Could a Group of Strangers Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals?

These slim-down success stories from The Healthy You Challenge suggest that the buddy system could be the ticket to losing weight for good.

October 23, 2014
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People who come together as a team lose more weight than those who attempt to slim down solo. In fact, a study by the Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Center suggests that working together can increase your odds of achieving significant weight loss by 20 percent!

More from Fitbie: 3 Weight-Loss Tricks Friends Can Use Together

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Problem is, finding someone close to you to join your weight loss quest isn’t always easy. Maybe you live far away from family, or maybe your friends aren't interested in making a lifestyle change. Whatever the reason, weight-loss buddies can be hard to come by.

The good news: The Internet offers plenty of stranger support if you don't want to go it alone on your journey to better health. I always encourage people to enlist a friend, family member, or co-worker when trying to lose weight, which is why I decided to start my free online Healthy You Challenge.

The holidays can be a minefield of high-cal temptations, so if you're looking for some motivation to kick the season off on a healthier foot, the challenge -- which guides you through two weeks worth of healthy meals and hooks you up with other challengers -- might be a smart move.

Here, I'm sharing three weight-loss success stories (sent to me from Healthy You challengers via social media) that could be the inspiration you need to head into the holidays lighter in spirit and poundage:

Healthy You Challenge Success Story #1: Jamie
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Jaime decided it was time to make some changes. “After surgery and treatments, I decided it was time to become healthy for good," she says. "I lost 80 pounds on my own, but then I hit a plateau and just couldn’t lose those last 30 pounds." Jaime signed up for the Healthy You Challenge and lost 19 pounds (9 pounds and 13 inches in the first 7 days!). “I then continued on the program after the two weeks, and lost 11 more pounds,” she says. Having an online support group helped Jaime break through her plateau and reach her goal weight. It’s impressive that she lost 80 pounds on her own, but sometimes even the most determined people need a little extra support to push forward.

Healthy You Challenge Success Story #2: Mary
For years, Mary wasn’t feeling great, and she finally got fed up and decided to do something about it. Lucky for her, her company hosts a corporate weight loss challenge once a year. The team-based challenge wasn’t something Mary thought she’d enjoy, but she was determined to give it a try. “I didn’t appreciate the team aspect until I got started with the challenge,” she says. Mary lost weight during her company’s challenge but she feared that she wouldn’t be able to lose any more on her own. Fortunately , she found out about the online Healthy You Challenge and immediately signed up. A group of over 1,000 strangers helped motivate Mary to continue to lose weight. “Because of the Healthy You Challenge, I lost 16 pounds and feel 10 years younger. The challenge changed my relationship with food and I’m never going back, “ she says.

Healthy You Challenge Success Story #2: Nathan
Nathan had never been overweight but when his wife became pregnant with their first child, he gained nearly 20 pounds. “I decided it was time to do something about my weight,” he says. Having never tried a weight-loss program before, Nathan was a bit skeptical; but after losing 10 pounds on the Healthy You Challenge he was sold! Simply being part of a group and having daily inspiration was enough to motivate him to eat better and lose those unwanted pounds.

Feel like you're ready to tackle your weight loss journey? To celebrate the launch of her new book, The Healthy You Diet: The 14-Day Plan for Weight Loss with 100 Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating, Dawna Stone is hosting a 14-Day Healthy You Challenge (strategically timed to get you on the right path before the holiday gluttony begins) from November 3rd to November 16th. Stone will be at your disposal during the challenge to answer questions, keep you motivated, and celebrate your success with you.

UP NEXT: 'I Couldn't Stand Myself'