By Josephine Atluri
Much like doing a workout, losing weight can be a lot more effective, not to mention fun, when done with friends. The benefits of losing weight or working out with a squad are many: accountability, camaraderie, support, encouragement. Many excuses can be made to oneself when trying to follow a healthy eating plan. Excuses go hand in hand with "cheats" or unhealthy choices.
If you are fortunate enough to have a nutritionist/meal plan manager/wellness coach, this person will guide your eating plan and ensure you stay on the right track. When you add a group component to your weight loss strategy, you strengthen your support structure thereby increasing your probability of success. Accountability is a key component to success because having other people involved in your weight loss process makes it harder to veer off course as you feel responsible to one another.
This is not to say that mistakes won't happen. Of course mistakes happen as we are all human. However, if a mistake happens, you can share it with your group and receive the support you need to remain positive, not beat yourself up over the mistake, and return on the road towards your goals. Often times, when people stray off track, their negative feelings over power their being such that a cycle of negativity begins - feeling bad, eating bad, feeling bad, etc. The power of the group is the ability of the group members to commiserate with your situation and provide you with encouragement that resonates with your feelings and experiences. They understand firsthand what you are going through. It is always easier to heed advice and encouragement from someone who knows what you are going through, isn't it?
The reasons discussed above for why a weight loss support group is effective are the very same reasons why the recent and ongoing BURNIN' By Ray Clean Eats Challenge has been a great success for our participants. As the moderator of this group, I witnessed firsthand how all of this played out within the various groups of people participating. The participants of the challenge shared many things with one another during their four week healthy eating plan - experiences, recipes, frustrations, advice, and lessons learned. When someone had a bad day or ate something off the meal plan, everyone was quick to offer their positive vibes to pick that person back up.
Truthfully, they were all in it to win it together, not as individuals, but collectively as a group. They truly were stronger as a team than as individuals. This exemplifies the BURNIN' By Ray vision and mission - Vital. Together.
I would be remiss if I do not mention how extremely proud I am of the entire group of members that participated in this challenge. The amount of inspiration and motivation passed on to one another was powerful and immense. Every single person that did the food challenge worked hard and earned their success. The clean eats challenge is still underway and anyone is welcome to join at any point in time, both members and non members for a fee. The meal plans are created by our founder himself, Ray Peleckas, on a weekly basis. I then pass along the meal plans and manage the group chat and required food picture posts on INstagram for accountability and support. Below are two testimonials from members who participated in the first four weeks of the program. If you are interested in the program, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I achieved my 10 pound goal in 3 weeks. I believe it’s because of the #bbrcleaneatschallenge sponsored by @burnin_byray , *managed by @josephineratluri . We are nearing the end with only a week left and I feel amazing! So thank you to everyone there that supports me and motivates me. You guys make it a whole lot easier for me that’s for sure. For everyone who pushes me to deliver my maximum output thank you... so much.”
“I loved being held accountable by posting meals, the support and encouragement from the team, the variation of menus and switching things up, and even the 24 hour fasting. I feel much more energized, my skin feels better, and am starting to see a difference. Love this challenge and am looking forward to the next challenge! I know we shouldn't weigh ourselves but I did this morning and am down 5.5 lbs. I'm definitely going to the next round…. I did Weight Watchers many years ago….The weekly meetings were not helpful at all and weren't motivating. It was a lot of work to count the points and to weigh your food. Our group is beyond motivated, committed to working hard, determined, and supportive - no comparison to the WW crowd not one bit.”