A diet buddy can make or break your weight loss success.
This is something that researchers have agreed upon, and apparently 95% of those who participate in a weight loss program with a friend actually finish that program (University of Pittsburg study).
Alright, but what are the actual benefits of a diet buddy ? How do they help, exactly ?
We’re going to cover this, and how to get a diet buddy, and who can be your diet buddy, all in this article.
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So what are the benefits of a diet buddy ?
Having someone with you to help along your weight loss journey can be a blessing. Maybe you need someone to run with you. Or, maybe you need your diet buddy to watch the kids while you get to the gym.
Different people need different things from their diet buddies, thus the benefits will be different.
But you can rely on these 4 benefits, that are a staple in the buddy system.
1. A diet buddy will keep you accountable
Even when you would like for your buddy to not notice the mayo on your breath, they’ll know. And they will remind you of why you started on this road.
Having someone to keep you accountable can both be annoying and the most useful thing ever when you’re losing weight.
It can be annoying because you’d just love to give in every once in a while and have something that’s not recommended for your diet.
But there’s your diet buddy, reminding you that to burn that chocolate you just ate you need to run at high speed for about 40 minutes on the treadmill.
And they will get you to that treadmill, since that’s what you know needs to happen.
Having a diet buddy is also the best thing ever because they’ll drag you to that treadmill, and make you run 40 minutes. They will tell you when you slip up, and help you fix it.
This is especially useful if you’re easily discouraged, or have the tendency to put things off. A diet buddy acts like an outside trigger, and will positively influence your weight loss decisions.
A great thing about your diet buddy keeping you accountable is that you both will definitely build serious discipline by the end of your journey together.
And finally, you never want to let your buddy down. Even if they’re not family or friends, you feel responsible towards them. So, you’ll find it easier to get to the gym, or avoid those muffins.
2. You’ll encourage each other and provide support
A diet buddy is just the thing when you’re in need of social support. Weight loss can be pretty rough sometimes, and you need to be able to talk to someone about it.
Preferably someone in the same situation. Someone who will truly understand how frustrating a plateau can be, or has some real advice on green smoothies.
We need support and encouragement, and it’s something that is often overlooked in weight loss. You’re expected to just stick to whatever diet or workout plan you picked, and have success.
But as you’ve sen with friends and neighbors, people usually know what to do to lose weight. They just don’t have the confidence that they can. And then, they hit a roadblock and give up because of no proper support around them.
This is where your diet buddy will easily become a good friend. Even if you part ways after this journey of losing weight, this will create a bond between you.
The person you’ve shared your weight loss success and failure is the one who will know how to comfort you. What to recommend in case you need extra help. They’ll even encourage you when you feel like it’s not worth all the effort.
Trust your diet buddy. They will be of great help, even if all they do is just stand by you at the gym so you don’t feel out of place.
If you don’t get along with your diet buddy so well, or if it’s just not working between you two, you can always end it. Talk about it nicely, and fix it if it can be fixed. If not, walk away and find another diet buddy.
3. A diet buddy is friendly competition
This depends a lot on your personality, but most people respond well to a bit of competition.
For example getting on the elliptical with your buddy, setting the same speed, which one lasts the most ? Who gives in before the 10 minute mark ?
Or crunches with your arms linked ? Who wants to stop first ? Can you do 20 reps together ?
There’s a lot of way you can use this comparison in a good way. Comparisons happen anyway, and you will measure yourself against your diet buddy without even trying, so make it friendly.
This can keep you both in check, since if you’re of the same build, height, and weight, you can have very similar results with similar speeds.
Of course, if you’re very different people, it won’t be a fair comparison. But you can compare other aspects, like how fast you two tire, or how much your plateau lasts, and so on.
If you’re both very competitive, this is great. This will make you both treat things very seriously, and take extra special care when eating.
For example, if you’re at work and it’s someone’s birthday and there’s cake, you’re more prone to saying no if you’re competitive with your buddy. What would they do ? Probably think of your score if they were offered ice cream as well.
