What is the best way to help a friend who wants to lose weight because she is obese and really wants to make a change?
Thank you for submitting your question to Ask the Health Nuts! It sounds like your friend has great support system in you. According to a study done by Hwang et. al. regarding social support in a weight loss community, just you being present and supportive is helpful in your friend’s weight loss. The study mentioned that major social support themes were encouragement and motivation, and shared experiences. Recognition of success, accountability, and friendly competition were also influencing social factors.
If you want to help your friend lose weight then it may go a long way to simply be present with her and offer your support. Offer to go on a long weekend walk with her each week or take group fitness classes together. You could even prepare healthy meals together or make a routine out of weekly grocery shopping trips. Get creative and brainstorm some ideas with your friend! You can also connect your friend to our on campus dietitian for support. She offers individual nutrition counseling in a confidential, friendly, and non-judgemental setting to ensure your friend is getting safe and evidence based advice. More information can be found online at www.nau.edu/campushealth.
We hope that this answer is helpful and, again, thank you for contacting Ask the Health Nuts!
-The Health Nuts
Hwang, K. O., Ottenbacher, A. J., Green, A. P… Thomas, E. J. (2010). Social support in an internet weight loss community. International Journal of Medical Informatics,79(1), 5-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2009.10.003