Social Media and Weight Loss – 7 Ways to Make It Work
Social media and weight loss – what’s the connection?
It’s true that social media can set unrealistic expectations when it comes to the way we should look, think, and act. But what if, instead of scrolling through endless photos on Instagram and comparing yourself to the model-like people, who might very well not be real, you do something else. You turn your online activity into an efficient tool to live healthier and reach your weight loss goals.
How? That’s exactly why I’m here to show you. Stick with me and find out how to use social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like to get rid of the extra pounds, adopt healthier habits and boost your self-esteem in the process. Maybe posting that selfie isn’t such a bad idea, after all!
Unfollow comfort food
You might think nothing’s wrong with scrolling through Insta-worthy photos of delicious foods for hours. But a picture is worth a thousand words, or, should I say, a thousand calories. A review of studies published in the journal Brain and Cognition revealed that constant exposure to photos and videos of food makes you hungrier and more prone to eating unhealthy foods.
The solution? “Unfollow accounts that set you up to overindulge or consider looking at them only at certain times such as early in the day after a meal when your cravings and appetite aren’t triggered,” recommends Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the author of The Superfood Swap. She suggests using your Instagram or Facebook feed as a vision board for healthy foods and active people that inspire you to be the same. This brings us to our next section.
Follow and pin healthy inspiration
Once you’ve eliminated the Instagram or Facebook accounts that made you head for the nearest donut shop, follow the ones that motivate you to become better, healthier and help you achieve your weight loss goals in a sustainable way. Divide your vision board into categories such as fitness routines, quick and healthy recipes, stress, sleep and so on. You’ll also need one category of motivational and inspiration quotes to keep you going whenever things get rough.
“Seeing inspiring pictures of what you want in your life will encourage you to start creating that and take inspired action. Over time, you become what you surround yourself with,” says Blatner. It’s sort of like monkey see, monkey do but at a more complex level.
On that note, you might want to skip these 8 Popular Weight-Loss Diets That Could Be Total Disasters For You.
Create your support group
Your family or friends are usually the best support out there. But sometimes, they might not understand you skipping on family dinner or pizza night, even if it’s for an important cause like losing weight. If that’s the case, use social media to your advantage and find an online support group.
According to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, people on a weight loss journey who connected with other online dieters on various weight-loss websites managed to get rid of 8 percent more body weight in only six months, compared to their counterparts with no online support network.
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Tweet your progress
Twitter is not only for frustrated and angry rants. It can also be useful and help you have significant weight loss results. When used properly, it can provide helpful information, social support and can increase accountability.
In a study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine, participants were divided into two separate groups; one was asked to listen to two nutrition and fitness podcasts while the other group was required to track their workouts and connect with other study participants on Twitter, in addition to listening to podcasts. Researchers concluded that the group tweeting and retweeting lost 0.5 percent more weight with every 10 tweets posted.
RELATED: 6 Worst Post-Dinner Habits That Make You Gain Weight
Post your favorite photos
It’s interesting and exciting to track your weight loss journey, especially when you start seeing the results you oh-so dreamed of. Posting photos of yourself and your weight loss progress can help you even more in reaching your goals. It will not only make your friends and support group encourage you even more but it will also make you more determined to remain focused and get the job done.
According to Keri Gans, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet, “positive feedback from family and friends may be helpful for someone trying to lose weight.” This has also been confirmed by a study published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Just remember that the ultimate validation comes from you!
If you feel like taking a break, these 5 Compelling Reasons to Delete Your Social Media Account Right Now might convince you to just do it.
Write about your highs and lows
Crave for endless tubes of Ben&Jerry whenever you’re stressed out or upset? Write about it. “It’s another way to hold yourself accountable and perhaps share with like-minded people,” according to Gans. Sharing your ups and downs can also help you discover what sets you off on a binge and separate real, physical hunger from the emotional one.
You can either record it just for you or make it public, so that other people can learn from your experience. Write about your triggers, your solutions and follow up with your results. If things didn’t work out, here’s How to Get Back on Track after Your Diet Failed.
Use apps to record meals
We live in an era of technology and we can use that in our advantage. With so much information and so many tools to help us in our weight loss journey, like apps and podcasts and online fitness classes, we have to admit that losing weight has become a lot easier than what it used to be.
Use your smartphone to help you lose weight not just take pretty pictures. Install apps like MyFitnessPal MealLogger, or Habit-Daily Tracker to record your meals, your habits, post food photos and find out useful nutritional information. It really works! According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, dieters who used apps or memos to keep track of their diets missed fewer days than those using the traditional paper and a pencil. You don’t need to count your calories with every bite you take but you do need to understand their role in weight management.
See also: 4 Common Myths about Counting Calories for Weight Loss