At some point in our lifetimes we’re all faced with the challenge of losing weight or changing our habits to lead a healthier lifestyle.
For many, losing weight means having more energy, having more choice when shopping for clothes or simply having a little more body confidence.
But, losing weight can address far more serious problems. Studies show that being overweight makes you more prone to developing some worrying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and some cancers.
Although losing weight offers a solution to many of these health conditions, achieving a target weight and maintaining it is not easy.
Losing weight and keeping it off means making a long term commitment to eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise.
Luckily, there are many options for those who want to live a healthier, longer life. Nutritional advice, meal planners, portion control plates and slimming aids such as meal replacement shakes or fat binders all contribute to realising weight loss goals.
However, although these all play their part, nothing is more effective for sustainable weight loss than personal motivation combined with social support and encouragement.
Research by Harvard and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that for anyone trying to lose weight, group support is absolutely vital to success.
The Harvard study monitored the weight loss achievements of 800 people on different diet plans over two years.
They found that the “more support sessions participants attended, the more weight they lost and the less weight they regained” and that “the average weight loss among participants who attended the support group sessions was 20 lbs compared to 9 lbs for those who did not.”
The NIH Study found that in addition to group support sessions where people hoping to lose weight could meet and discuss their experiences face-to-face, there were additional advantages for those who sought group support online.
Their study found that access on an online “weight loss community plays a prominent role in participants’ weight loss efforts—roles which might not be adequately filled by clinicians or offline family and friends.”
Participants reported that being able to access the online community at any time of day was uniquely convenient. As well as getting support and encouragement to lose weight, they communicated with others who understood the real physical and emotional difficulties of being overweight.
Being able to discuss weight loss goals, take part in challenges and shares their successes and failures anonymously and without fear of judgement gave participants’ confidence and boosted their motivation.
Furthermore, using online tools such as weight and measurement trackers, exercise tutorials and a variety of healthy eating meal planners in conjunction with group support, helps users to set, and stick to weight loss targets.
To find out how you can achieve your weight loss goals with slimming aids, free professional advice and a supportive online community, visit your local Rowland’s Pharmacy instore or online for more information.