.”
- Join AICR’s New American Plate Challenge community, our 12-week free online program for healthier living and weight loss. We offer several ways for Challengers to find support. All participants can join in the conversation on the web forums – you can post successes, struggles and share ideas for how you are working to meet each week’s challenge. You can also post questions for other challengers to answer or one of our NAP Challenge Registered Dietitians may chime in with suggestions or resources. For some personal attention, you can upgrade your participation level for an individualized phone session with one of the NAP Challenge Dietitians.
However you find your supportive community, do make this a priority. For more on successful strategies for losing weight and keeping it off, learn from 3,000 people who lost at least 30 lbs and kept most of it off for 10 years.