Want to lose weight? Text messages could be the answer.  At least, that’s the take-away from a new study that found getting diet support via text message makes it easier to eat well and exercise.

Here’s what happened: Researchers at Temple University split overweight volunteers into groups:

One group accessed a private Facebook page where they received generic eating and exercise advice. And where they could post suggestions and ask other dieters questions.

Another group had access to the same information on Facebook.  But they also received daily text messages from researchers offering personalized tips, and reminders to record what they ate.

And the third group was told they were on a waiting list to join the program, but were given a chance to check in with researchers on their own to let them know how they were doing.

The result: At the end of 8 weeks, the people on the waiting list had lost an average of one-half-pound each.  The “Facebook only” dieters did slightly better. And lost an average of one-and-a-half pounds.  But the people who received the text messages lost more than 5 pounds apiece!

Why? Researchers say that the personalized text messages made the dieters feel accountable to the researchers. So, they were better able to resist temptation.

Since most of us don’t have a team of doctors to text us every day, what can you do? Create your own network of friends and family. And while it won’t hurt to have people cheering you on, you’ll get the best results if you make a pact to report your daily food intake to someone else.