At your work place or when doing sports, you probably prefer one of the two - being an individual or a team player. But according to research, being part of the team and surrounding yourself with friends, partners or family members who are supportive of your healthy eating and exercise goals can mean the difference between success and failure, especially for long-term weight-loss .
This support can be either emotional, having a shoulder to lean on when you're feeling discouraged, or practical, with someone being there to watch the kids while you exercise or a companion who would join you on the road of healthy lifestyle.
One large study showed that people who lost at least 5% of their initial body weight, which is an amount that is thought to be significant in improving health, during a weight loss competition were likely to be on the same teams. Those who reported a higher level of social influence by their teammates increased their odds of significant weight loss by 20% [2,3]. Obviously, in all aspects of our lives, people around us affect our behaviors, and the power of peer influence is really substantial when it comes to weight loss.
Interestingly, team captains in this study lost more weight than team members. This may be because they were more motivated, felt more responsible and engaged in the contest. Therefore, the mindset "in giving we receive" might be the key! But never forget - there is no "I" in the team!
However, in the digital technologies era we live in, when most people spend over five hours per day on their cell phones, team work and support group got a completely new meaning! Researchers reported that "virtual" weight loss works, too. A study conducted among women after delivery, revealed that those who participated in an internet-based weight loss program in addition to standard supplemental nutrition program lost 3.2 kg compared to 0.9 kg lost among those on standard nutrition program alone during 1-year period . This indicates that there is a great potential in "virtual" team-based weight loss programs.
Being a team player or not, throw yourself out there and earn weight loss achievements using the power of teamwork to reach your fitness goals!
1. Black DR, Gleser LJ, Kooyers KJ. A meta-analytic evaluation of couples weight-loss programs. Health Psychology. 1990;9(3):330-47
2. Wing RR, Pinto AM, Crane MM, Kumar R, Weinberg BM, Gorin AA. A statewide intervention reduces BMI in adults: Shape Up Rhode Island results. Obesity. 2009 May;17(5):991-5.
3. Leahey TM, Kumar R, Weinberg BM, Wing RR. Teammates and social influence affect weight loss outcomes in a team-based weight loss competition. Obesity. 2012 Jul;20(7):1413-18.
4. Phelan S, Hagobian T, Brannen A, Hatley KE, Schaffner A, Munoz-Christian K, Tate DF. Effect of an internet-based program on weight loss for low-income postpartum women: a randomized clinical trial. Jama. 2017 Jun 20;317(23):2381-91.