The Science of Skinny

May 21, 2013

Science of skinny - support key to weight lossWhy 7 out of 10 women fail their diets.

It’s strange but true. Seven out of ten women fail their diets not because of a lack of willpower but because of a lack of support.

A caring support system empowers all of us to cope with the emotional, social and spiritual issues associated with foods. You see this everyday on the Biggest Loser television show.

Throughout my 35 years of research and professional observation, I have seen the power of support in action. On my own online forum (, which has been in existence for almost a decade, this point was really driven home when one of my online members posted, “I would have never in my wildest imagination conceived that I could be so fed, so fortified, so supported, so connected to an online community.”

It seems that women, in particular, benefit from the support of others in achieving not only their weight loss goals but in being able to handle all aspects of life.

A landmark study from UCLA (Psychological Review, 2000) proves something that online members of dieting communities have already suspected: a unique friendship forms between women – virtual friendships that are made for years.

A circle of friends always makes life brighter, funnier, and the tough times easier.

The researchers at UCLA have demonstrated that women who are under stress produce brain chemicals that open them up to making and maintaining friendships with other women. One of the study’s leading researchers, Laura Cousin Klein, PhD, explains that before this study, it was generally assumed that when a person experiences stress, the hormones released created a fight-or-flight response. But women have a distinct response to stress. “In fact,” says Dr. Klein, “it seems that when the hormone oxycotin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead.” Men do not have this response because of the high amounts of testosterone they produce when they are under stress. So when men are stressed they tend to go off by themselves, and when women are stressed they gather other women around them.

Friends may be helping us live longer and better.

And, when it comes to weight loss, as many of us are learning and experiencing, there’s no reason to do it alone, anymore.

An online support community can be one of the most nurturing, supportive, and encouraging places to call home.

I invite all of you to connect or reconnect to the Forum at Our forum includes special sections on Choosing a Plan, How to Jumpstart and Break a Plateau, a Cook’s Corner that showcases kitchen shortcuts and eating out while on vacation, and a Recipe Box that features favorite tried and true Fat Flushing recipes and will encourage you to show off your own delicious creations. Our team of moderators can help you find all the answers to your questions and concerns while offering their own seasoned advice.


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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Shella

    I like the idea of an online community, but it’s seems cold, impersonal. Maybe I just need to get used to that. It also doesn’t help me deal with the day-to-day battles with a less than supportive husband and kids.

    • Sierra

      Hi Shella! You might be pleasantly surprised if you come check it out! I’ve gotten to know the ladies on the forum so well. We share our triumphs and struggles (with diet and exercise and life in general!), we support each other when one of us needs encouragement, and we even share vacation photos. It’s a great group of ladies, we’d love to have you join us!

  2. Cara Craig

    Thank you for encouraging women to bond more & letting us know, even virtually, it helps with dieting! I don’t know what I’d do without my friends. It cracks me up when we meet for lunch & talk about dieting and exercising! 🙂 This does inspire each of us, for a while. Sometimes, we get competitive, too. But mostly, we love each other and want each other to be healthy. 🙂

  3. Lisa

    I have to say, that although I am mostly a lurker, the online support at Ann Louise’s forum is amazing, in my opinion…from very knowledgeable and experienced moderators to an occasional recommendation from Ann Loiuse herself, I have personally found a tremendous amount of information and support when it comes to the different plans, as well as a wealth of information and suggestions on nutrition and supplements for numerous conditions…..

  4. Alejandra R.

    Hi Dr Ann – great piece! Is there a longitudinal study about the success rate you refer to (3 out of 10)? Thanks!

    • Sierra

      I believe that success rate was derived from the UCLA Psychological Review that was cited in this article.


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