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How Your Friends Might Be Sabotaging Your Efforts To Lose Weight

Do you think it's better to go it alone or use the buddy system?

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When it comes to losing weight, are friends your allies or your weight-loss foes? Although our family and friends want the best for us, there is evidence that suggests even our BFFs may do things that sabotage our weight-loss efforts.

That’s right, seemingly innocent comments from friends such as, “You don’t need to lose weight,” or “Let’s start our diet after we eat these French fries,” can make it much more difficult to shed those pounds.

Conversely, we’ve always been told that having a “weight-loss buddy,” or someone who can keep you accountable, is a good thing.

So, which idea is correct? Should we enlist our friends and family to help us slim down or keep our weight-loss goals to ourselves?

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When To Share Your Weight-Loss Goals With Friends And Family

Telling your family or friends about your weight-loss goals can help you shed the weight—if the people you surround yourself with share the same goal. A 2014 study found that accountability to others was the key motivating factor that helped a group of female test subjects drop pounds and keep them off.

“What this study shows is that if you can find that one friend who has the same goals or can just hold you accountable, it is really helpful,” said researcher Catherine J. Metzgar.

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If you don’t already have friends who share your weight-loss goals, attending a weight-loss support group or meeting new people at the gym could help you find a positive support system. (It certainly worked for this group of four women, who lost a total of 422 pounds)

When To Keep Quiet About Your Weight-Loss Goals

Among the reasons why you might not want to share your weight-loss plans: jealousy. Experts have found that feelings of competitiveness and inferiority can be triggered in a person when a friend starts losing weight. Those feelings can lead some to sabotage your weight-loss efforts by encouraging you to cheat or by refilling your wine glass without asking, after you’ve announced your desire to lose weight.

Once you begin dropping the pounds, you may also find yourself skipping out on meals and other food-centric events in order to spend more time at the gym. That can cause some friends to find you “boring” or feel disappointed that you are no longer up for calorie-laden happy hours. And whether intentional or not, it might have the effect of them wanting to “change you back” so that you can spend more time with them.

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Regardless of whether the sabotage is intentional or not, experts have found that, if you want to lose weight, you might be better off concealing or downplaying your weight loss in order to avoid friends undermining you. Instead, finding a likeminded community or even online support may help you to reach your weight-loss goals.