Family/friends tend to gain or lose weight together. An NY Times article makes an interesting read of the importance of groups on weight loss. It notably stresses the effectiveness of having a group that consists of people who are not “cosy” (aren’t friends) with each other, to eliminate sympathy from group members if one person “slips” in the process, and also to maintain a rigid structure. It is important to have a leader to hold the group together, and provide consistency. Groups like Weight Watchers understand the importance of losing weight in groups, and having group leaders.
The leader can change the group dynamic — not an easy thing to do — because that’s the job. The leader has social permission to violate the normal rules of a group. A leaderless small group can manage to give its members permission to administer tough love, but it takes something strong enough to counteract a group of friends’ natural tendency to commiserate and soothe.
The effects of groups on weight loss is becoming more emphasized and utilized by some weight loss groups. The articles even mentions a group weight loss program in a Church. I have written about the importance of social networks on losing weight several times in this blog. Form a group (people with similar goals), and come up with a group plan to lose weight and get healthy!