So use this to your mutual advantage, just remember that it’s important how you lose the weight, not how much.
Losing a lot of weight just to beat your diet buddy, but without proper discipline can lead to gaining that weight back.
4. You will find a new friend in your diet buddy
Your buddy can turn out to be a real catch, friends-wise. You might bond over dieting, but share a deep love of jazz or a particular movie director.
Often times the fact that you share such a life changing experience is what creates that bond. Add onto that something you both love, and some regular meetups and you’ve got a new friend !
This is always great, and will make things even more fun.
A diet buddy will help you have greater success with your weight loss since they will be able to provide more and more support. The closer you two get, the better your diet buddy will know why that dress not fitting yet is such a big deal.
Finding a new friend will give you even more incentive to visit the gym where you meet your buddy. Or hold onto that diet, even if it seems like it’s not working 100% just yet.
One thing to remember though, when you’re starting to bond with your diet buddy, remember why you started. The joy and novelty of a new friend can easily turn picking them up to get to the gym into 3 hours of coffee and biscuits, talking about high school.
So while it’s okay to befriend your diet buddy, remember what you’re both there for.
How do you get or find a diet buddy ?
This is something that is easier than it sounds, but it never seems like it. Always remember that when looking for a diet buddy, there are other people looking for one as well.
So all you have to do is ask. But before that:
1. Figure out what you need from a diet buddy
Often times we’re not sure what we want. That’s understandable, and many people go through it. However when it comes to your health and weight, you need to figure out what you need in order to lose weight.
Do you need an assertive buddy ? Or would you be better off with someone who didn’t call you out on just everything ?
Perhaps you need your buddy to be present when you’re eating in town, so you don’t order something not okay. Or, maybe you need someone to check in with once a week, to just talk on the phone about how your respective diets are going.
These, and much more, are all things you need to know before you go looking for a diet buddy. Likewise, your chosen buddy must already know what they want from you as well.
The talk you’re going to have with your dieting buddy is going to go much smoother if you already know how many times you want to meet up with them. Or if you want to at all, and just keep in touch by text.
Different people need different things. Maybe you’re all set with everything you need to do to lose weight, but you just need someone who will come over and help cook every few days.
Think long and hard what you want from your diet buddy, and how you want the relationship to work out. Write it down, or on your phone, and have it with you when you talk to them about dieting together.
2. Reach out to your prospective diet buddy
Reach out to that person, be it by text, or on Facebook, or just calling. Whatever method works best for you. Present the idea to them, and arrange a meetup to figure out if you’d be alright with each other.
Or, there are tons and tons of weight loss and dieting support groups online, where you can post that you need a dieting buddy. Those interested will reply, and you can start from there, screening out your potential buddies.
If you do post online, make sure to state your height, weight, and the type of diet you’re on. This way you’re making sure that whomever replies is very similar to you and could be a good buddy.
If reaching out seems a bit awkward to you, or you’re anxious about it, remember this. There are already lots of people out there looking for a dieting or weight loss buddy. Just like you. All you have to do is gather the courage to get in their inbox.
However, if the internet seems like too weird a place for you to fish for a dieting buddy, try your friends and acquaintances. Not all of them are going to be on a diet, so you’ll have to look for a bit.
You might end up dieting with a friend’s friend who has a niece who has a schoolmate whose mom is dieting. But those are always cool situations, since you meet new people and get to bond with someone new.
The point is to reach out to whomever you’ve chosen as a diet buddy, and set up a meeting or talk with them. This will make it easier for you to set up the details of your partnership.
3. Write out a diet buddy contract
It doesn’t need to be taken to a notary and made legal. But you definitely should write down everything you both expect from this partnership, and what you’re going to put in.
Every detail is important, like how much time and energy both of you can dedicate to this. How often you can meet. How you keep in touch, do you both like long talks on the phone, or would it be better if you texted or emailed each other ?
