Dieting With the Support of Online Girlfriends
By Joey Dweck
Most of us have the best of intentions when, as our favorite clothes become just a little too snug, we finally resolve to shed some pounds. Swimsuit season often provides an added incentive, as we run out of ways to hide those extra inches that somehow invaded our bodies over the winter and spring. But what happens? Our hectic schedules don’t magically become any less hectic when the calendar reads summer, what with busy work schedules and the heightened desire to engage in fun outdoor activities with significant others, children and friends.
Our girlfriends, regardless of their own shapes or sizes, can be an important source of encouragement in our efforts become more comfortable in our own bodies. But let’s face it. Even our BFFs are just as busy and strapped for time as we are. As much as they’d like to, they sometimes provide the kind of moral and emotional support we crave to attain our weight loss goals.
What about social media support? While Facebook and MySpace can provide us with a forum to somewhat anonymously share and receive an understanding “ear” about our innermost hopes and dreams, when it comes to dieting, specifically dedicated online social networks can be more helpful in enabling us to achieve our weight loss goals.
• An online support system provides a mutual support system with virtual sisters. Apart from time constraints often inherent in interacting with our “real” friends, our self-consciousness sometimes means that we’re less forthcoming with those closest to us. We could be more honest about our weight-loss struggles and occasional failures online.
• Take full advantage of a one-on-one support system. An online community of like-minded women, all striving toward the same goal, provides a powerful and compassionate network toward achieving your weight-loss goals. Take advantage, ladies. Here’s hoping that we lose!
• We can hold ourselves accountable to others with personal blogs and food journals. Remember those teenage diaries in which you entered your innermost secrets? Share your foibles, frustrations and triumphs, however big or small, with your new online girlfriends. And read theirs. They’re experiencing the same things!
• Share exercise routines and weight trackers. You relish sharing good news with your friends! Tell your online friends how many more sit-ups you’re performing at the gym, or how much more time you spent on the Stairmaster. Share how that translates to a two-pound weight loss this week.
• Provide and receive meal planning and recipe tips. You’re always dreaming about that decadent tasting pasta dish without the calories that add inches to the hips. Find them online, and tell others your secrets for healthy-yet-tasty dishes.
• Post your diet-related thoughts, Facebook-style. Provide regular, pithy or otherwise, updates reflecting your thoughts or moods as they relate to your weight-loss efforts. Feeling fat today? You’ll get an understanding, empathic ear and feel better when you read that you’re not alone.
• Gain access to expert, weight-loss advice. The Internet is a fount of information about everything. Weight-loss support and online dieting sites are no exception. And unlike consulting with a dietician, they don’t cost anything.
Joey Dweck is the Founder and CEO of WeightLossBuddy.com, an online community that caters to the needs of those wanting to lose weight and get in shape.
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