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You can’t lose weight alone: Why a fitness support system works

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Lose weight with a partner

Ever wonder why more than half of the adults in the United States are overweight even though there are so many diet plans (and scams) and tens of thousands of fitness facilities? Dr. Adam Shafran and Lee Kantor, authors of You Can't Lose Weight Alone, believe it is because too few people understand the value of having a partner in health and fitness. Having a workout partner can keep you on track and lead you down the road to successful, long-term weight loss. Here's why.

Fitness Partners

Accountability

In addition to eating right and exercising (both of which are common sense), a support system and being accountable are key in ensuring your weight loss efforts stay strong, sensible and successful. You and your partner may individually break promises to eat better and exercise regularly, but together you will be more likely to stick to your weight loss routine. You don't want to let your workout partner down, do you?

Why a fitness support system works

According to Dr Shafran and Kantor, also known as Dr Fitness and the Fat Guy at DrFitnessAndTheFatGuy.com, you are not alone if you have tried and failed at losing weight. In fact, they say, 95 percent of dieters fail within a year and more than 70 percent of gym-goers quit in less than 90 days. No wonder its seems easier to just give up or try the next fad diet again and again. The truth is, having a partner will lead you to better weight loss success as well as improved health as compared to going it (and falling off your diet and exercise regimen) alone. But why?

A fitness partner improves your compliance

Dr Shafran and Kantor explain, "People enjoy exercise more when they do it with a friend. You dissociate the physicality (and boredom) of exercising with all the fun you are having talking and socializing."

Think of all the times you've ran into a friend at the gym and you both gabbed away next to each other on the treadmills only to have your four mile walk fly by unnoticed. Having a workout buddy makes working out fun – and far more tolerable if exercising for you is like pulling teeth.

A workout buddy helps you get through the rough times

Sometimes you need a little push because your energy or motivation is lagging. That is normal – plan for setbacks – but your partner can keep you from abandoning ship. "Your partner is your insurance policy," say Dr Shafran and Kantor. "She will catch you when you fall. She will forgive you and get you back on the program…quickly." And you will do the same for her.

When you set an appointment with someone, you'll keep it

For the most part, even though people break promises to themselves everyday, they don't miss appointments. Dr Safran and Kantor reiterate, "No one wants to let someone else down." The fitness buddy system requires you to set workout appointments – which you will feel much more compelled to keep since someone is counting on you.

Fitness partners have a collective goal

By working together, you and your partner will both be able to achieve goals faster. By telling someone your goals, you'll more likely reach them because you don't want to look foolish not doing what you told someone you would do, say Dr Shafran and Kantor. In addition, having a common goal with your fitness friend can be helpfully motivating when it seems easier to just give up.

Having a workout partner means you are part of a team

Losing weight is an extremely difficult thing to do. Especially alone. Dr Shafran and Kantor point out, "Look at celebrities. They have a team to help them look good. They have personal trainers, a chef, a makeup artist, a hairstylist and a personal assistant." By partnering with someone, you won't be alone. Your partner is your teammate, someone who is cheering you on, picking you up when you fall, and helping you every step of the way.

Not convinced a partner is the key to your long-term weight loss success? Pick up Dr Shafran and Kantor's book You Can't Lose Weight Alone and check out their weekly radio show every Thursday. You may not think having a partner will help you lose weight, but until you buddy up, you will never know!

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