Most people who are interested in losing weight have, at one time or another, thought about joining some sort of weight-loss program. They’re everywhere of course, from Weight Watchers, to Overeaters Anonymous to programs at the local health spa. But most people are busy and feel like they don’t have the time to "go" somewhere so online weight loss groups are a powerful option. But are these groups really valuable? After all, you’re not "with" your support group and you’re not moving around.
These online weight loss groups have a lot of similarity with regularly scheduled physical meetings. Yes, you may be interacting with somebody over a computer but the interaction is, after all, the point. The main difference is you probably don’t meet with a counselor or leader on a regular basis – or even ever. Whether this disadvantage is outweighed by the convenience of staying home is an individual decision.
MEMBERSHIP: Online weight-loss groups have lots of different formats. For example, some are designed just for women, some are just for men, some are for teenagers or people over 50.
PRICES: The prices may vary wildly as well. There are groups that are free or a minimal charge of five dollars a month and at the other end of the spectrum are more expensive groups that go up to $50 a month or more. If food is a part of the program costs can be many hundreds of dollars a month.
WHAT YOU GET: What should you expect if you join an online weight loss group? Most of them have food plans and software to help you do such things as count calories or figure your body mass.
Also, most of them have exercise programs and usually include sample videos. These exercise programs may be more focused on overall fitness and health, or they may be focused on specific parts of the body, or both. Appropriate recipes are almost always a part of any online weight loss group and it usually includes a forum so that members exchange recipes and advice with each other.
My personal experience is that a weight loss group that physically meets is more powerful than an online one. My reason for saying this is based on one factor: accountability. When I was a member of Weight Watchers, the notion that I had to face that scale on Monday prevented me from many a weekend binge. With an online group it’s possible to fudge.