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How Social Support Aids Weight Loss



Physicians are making great strides in learning how to effectively treat obesity despite the innumerable challenges that stand in the way of patients’ success. Overweight and obese patients sometime must face their own internalized stigma — but what happens when they leave their provider’s office? If a patient doesn’t have social support, their success can be derailed — and not just at the beginning stages of weight loss, but also when it comes to long-term maintenance.

Of course, having their physician’s support is crucial, as many patients are not familiar with the most effective and safe methods to lose weight. For those with a significant amount of weight to lose, a medically supervised diet may be the only successful way to get to a healthy weight (short of costly and sometimes invasive surgeries). It is usually the doctor’s role to provide the information, resources, and expertise necessary to make such a drastic health change happen. But recent studies are starting to show that positive (rather than instructive) social support appears beneficial in weight loss maintenance.

If you’re a health care provider seeing overweight patients who are reluctant to start a weight loss program, having trouble being compliant, or experience regain after successfully completing a program, you may need to assess whether or not a lack of social support is a factor.

Don’t be afraid to ask your patients directly about what kind of support they have (or don’t have) outside your office. Do they experience bullying or fat shaming in their workplace or community? Do they have family or friends who encourage them? Do they have family or friends that enable their bad eating habits?

As a provider, there may be some things you can do to fill these gaps to help your patients be more successful. Consider some of these strategies:

1. Do you have a psychologist, nutritionist, or health educator on staff?
Perhaps this person can start a weekly or monthly support group for weight loss patients, a “no judgement group” where patients can meet with other patients to vent, share successes and frustrations, and know they are not alone in the process. This can create wonderful morale that supports the weight loss journey. If you don’t have a staff member who can facilitate this, perhaps you can identify a patient or volunteer who would be willing to facilitate this kind of gathering.

2. Encourage your patients to buddy up. 
According to one study, participants who enrolled in a weight loss program with friends did a better job of keeping their weight off. In addition to teaming up with friends, these enrollees were given social support in addition to standard treatment. Two-thirds of those who enrolled with friends had kept their weight off six months after the meetings ended. In contrast, only a quarter of those who attended on their own had achieved that same success. Ask your patients if they have family or friends who are interested in losing weight too, and provide a referral incentive for getting them onboard. That’s a win-win for both of you because that also adds to your patient census!

3. Start an online community for your patients.
If you don’t have the time, money, or space to do a formal support group, social media provides us with great free alternatives. For example, you can create a secret, invitation-only Facebook group that allows patients to interact with and support each other, while still being a safe and confidential space. Have a staff member moderate the group to ensure ground rules are being followed, and incorporate it into your practice’s usual social media routine. Need some help with exploring the possibilities through social media? Download our free helpful guide of tips to learn how to effectively use social media for your weight loss program.

Sources: American Psychological Association, NCBI, Mayo Clinic


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Facebook’s Newsfeed is Changing and Here’s What you Need to Know



Facebook is making more difficult for users to see content from pages they follow — here’s how to ensure you can still see posts from Robard in your newsfeed!

Facebook recently announced that not only will their newsfeed system be updated to mainly show posts from users’ friends and family, but they will also prioritize content from Facebook’s “trusted sources” when it comes to news and blog content. What this means for users is that they will see less content from pages that they follow — if at all. The company explained their reasoning for this in a recent blog post.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally addressed this in a post on his Facebook page on January 19, 2018, which can be found here. In his post, Zuckerberg claims that Facebook has already decided which publications count as “trustworthy” and are "informative."

Robard is already a popular weight management information destination on Facebook, so to make sure our readers have the best chance at seeing Robard’s news posts and blogs on their newsfeed, here is how you can update your Facebook settings to prioritize content from your favorite publishers, including Weight Loss Programs and Products by Robard:

1.) Click the drop-down arrow on the toolbar near the notification button at the top of the page and click on “News Feed Preferences.”





2.) This will display a preferences page; select “Prioritize who to see first.”



3.) Now, select “pages only” from the grey box in the top left and select your favorite pages:



The pages you select here will now show up first in your news feed. Facebook has already begun to roll out this new update, so users should update their settings as soon as possible to ensure they are still able to get the content they want to read on their news feed. In addition, Facebook also has step-by-step “Prioritize who to see first” instructions by clicking here.

We encourage all of our customers who remain active on Facebook to share this information with your followers! As always, thank you for following Weight Loss Programs and Products by Robard on Facebook!


Blog written by Robard's Mike Boyle and Kevin Boyce

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