The Secret Formula of Weight Loss

Members agree: Support from our online boards works magic!

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on December 09, 2004
6 min read

Have you ever wanted to just throw in the towel, but changed your mind when you thought about having to face your friends and family?

Well, the next time you're about to devour a giant piece of cake, resist the urge and rush to your community of friends -- located a nanosecond away on your computer!

When you log into the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic community, you'll find our faithful moderators, along with lots of other familiar screen names -­ people who can talk you off the ledge of temptation and give you the nudge you need to get back on track. It's a good thing, too, because willpower can easily turn into diet sabotage without the help and support of others.

Anyone who has offered a helping hand to a person in need knows the wonderful feeling of satisfaction it brings. We get a sense of pride when we can help others with problems similar to ours. So when you offer support to friends online, not only are you helping them cope with the difficulties of losing weight, you also benefit from knowing you made a difference in someone's life.

Just listen to what one of our members had to say about the benefits of online support:

"Thanks to everyone on these boards. I am amazed by how inspired and supported I feel by reading everyone's posts on the boards! You guys are awesome! :-)" -- jbudhholtz

For many, supporting and listening to one another has also proven to be the "secret formula" for effective weight loss. Chatting with friends on the boards and letting them help you through the rough spots are major benefits of online weight management.

One member who lost weight attributes her success to her friends on the boards:

"I can't tell you how much this site has meant to me. The ability to "talk" with other folks in the program was invaluable, and an incredibly effective weight-loss tool. As I leave the program, I will think of those individuals fondly, and know that we are all supporting each other all the time." -- Alisagc

When you're connected to others, it empowers you to be stronger. It feels so good to get a kick in the pants or a hug -­ whichever is in order to motivate you to do the right thing.

WLC member Keoyellow knows the power of the virtual hug:

"The support here is awesome! When you do well, you get lots of hugs; when you feel like complaining about the program, you STILL get lots of hugs. And when you're feeling sorry for yourself because you did something you were not supposed to do, you get some flack, but hugs, too!"

The beauty of our program is that you can get support 24 hours a day. Post a message, read other posts, and find strength by visiting the boards any time of day or night.

Members like KMSJ0505 understand that the magic of an online program comes largely from the commitment of the members: "It's what we are here for. Listening and supporting one another is one of the major benefits of this program, in my opinion."

Our lead moderator, Kyra, couldn't agree more. "In my job, I recognize the power of support and I always try to give lots of TLC, but it is the members who are the most incredible source of support and inspiration for one another," she says.

All of us get inspiration -- even goose bumps -- from the determination of members who won't quit until they meet their goals:

"I have lost 32.5 pounds and I intend to lose the additional 40 that will get me to my goal weight of 165. The support here has been invaluable. I have been on just about every program invented. With WebMD I have had a slow, gradual weight loss. I hit a plateau at 27 pounds loss and it was a long one, 10 weeks. I was ready to give up and accept myself at 199-200.

"Instead I went to the boards, discussed my problem, complained and groaned my "poor me" and got the "kick in the pants" support I needed to work through the plateau. That was six weeks ago. I have lost an additional 5.5 pounds since then. Without that help and support, I don't know what would have been the outcome.

"Before WebMD and the support system here I WOULD have given in and the weight would slowly have come back. Because of the boards I am not only sure that I will REACH my goal but I WILL keep the weight off." -- Bearkeeper

If you spend any time at all on the boards, you are familiar with the support our members give to one another. The moderators help set the tone with warmth, kindness, and a sense of humor.

Genev is not only inspired and successful at losing weight, she is also feeling better:

"I am truly thankful for this site, and the people on it. I have lost 12 pounds in a little over five weeks. That has been about 2 pounds every week! I feel healthier and fitter than I have in a very long time. I love to read this board. The friends on it give me great ideas and inspiration from just reading what others have to say. Kyra, you are especially a great moderator. You are supportive, diplomatic, funny...You and others writing on the board always seem to be right there when someone is in need of support."

Many of our members, like MiddleagedMildred, say things like this: "The support from this community is helping me feel better in my head...I am very grateful."

Your obstacle today was someone else's challenge yesterday. And because of the kindness shared on our boards, your new friends want to share how they met their own challenge and overcame it.

These challenges test your resolve, but working through them makes you stronger -- and the weight-loss results even more rewarding. It's a journey where opening our hearts and minds to help one another can result in major successes.

Yoyomama is so thankful for the creative solutions from her new friends that she attributes her success to the boards: "We have some great minds here offering support and solutions to any and every problem. Amazing! I, for one, could not have gotten this far without it. Thanks to all!"

And Neen writes: "I am thankful for finding YOU online! I never imagined I could find a nicer, smarter, more beautiful bunch of people on line!"

I could not agree with her more. Our WLC family is the best!

Chatting with friends is not only helpful when you are down and out, but according to Vickilynn, it is also just plain fun:

"The message boards are the greatest. The community support is awesome. It is one of the best support systems I have ever found. There are some really nice people here. I hope to see you around a lot. I think you will find it is a really nice place to be and it's a lot of fun too!!!"

This support network can help you overcome overeating and bingeing. Along with your family and friends, support from our staff and fellow members will keep you on task toward your goal of weight loss. Even if you prefer not to post, and simply read the messages from others, you will benefit:

"Yea for me and all of you out there that have helped. Even though I may never have talked to you, I read your notes. I lost my first 10 pounds of many to go." -- Phillisearleen

Staying connected, acknowledging your weaknesses and attacking them head-on will take you a long way toward permanent weight management. Learning how to handle difficult situations and making the necessary changes in your behavior are what it takes to be successful.

I want to thank all of you for what you do for each other, and how you have made a difference -­ not only in the lives of other members but also our Weight Loss Center family.

Keep your eye focused on your goals and believe in yourself. You can do it -- and we are here to support you all the way!