Losing weight and keeping it off are major concerns of most Americans, especially around the holidays and the New Year. Fortunately, a new online service can help by enabling people to connect with others who want to control their weight.
Weightcircles.com uses the powerful support of a social networking group to help people lose weight and keep it off. Members join for free and create a profile where they can post before-and-after pictures, weight-control tips, diet and exercise plans, and even a blog. Members are matched into "circles" with other people who have similar goals and interests. Weightcircles members use the free social network to encourage, motivate, and cheer each other into sticking to their weight-control programs.
"Weight loss can take a long time and, regardless of the diet or exercise program, staying motivated is often the biggest challenge," said Gillian Verga, founder of Weightcircles. "By joining people together for encouragement, Weightcircles addresses the mental side of weight control."
Two-thirds of American adults are overweight and one-third is obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Many studies have linked success in weight loss with having a support group, and online support groups are often more accessible than other forms of support. A study published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" found that people who combined a support group with a weight-loss program lost almost three times as much weight after six months, compared to those who did not participate in a support group.
Weightcircles has more than two dozen circle categories. Some are demographic (e.g., parents, thirty-somethings, "the change" and couples). Others are specialty areas (e.g., chocoholics, junk food junkies, carb addicts and vegetarian). The new site continues to add categories as needs are identified.
In addition to the circle communities, participants can add and rate weight-loss tips, and suggest and rate products for the online directory of weight-loss and fitness programs, healthy foods, plus-size and regular-size clothing, exercise videos and more. "While lots of weight-loss products are available today, finding ones that work can be a challenge," said Verga. "By reviewing and rating products, and reading other reviews, members can find tools that are appropriate for them."
"The system works for three main reasons," said Weightcircles member Margaret Goodell. "It's very motivating to see how much others have lost. You feel that if they can do it, you can too. Also, once you've gone public with your goals, you are more accountable to them. And the positive feedback you get when you make progress is a really powerful motivator."
Note to editors: January is both Diet Month, and Lose Weight and Feel Great Month. The first week is Diet Resolution Week; the fourth week is Healthy Weight Week.
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