Find your people: Social support for the rest of us


Change is so much easier when you’ve got a buddy along for the ride.

Someone who understands what you’re going through, what the struggles feel like, and who really gets the little wins along the way.

And it’s not just about making it easier to get to the gym or stick to your meal plan. Tons of research (like here and here) shows that social support is incredibly beneficial to your health – whether that means your mental health, your physical health, weight loss, and even stopping smoking.

So, social support is important. But, what if, like so many of my clients, you don’t have anyone in your circle of family, friends, or coworkers who ‘gets you’ or who’s on a similar path?

I’ve got some ideas for you.



Going it alone is hard. It's hard anyway, but doing it alone is even tougher. Here are some how's and why's to find social support for your health journey.



Doing it alone is hard

 

Making changes is hard, but doing it alone is even tougher.

Your fears get bigger, your self-doubts take on a life of their own, and it’s all too easy to pack it in because you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do it, and it’ll never work. Plus, no one knew about your goal anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it does matter.

You and all your goals matter.

Each day you have the opportunity to improve your life – and by doing so, make the world a better place. So, let’s find you some workout buddies/healthy eating friends/change the world comrades/good old-fashioned (kinda) social support.

First, let’s take a look at why social support is so important to our health journey. Then I’ll show you some places where you can find your peeps.



Why get social support for your health goals?

There is so much research showing that many heath behaviors, social support is a huge advantage:

Weight loss efforts are vastly improved by having friends and family involved 


Self-care activities are increased with more social support 


Healthy lifestyles are supported by having others involved 


Exercise motivation is increased, even when the social support comes from a support group and not from friends and family. 


Healthy eating is also improved with increased social support 


So, no matter what your goal, having someone else along with you helps you plan, be motivated, and then actually achieve your dreams in the company of other supportive people.



Where to get social support

Right, so there’s the ‘why’.

Now, how are you going to find these people to support you if they’re not in your intimidate circle?

1. Get a coach

One-on-one detailed support, accountability, and knowledge.  This is exactly the kind of support I offer through my Eating Psychology coach services – a friend, confidant, strategist, and knowledge base to help you get to your goals in a totally supported way. This is social support tailored to your needs in a way you can’t get with friends or family.


2. Nerd Fitness 

This is my favorite online wellness community. No matter where you’re at or what you’re into, you can find awesome people on the forums here to connect with, group up with, and support. They have a buddy-group section, as well as specific boards for all things health and fitness related. You find a lot of people here, from many walks of life, who are looking for some social support, either as an extra help, or because they just can’t find what they need offline. I can’t tell you how important this community has been to me and my journey.


3. Meetup

I’ve spoken before about meetup. Here you can find groups of like-minded people meeting in real life to support each other and do things they love. Hiking, yoga, running, arts, writing, meditation – whatever wellness related activity you’re looking to get into or be supported in, check meetup to see if there’s a group in your area. If there’s not, you could try starting one. I run a Live the Whole meetup in Stockholm twice a month and the support there is unbeatable.


4. Take a local class

This can seem a bit old-school compared to all the digital options available to us these days, but finding your social support through community classes or local events is awesome. I know it’s hard to show up as the new person, all alone, but after a time or two you’ll be a part of things. Most people know what it’s like to show up alone – it takes guts! – and will make an extra effort to include you. In fact, I’ve found it’s often easier to make new friends in a group if I show up alone. So, get out into your community and find some social support that way.


Tell me in the comments: where do you get your support?


About Samantha

Hello! I’m Sam and I’m an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.


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14 thoughts on “Find your people: Social support for the rest of us

  • Kelly

    These are some really great ideas for finding support – I know when I was losing weight before, it really helped me to be in the Spark community and have people to talk to. I’m sure I’ll find someone that will go to yoga with me!

  • Dawn Boyer

    There is something about community that makes you feel like you have the freedom to fall and not hit bottom. Blogging can be a lonely place without the connecting that keeps you afloat. I am finding that the support of encouragement with friends who are seeking to get healthy together is also a huge benefit. Your words reminded me of that tonight!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  • Tha-res-ah

    I am an introvert and I’m somewhat hesitant about opening myself up to people in real life, by real life I mean in the actual flesh. It’s one thing to leave your words out in public and have them judged, it hurts regardless but in the flesh wow, it’s big for me. I am working on that though, letting people in and truly connecting outside of the virtual world.

    • Samantha Post author

      Thank you for the comment, Theresa. Opening up can definitely be scary. I’m not that good at it either – but slow and steady I think. No need to let any old person in, and no need to take anyone just because they offer support. Feel them out, take your time to build trust, and then you’ll have a much better chance of getting something good going 🙂

  • Caitlin

    Inspiring post. I need a bit of a push to get motivated to lose some extra kilos at the moment. I think I need to get a support system around to inspire me. I just realised the other day that I only have a bit over three months to meet my goal of having a hot body at my 40th birthday. I need to get to it but have been lacking motivation. Thanks!

  • Keelie Reason

    I completely agree. When I was loosing weight two years ago, I had a few people working in that same direction with me. It was when they all fell away that the struggle became much harder for me. I didn’t have anyone going through it with me. Definitely need people to do life with you.