Choosing a Weight Loss Buddy

Teaming up is more fun, and it may even help you shed more pounds.

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

There's no getting around it: The road to weight loss can be a bumpy one. But much like life's other journeys, the going can be smoother when you have someone to share the trip.

That's where a "diet buddy" comes in -- a partner who not only shares your weight loss and workout goals, but can help you navigate a kinder, gentler path to sveltesville. Many experts now say buddying up can make the difference between failure and success with any weight loss plan.

"Most people put all their effort into finding the right diet or exercise program but don't put any energy into creating a support and accountability system, and too often, that's where the devil lies," says Adam Shafran, DC, an exercise physiologist and chiropractor who is the author of You Can't Lose Weight Alone: The Partner Power Weight Loss Program.

Shafran, who also hosts Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy, an Internet radio show focusing on weight loss, says people fail not necessarily because they're following a bad weight loss plan, but because they lack a good support system.

"It can be the deciding factor that makes a diet work -- or not work," say Shafran.

Some psychologists agree.

"In the realm of dieting, there is evidence that social support is a positive factor influencing weight loss," says Kenneth Schwarz, PhD, who with his wife, Julie Schwarz, wrote the book Maria's Last Diet: How to Break through the 15 Obstacles to Achieve Diet Success.