By Stephanie Stahl

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Weight loss that works. A new tool to help dieters stay on track, especially helpful now with the holiday just a week away.
3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has details on the doctor approved strategy.

A dieters dream come true!

Karen Kofalt has lost 50 pounds since having a baby a year ago. She’s gone from a size 14, to a size 10.

“It’s an every day battle,” said Karen.

Even though she does all the right stuff, working out regularly and counting calories, like most dieters Karen, who lives in Exton, hit a plateau.

“I think a lot of people can relate to getting back to work and be a full time working mom and running a household and trying to find that work balance, and the weight loss sort of slowed up,” said Karen.

Until she tried a new program, created by a colleague. It’s a website called Friendship Weight, where friends get regular updates on your weight loss.

“I sort of don’t want to let them down,” said Karen. Her sister, Lisa Palmer, is on her weekly update list, which is interactive.

“One of her weeks was I’m down an additional 1.8 pounds. So my encouragement was: way to go I can barely see you from the side,” said Lisa.

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Dr. Kevin Shinal, a cardiologist at Main Line Health, created Friendship Weight. He was motivated by so many patients who struggle with weight, including his own father.

“When he passed away suddenly in 2007, this whole problem became way more personal. And as a result I became more passionate about it,” said Dr. Shinal.

Dr. Shinal’s dad died from obesity related complications, diabetes and heart disease.

“My father was an incredibly intelligent guy. He understood how to lose weight, but the motivation piece and the accountability piece was missing at times. He would lose 20. He’d gain it back, lose it again,” said Dr. Shinal.

Accountability is what Friendship Weight is all about. Every week you post not what you weigh, but how much you’ve lost or gained.

“They need to know that as they walk this path that if they slip and fall there’s someone there to catch them,” said Dr. Shinal.

Since starting Friendship Weight in August, Karen says her diet is back on track, losing her last 10 pounds.

She and her sister, with their babies, are looking forward to celebrating the holiday season, when Karen will be relying on Friendship Weight more than ever.

“There’s that little accountability piece throughout the week that keeps you pretty honest,” said Karen.

Experts say accountability, like weekly weigh-ins, has been shown to help with diets. It costs about 9 dollars a month to join Friendship Weight, and it doesn’t matter what diet or exercise plan you’re on.

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For more information on Friendship Weight, visit

Stephanie Stahl