I learned that obesity loves company. When I was overweight and weighed 300 pounds, I honestly felt most comfortable around other people who were also weight challenged. I knew they were not judging me, and they were great company when I really wanted to just “pig out” at a restaurant without worrying what people would think of me. After all, they too needed to lose a pound or two.
It turns out that it was not just my personal perception that obesity loves company. Many studies have shown that people who are overweight tend to eat more when other people also eat more, and they also tend to gravitate toward other overweight people.
The good news is that a recent study by The Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University found that weight loss success breeds weight loss success among team members who were trying to lose weight as part of a team weight loss competition. It’s like The Biggest Loser in a medical setting. The participants who lost the most weight tended to be part of the team that lose the most significant amount of weight.
Success is contagious.
Reading this study made me think about how important it is to not only determine for yourself that you will lose weight for your own health, but it can also be very important to your journey to be part of a larger community.
I have to admit that I’m a bit of an anomaly in this, although there may be some of you that are like me. I found I did better when I did not participate in a weight loss group. Perhaps that’s because of my more naturally introverted tendencies and my own tendency to “follow the crowd” in eating.
However, when I teach my weight loss classes, I notice that the participants who lose the most weight or feel the most enthusiastic about their weight loss prospects are those who are the most engaged in the group. Those that quit, and there are always some, are those who are not as engaged, and not really ready to lose weight.
The abundance of online weight loss support systems makes it so easy to search and find a group that you relate to. And of course, the blogging community provides instant support through your own personal blogs, twitter, and Facebook.
What has your experience been? Is weight loss contagious? Diane