Learn how your friends, family, even your phone and online communities can help you achieve successful weight loss.

Every facet of your social network-family, friends, even your local community-can influence your weight. Here's how to work that to your advantage.

-Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. Former Associate Nutrition Editor for EatingWell Magazine

Your Spouse

1. Your Spouse

In a study in the International Journal of Obesity, when people joined a weight-loss group their spouses naturally lost about 3 percent of their body weight in a year. And since partners tend to share fluctuating waistlines, your spouse's weight loss should help you stay slim too. A win-win.

2. Your Phone

2. Your Phone

When people in a Finnish study texted their daily weight and received text messages with tips to cut calories and amp up exercise, they lost about 7½ pounds more in a year than those who didn't. Ask a friend to text you daily or get to do it for you.


3. Co-Workers

A 2011 study found that when co-workers were put into two groups and competed together for the biggest weight loss, they dropped more weight than people who followed a worksite weight-loss program alone.

4. Your Family

4. Your Family

Eating with your kids may help you keep pounds off: one study found that adults with kids in the house who ate more family meals weighed less than those who ate separately from their kids.

5. Online Communities

5. Online Communities

Prefer a virtual program over an in-person meetup? Go for it-it will help you lose too. Of course, you'll get out of it what you put in-research suggests that the more you use sites the better you'll maintain the weight you lost. Try for round-the-clock support.

Weight-Loss Groups

6. Weight-Loss Groups

A structured in-person program that connects you with other dieters can boost your success. Though both groups lost weight, people who joined Weight Watchers lost twice as much as those who received a physician-guided plan, says a study in The Lancet in October 2011.

Your Friends

7. Your Friends

When friends participated in a group weight-loss program together, they lost more weight-and were more successful in keeping it off-than people who did the same program on their own, says research. Buddy up!