As a component of her Clean Eating Diet Plan, founder Ashy Bines provides an online forum where dieters can connect with each other to share information and offer mutual support. Ashy Bines knows that making significant changes to one’s diet and daily habits can be hard work, and people need a support system to stay motivated.
Experts believe that people benefit by teaming with others on their weight loss journeys; in fact, it can make the difference in whether they are successful in achieving their goals. However, individuals differ in their relationship needs and the form of communication. Some seek out others for encouraging words, while others are more interested in being held accountable for their weight loss activities. Some dieters thrive by forming partnerships with those with whom they can share real life experiences, such as exercise. Others find that Internet buddies are the best solution because of the anonymity. Of course, dieters may incorporate various forms of social support, including family, friends, and social support groups, whether in-person structured groups or casual online forums.
The value of social support has been shown in various studies. For example, research findings of a University of Pennsylvania study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 95% of people who participated in a weight loss treatment program in conjunction with social support stayed in the program, and two-thirds of them maintained their weight loss. By contrast, only 76% of those who participated in the weight loss treatment program without social support finished the program, and only 24% maintained their weight loss. Research about weight loss programs suggests social support provides dieters an environment that stimulates motivation and builds self-esteem and the capacity for self-control.