Reducing calories is a crucial strategy.
Although some fad diets would have you believe weight loss isn’t about calories, make no mistake. Creating a calorie deficit is of great importance to successful weight loss. Without it, there is no weight loss.
There is another factor, however, that is a crucial success factor and is extremely helpful when it comes to sticking to a reduced calorie food plan. It’s one that a lot of people would like to ignore or avoid. It’s group support. I can hear people groan with protest at so much as mentioning group support.
There are people who are willing to give group support a try if they could attend a homogenized meeting. In other words, “I want a meeting for….
- Only men
- Moms with toddlers
- People with 50 pounds to lose
- People with 100 pounds or more to lose
- People who are maintaining their goal
- Women in their 20s
- Women in their 30s
- Women in their 40s
- Women 50+
They’re saying, “I want a meeting with people who are just like me, because I can relate to them and they can understand me. I’m comfortable with my kind.”
It’s true there’s comfort to be found in a group of people with whom you have much in common. A closed network ensures everybody knows each other and more importantly, shares values, as well as a similar lifestyle. That closed network, comfortable as it may be, reduces the power of group support.
Every day we interact with our tight, little group of people who surround us. Our closed networks consist of familiar family members, friends, and professional colleagues. We live our lives rarely going outside of our closed networks and in a lot of ways, that suits us well. Limiting our contact to only those in our closed network can undermine success in many areas, especially weight loss.
You might be one of the many people who tried to lose weight on your own and failed. Repeating the same mistakes results in the same outcome. Reaching outside of your network could be crucial to your success in ways you need to experience to appreciate.
When large animal vet joined an open network weight loss group his first impression was, “I don’t belong here.” He joined as a result of commercials he saw on TV that made it appear that as many men as women participated in the program.
The group was entirely women ranging in ages from mid thirties to late seventies. There were grandmas, stay-at-home moms with kids ranging in age from infant to teen, young career women, and students. Except for all being women and seeking weight loss, they were a diverse group.
He said his feeling of having made a mistake faded when he received welcoming smiles from many of the members of the group. “They were clearly surprised to see me,” he laughs.
“I am a relatively young man and most people wouldn’t consider me overweight. I’d gained about 20 pounds over the past 10 years and in my work, which is very physical. By the end of the day I’m beat and these 20 extra pounds are killing me.”
After a few visits to the weekly meeting he felt very much a part of the group, but what really impressed him was how many new ideas he learned about cooking, shopping, and eating to lose weight from this group that he incorporated into his daily actions.
“At that first meeting I didn’t think I’d be going back, but I gave it a second week. I basically wanted to weigh in to see how well I did my first week on program. The next week there are a woman who was awarded Lifetime Membership.”
He recalls, “she lost 170 pounds and of course that was inspirational in itself. She shared how important the group was to her success. I felt overwhelmed about needing to lose 20 pounds, but hearing she managed to lose 170, then I figured I could take off 20. I learned things about shopping and portion control from the group that I never would have thought of on my own.”
As in any group support meeting, a common goal brings people together who would never have contact with each other. Connecting with people with whom you seemingly have nothing in common inspire creativity. Creativity is essential for breaking out of a pattern that doesn’t yield results and finding a new approach that works.
Group support meetings are an open network in which new people come in all the time exposing others in the group to new ideas rather than relying on the same assumptions. This promotes combining more ideas in a variety of ways resulting in the members of the group benefitting by becoming more confident, knowledgable, and successful.
If you want to be successful, open your mind to this crucial strategy by opening your network.