07/27/2012 08:26 am ET Updated Sep 26, 2012

The Power of a Positive Support Group

There's no question: Sticking to your weight loss program is easier when you have support. The first line of support must come from within. If you've started your own weight loss journey then you have shown that you have taken the first steps to loving yourself. Never forget that. That inner spark of determination is more powerful than anything else. Often it is easy to become discouraged when facing the obstacles ahead, and it's easy to fall back into old patterns and habits. Love yourself enough to fight through them.

The second line of support includes family and friends. They can be your greatest cheerleaders and your harshest critics. Sometimes it's difficult for those closest to us to understand our desire for change. It is very important to identify the family and friends that truly support your journey. To set some realistic expectations, some may be the support you need and others may not. They may even take offense, thinking there is something wrong with them or their relationship with you. It is totally okay to love the family and friends that may not support your weight loss journey, but it will be most beneficial to surround yourself with those that do. Keep reading for a few tips on how they can help you in your journey.

The third line of defense includes weight loss clubs, fitness communities, or online support groups. Places like Facebook, your local gym, Crossfit, walking clubs, civic groups or churches are a great place to find support. The more the merrier.

No matter who you choose to support you there are a few basic things you can do to help them help you. Rally your support team by telling them about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Get them involved in planning your daily menu and cheering you when you lose even one pound. Encourage them to join you in your workouts. Invite them to celebrate your success at milestones. Let them know that you may not be perfect in this process, but you will open up to them when you struggle. When you do, it is important that they are just there to listen, not to cast judgment. Allow them to help you through setbacks and disappointments.

Surrounding yourself with a positive support group increases your odds for success. Not only that, it brings a sense of fun and celebration to your transformation.

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