3 Ways You Can Use Social Media to Help You Lose Weight
Written by: Janet Early
There are a lot of things said about social media today: it promotes unrealistic image goals, causes people to compare themselves against others and ruins our attention spans.
But could social media be a powerful tool in weight loss?
The case for this theory is based on these principles:
- Accountability. If you publicly post about your fitness and health goals, you feel a stronger sense of accountability to follow through on them. The fact that people you know are aware of your goals gives you an extra oomph in your quest to be successful.
- Community. A lot of people have similar health goals to yours. Social media can be a great method to connect with them and motivate one another through progress updates and encouragement.
- Tangibility. A goal that is posted on social media becomes tangible, rather than remaining a nice idea floating around in your mind. There’s something about stating your intention outright in a place where you can access it at any time that drives you toward success.
Scientific studies, although mostly small-scale, have largely corroborated the idea that putting up your health goals on social media can help you be more successful.
Researchers in London, for example, studied the social media/weight loss connections among 1,900 people in different parts of the world and found that:
“Those who used social networking sites lost modest but significant amounts of weight.”
Thousands of people have committed to posting about their health progress and setbacks, with many even putting up pictures of the numbers on their scales.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health published a similar study in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine. Here are the details and findings, as reported in The Huffington Post:
“96 overweight or obese adults were randomly assigned to either listen to two podcasts per week about nutrition and fitness or to listen to the podcasts, record physical activity and connect with other study participants on Twitter.
At the end of the six-month period, the Twitter users lost more weight — each tweet actually corresponded with half a pound lost, researchers found, suggesting that social networking can be a powerful, accessible tools for dieters.”
Another study, published in the journal Interface in 2015, found strong evidence that one’s weight loss efforts are successful in proportion to how active of a social media user they are.
Among a 22,400-persion international online weight-management program, 5,400 participants who had actively been part of the program for at least six months had posted their progress at least twice during the study period.
Among these 5,400 people studied:
- People who did not have any friends in the online community saw a 4.1% decrease in body weight.
- People with 2 to 9 friends saw a 5.2% decrease in body weight.
- People in the largest cluster of friends within the network, which was made up of nearly 1,500 members, saw a 6.8% decrease in body weight.
- Those who were deeply embedded in the social network – who not only had a high number of friends, but also whose friends each also had a high number of friends – experienced a 8.3% decrease in body weight
During today’s obesity epidemic, social media has proven its worth as a functional tool in weight management.
Would or have you used social media to help you along your health journey? How and which platforms are your favorite?
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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