If you are in the process of losing weight or want to lose weight, you should thoroughly research any weight loss support group that you are interested in joining. First find out whether the support group is affiliated with or recommends a specific weight loss program. You should also inquire as to whether the group is led by laypeople or health care professionals. It is a good idea to ask health care professionals whom you know and trust if they can recommend or comment on any of the groups that you are considering. Finally, ask about logistics, such as the cost of participating in group meetings or when and where the group meets.
The first questions you should ask of a weight loss support group leader or contact person are about the dietary philosophy of the group. In some cases, a weight loss support group may have connections with a particular diet plan or may encourage members to adopt a specific way of eating. You will want to make sure that the dietary guidelines recommended by a weight loss support group are healthy and suitable for your own needs. It is often a good idea to request a copy of the diet plan and to show it to your personal physician for his or her approval.
If a weight loss support group does not advocate only one dietary plan, ask if the group provides information on choosing a weight loss diet. In some cases, a group may regularly invite weight loss professionals to provide educational programs at meetings. If all the group does is offer support, consider whether this is enough for you or whether you want to join a group that will specifically reinforce the principles of the weight loss diet of your choice. Other things to ask about include whether group members are encouraged to provide support and accountability outside group meetings. For example, some groups may encourage members to organize exercise partnerships.
Attend a few meetings before making a commitment to a group and be wary about paying a membership fee before you have a chance to actually experience how the group operates. If the support group meets online, take some time to read posts by members before participating yourself. This is good Internet etiquette and can help you get the most out of the group by understanding the dynamics of the support forum. Ask about costs and whether you must pre-pay to join the group or whether you can pay to attend individual meetings.