For most of us, diet and exercise are no fun. They are, in fact, the total opposite of anything that could remotely be construed as fun.
But misery loves company. That's why one of the best ways to force ourselves to stick to a healthy eating or fitness regime is to share the pain.
"What for me was so important was to not do it alone," says Helene Lerner, a serial dieter who struggled with her weight for years. What turned things around for her? "A support buddy. It works. It really works," says Lerner, founder of womenworking.com. She took off 50 pounds and, even more remarkable, has kept it off for decades.
The buddy system works for exercise too. I enlisted a friend to start running with me. It's a lot harder to say, "I think I'll order a pizza and watch the game," when someone else is waiting in her shorts to go for a run.
For Lerner, the key to losing weight for good was a support group and learning "I was eating for all the wrong reasons. … Food is not a reward."
In my own lifetime of weight struggles, I've had the most success with the support and flexibility of Weight Watchers. But, there are many other programs and groups to try. Or, just a single faithful friend can make all the difference.
Here are some more tips from Lerner:
• Don't be ashamed to ask for help.
• Find ways of coping that do not involve food.
• Losing even a single pound is a big deal.
• Don't beat yourself up if you stumble; start over.
Got a bite-size tip on diet, exercise, well-being? I want to hear from you at email@example.com.