Whatever you decide on, write it out. Both of you should have a copy of the contract, and re-read it from time to time. It will remind you both of why you started this journey together, and refresh your determination.
Another benefit of this contract is that if you’ve decided that your partner can call you out when you’ve cheated the diet, you can’t argue that point.
This is very useful if you know that your determination may slip from time to time, and need extra help with accountability.
You can write whatever you need in that contract, including what to do if one of you cheats on the diet, or if there will be any kind of punishment if you skip the gym more than once per week.
For example a cheat on the diet (depending on the severity) could warrant anything from salad for an entire day, or 60 full minutes of cardio (with occasional breaks) to make up for the calories.
You can skip this part, you can tweak it to whatever you think works for you best.
When you do write out the contract with your dieting buddy, write out your goals as well, and how you’d like them to help you with that as well. Be very clear and specific about what you want to get out of this partnership, and what you can put in as time and effort.
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Who can be your diet buddy ?
You can pick anyone to be your diet buddy, in theory. In practice, there are a few things you will need to take into account. And many of them depend on you, personally.
For example, you can opt for a diet buddy who is of the same height, build, weight, possibly age and sex as you. If you’re both doing the same diet, that’s even better.
This way you can get a fair comparison and between your results, and if you do get competitive, it can be measured properly. No point competing against someone twice your size.
Or, you can opt for a buddy who does not match your body, but is a great support and cheerleader. Someone who will help you work more on the mental part of weight loss, even if you can’t compare results.
So thinking about it this way, your diet buddy can be your aunt, your grocery lady, your gym trainer, your spouse, or a completely random stranger.
It depends on you, and how you know you’d need a diet buddy. This is why you need to figure it out before you talk to your buddy.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you do figure out who you want, they might not want you as a buddy. They might be looking for a different kind of person, and there’s not much you can do about that.
However there are 2 main types on dieting buddies, and we’ll list them here:
1. Familiar people – friends, family, lovers
They have the benefit of keeping you emotionally bonded to the diet or weight loss program. If they go, you go, and that way the dropout rate gets much much lower.
You can motivate and support each other much easier than with someone new, since you know what makes each other tick.
This is something that will however get uncomfortable when it comes time to call them out. Your sister, whom you love, is adding mayo to her salad, and got herself some fries. You know that’s not on her or your diet, so what is she doing ?
But will you actually say something ? Most people don’t, for the risk of offending their friend, even if its in their best interests. That won’t led to great weight loss, unless you have very good discipline already.
So that’s a possible downside to choosing a loved on as a diet buddy., but there’s also the benefit of sticking to your diet better.
2. Strangers with the same goals as you
Picking a stranger for a dieting buddy can seem odd at first, but many people opt for this because you can’t negotiate with them.
They are not your mother or best friend who will go easy on you when they see you skipping gym day.
Strangers have the added benefit of being straightforward, and you can be plain and simple with them. They haven’t had a chance to get a consistent impression of you, then judge whatever you do through that lens and how you behaved in the past.
A stranger knows you as you are, right now, and knows you both need each other’s help to lose weight. So they won’t get too emotional or invested if you both decide on it.
And a stranger won’t attempt to talk themselves out of the diet because they’re looking for your approval to quit.
So basically you can start fresh and anew with a stranger, and maybe even meet a new friend. You could possibly find someone who is into the same things as you.
However a possible downside could be that they’re strangers to begin with. Getting to know and trust them might be just too awkward at first, and you might never really get along. So keep that in mind as well.
To each their own, and you choose whichever diet buddy you think would work best for you.
The whole point of having a diet buddy is keeping yourself accountable, so you get the best results in your weight loss. So now that you know the benefits of a diet buddy, how to talk to someone about it, and who can be your buddy, go find one !
There are people out there looking for a diet buddy, and they could be the match you were looking for. Have fun !
Also feel free to look around our blog, you might like some other articles as well.