When you start a weight-loss plan (or anything, for that matter), your policy is full disclosure to friends, family members, and coworkers. You may even spill the beans to your neighbors, grocer, mailman, and anyone who crosses your path for the next few weeks. You intuitively want and need everyone's support and encouragement, and you know that being accountable to them will help boost your motivation and keep you on track.
But there's a catch: "It's possible to become overly dependent on social support," says Dr. Edward Abramson, a clinical psychologist in Lafayette, California, and author of Body Intelligence. If your coworkers want to try the latest fad, for example, you can easily get caught up in group-think, which is counterproductive (fad diets tend to produce fleeting results, if any). And when people lose interest in your progress or stop telling you how great you look, your motivation can take a nosedive.
Worse, in your quest for listeners, you may stumble on a few people who will try to undermine your success out of jealousy . It's a sad reality, but "not everybody will be ecstatic to see you reach your goal," says Dr. Stettner.
Consider joining a group-based weight-loss program, especially one that offers in-person meetings so you can get face time with fellow dieters who are there to offer and receive support themselves. Often, giving support can be just as motivating as getting it.
Ask yourself tough questions such as: What will I get out of losing weight? What are the possible pros and cons? What are the difficulties going to be? The answers will help you find a more personal source of motivation, so you're not so dependent on others.