Do We Really Need a Weight Loss Buddy?

Face to face support from people who you do know or an online weight loss buddy?

It is well-known fact, that people receiving social support from family and friends lose more weight and maintain their weight loss results better than those who are participating alone. In the context of weight loss, social support can make an individual feel either loved, esteemed, accepted, valued or motivated. Social support has been linked to better health outcomes and as having a positive effect on weight loss behavior and weight maintenance.However, with social media on the rise, you can find a number of online platforms and forums recommending and offering online weight loss buddies. This brings up the question “which is the better choice an online buddy or the family support”?  

Who is the online weight loss buddy?

A quick online search will give you the answers. Weight loss buddy is someone that you can email or text at any time. He or she will keep you focused on your weight loss goals and has the determination and support which you need.If you do the weight loss in a lonely way it can go in the wrong direction. In general, this is the person you can lean on whenever you struggle to keep going.

Pros and Cons of going for an online buddy. 

As a rule, people who are trying to lose weight compare themselves to others in their network. Seeing others succeeding motivate them to try harder. However, the passive consumption of Facebook feeds, for example, has been linked to increased loneliness and some users have reported that social comparison was a barrier to talking about their weight-loss behaviors online.The social comparison may only be effective when comparing oneself to others working toward similar goals and when the difference between the individual and the network members is relatively small. In other words, if you decide to go for an online weight loss buddy, you need someone with similar goals. 

Why Face to Face social support is more influential?

Participants in a recent study from  2017 indicate that knowing being confronted by a friend face to face were more influential than computer-mediated accountability.

It is a fact that approximately 75% of college students’ Facebook friends are not close connections. Facebook is used to cultivate a positive sense of self-worth and it is not surprising that individuals are hesitant to share information that might alter how they are perceived by others.

 Facebook use is also motivated by a desire to belong and therefore as individuals are exposed to new network norms of regular physical activity and healthy dietary habits they may be more likely to adopt these behaviors and talk about them online.

All things considered, the online weight loss buddy can be a good solution but only if chosen wisely. How will you feel if your weight loss buddy loses more weight than you for the same time and on the same diet, for example? Will you stay motivated in a situation like this?In which direction the social comparison will work then?The social comparison could be damaging. It has the potential to ruin your self-esteem and motivation at once. Leaning on close friends or your family- people who you do know and trust will always be the better choice for weight loss support. Furthermore, you can turn your family into your online weight loss buddies and take the best from both. 




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